Affirming Entropy


  • Ashley Woodward University of Dundee



Entropy; Thermodynamics; Nietzsche; Eternal Return; Value; Life


This paper challenges the frequent demonisation of entropy in discourses which attempt to draw a “naturalised” axiology from thermodynamics, information theory, and related sciences. Such discourses include Wiener’s cybernetics, Stiegler’s negathropology, and Floridi’s information ethics, in each of which entropy designates the evil which must be fought in the name of life, information, or some other notion of “the good.” The perspective the paper develops is Nietzschean. Nietzsche himself rejected the consequences of the Second Law, but I wish to argue that it is possible to affirm entropy, for Nietzschean reasons.

First, the paper argues that the reason Nietzsche rejected the Second Law is that it provides consolation for the pessimist (an argument made by von Hartmann). Eternal return should be affirmed because it is the more difficult position, and so provides the ultimate existential test. However, metaphysical and existential reasons must give way to the more recent scientific evidence, especially the dating of the universe, which undermines Nietzsche’s argument against heat death. While this is alone sufficient reason to affirm entropy, the position is supported by two further classes of reasons. First, the oppositions which whave supported the traditional ascription of values to negentropy and entropy can be challenged; and 2) entropy can be seen as consonant with the characteristics of existence which Nietzsche sought to affirm, especially becoming.

entropies cover






Entropies (Edited by Joel White and Gerald Moore)

How to Cite

“Affirming Entropy”. 2024. Technophany, A Journal for Philosophy and Technology 2 (1): 1-30.