Nietzsche scholars and some major continental philosophers (Deleuze) take the idea of eternal recurrence seriously. Why?

Modern science (especially chaos theory) showed that the notion of eternal recurrence is pure nonsense. Even in a simple gas system with several particles, tiny atomic deviations can lead to humongous changes in the long term (aka the butterfly effect). It it absolutely ridiculous to hypothesize that the whole world, and each human being can be replicated 100% ad infinitum. The chance of that is 0%.

Is Nietzschean notion of the eternal return anything more than poetic nonsense?

  • See Eternal recurrence (German: Ewige Wiederkunft) in Friedrich Nietzsche: there is no reason to assume that ideas of past philosophers related to the "material world" will survive the process of growth of scientific knowledge. They are useful IF they have some deep insight and we can still use them to better understand some of the mistery (there are many) that science is currently unable to explain. May 3 at 14:47
  • I don't think it's impossible to construct a function that spits out increasing (and increasingly complicated) values for the first zillion runs, but which at some point collapses in on itself and starts outputting values that go towards zero again. Isn't that kind of how hydra functions work? May 3 at 18:27
  • "Poincaré recurrence theorem states that certain dynamical systems will, after a sufficiently long but finite time, return to a state arbitrarily close to (for continuous state systems), or exactly the same as (for discrete state systems), their initial state". The long term of "humongous changes" is simply not long enough, the Poincare recurrence time for macroscopic gases is astronomically large. And ideal gases have very different dynamics than ethics and culture, which were Nietzsche's primary concerns.
    – Conifold
    May 3 at 19:10


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