The moral criticism of Nietzsche in Beyond Good and Evil puts the dogmatics behind the philosophy of utilitarianism and deontological ethics at stake. The philosophy of ‘living as art’ and the human rights philosophy are criticised. The subject of autonomy, or the ‘I’, the agent of most ethical theories, is seen as a grammatical fiction. The concept of the ‘will to power’ serves as a way to deal with the complexity of this subject, given as a field of influence. As a divided ‘will to power’, Nietzsche comes to meet psychoanalysis, whereas the divided subject of the unconsious is put forward. The focus on ‘life as art’ and happiness on one side, and on the human rights ethics on the other side, are reactive versions of ‘will to power’. They show the dominant will to obey. A new version of virtue ethics, now in a dysharmonic universe, is seen as a possible way. The Nietzschean ‘to overcome oneself’ comes to meet with psychoanalytic ethics of desire.
Starting from the concept of a “play-drive” as introduced by Friedrich Schiller in his Letters on Aesthetic Education, the present study explores this concept at the interface of the crossroads between philosophy, anthropology, and aesthetics. In order to grasp what may be called the “space” of these phenomena, reflection must engage the relationship between Ancients and Moderns as well, to show that the figure of “the child” in Nietzsche and Heraclitus is apt to give its full dimension to Schiller’s theory of “play” as the consummation of humanity.