chapter  4
21 Pages

Zöllner and Space

A number of commentators have remarked on a possible influence of the physicist Friedrich Zollner on Nietzsche's thinking about natural science, and in particular on his notion of space. Nietzsche's speculations on a natural explanation for spiritualistic phenomena are of some interest in their own right, and on the same track as other scientific approaches. Zollner's achievements in science were of a very practical kind: he devised a new instrument for measuring the brightness of stars, and went on to develop a new kind of spectroscope. Johannes Kepler, Zollner explains, understood the need for a scientific reliance on the logical powers of the understanding, as well as on empirical observation. Zollner, however, was quickly and permanently convinced of the reality of the spirit world and added his own theoretical contribution to spiritualism by arguing that spirit manifestations were to be explained as interventions from a fourth dimension of space.