Who Is Friedrich Nietzsche?

Whatever has value in our world now does not have value in itself, according to its nature — nature is always value-less, but has been given value at some time, as a present — and it was we who gave and bestowed it.

- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Sec. 302

Podcast of the Day

Friedrich Nietzsche's The Genealogy of Morality presents a highly original account of the sources of our values. Christopher Janaway, author of Beyond Selflessness: Reading Nietzsche's Genealogy, discusses Nietzsche's influential book in this episode of Philosophy Bites.

Listen to Christopher Janaway on Nietzsche on Morality

Video of the Day

Short Article of the Day

...When Nietzsche — probably the victim of undiagnosed syphilis — suffered a mental collapse in early 1889, he was barely read. Over the next two decades, he became the most celebrated intellectual figure in Europe. His cultural stature was so high that at the start of World War I, the German Kaiser purchased 250,000 copies of Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra for the troops, to boost their morale. During and after the WWI, everyone in Germany fought to claim Nietzsche’s legacy, from German nationalists to anarchists and socialists.

The Nazi takeover in 1933 settled these debates by political force, and nothing less would have made the Nazi misappropriation of Nietzsche possible. After all, as actual readers of Nietzsche know, he hated Germans most of all, famously titling an entire chapter of one of his last books, “What the Germans Lack.” He ridiculed the German militarism and nationalism of his own day — in terms equally applicable to the Nazi version — and, most importantly, was a scathing critic of anti-Semitism, endlessly baiting anti-Semitic readers in his books....

Continue reading Brian Leiter's article: The Recurring Myth About Nietzsche and Fascism

Further Reading

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) was a German philosopher and cultural critic who published intensively in the 1870s and 1880s. He is famous for uncompromising criticisms of traditional European morality and religion, as well as of conventional philosophical ideas and social and political pieties associated with modernity. Many of these criticisms rely on psychological diagnoses that expose false consciousness infecting people’s received ideas; for that reason, he is often associated with a group of late modern thinkers (including Marx and Freud) who advanced a “hermeneutics of suspicion” against traditional values. Nietzsche also used his psychological analyses to support original theories about the nature of the self and provocative proposals suggesting new values that he thought would promote cultural renewal and improve social and psychological life by comparison to life under the traditional values he criticized.

Continue reading the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Nietzsche by R. Lanier Anderson

Related Topics

 Critical Theory | Culture |  Nihilism | Power | Schopenhauer

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