Nietzsche and Daly: Sparks of Friendship A Study of Nietzschean Thought in Daly's Early Works

Pete Costello, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University


This thesis studied the possible Nietzschean influences upon or parallels within the early works of Mary Daly, radical feminist philosopher. To this end, the thesis first tried encapsulate Nietzschean thought in the discussion of the eternal recurrence, the will-to-power and self-overcoming. Then it proceeded to discuss Mary Daly's self-described project of moving beyond the patriarchal structures of the Catholic church and society as a whole. And finally, while it avoided questions of Nietzsche's alleged misogyny, this study outlined possible points of light between a particular feminist project and the "lasting" value of Nietzschean philosophy. The end result was not an accumulation of proof that Daly's work was unoriginal but a suggestion of possible grounds for further study, i.e. to show that it is possible that twentieth-century feminist thought returns to the past (nineteenth-century philosophy) for its momentum and description of its goals. Explicit citations given by Daly of Nietzsche's work were examined carefully and conclusions relating to her later works were offered but remained tentative.