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Friedrich Nietzsche's Political Philosophies

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Introduction

Friedrich Nietzsche's Political Philosophies "God is dead" (Kaufmann, 1974, p532), with these words, Friedrich Nietzsche ensured his place among the most memorable philosophers in history. This phrase ranks alongside Descartes "Cogito, ergo sum" or in English, "I think, therefore I am" (Descartes, 1850, p24) as one of the most important in western philosophy. Among his critics, Irving Zeitlin writes, echoing Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment (1866), "...if God is dead, everything is permitted. The danger of this kind of moral nihilism Nietzsche nowhere takes into consideration" (2004, p57). Zeitlin, like many others, points out that clearly the "death" of God has had a disastrous effect on the twentieth century. Nietzsche's most influential work was Thus Spake Zarathustra, published in four parts between 1883 and 1885. In this ambitious work, he depicted the fictitious Zarathustra as a charismatic teacher whose appearance heralds the redemption of the modern world. Zarathustra is best known for his controversial teaching of the ´┐Żbermensch (or "overman"), whom he proposes as "the meaning of the earth." ...read more.

Middle

Only as an afterthought, and in contrast to his "evil" oppressors, does the slave deem himself "good." According to Nietzsche, the master morality celebrates passion, commitment, struggle, and immediacy, whereas the slave morality honours the virtues of suffering, deprivation, passivity, and psychological cunning. In both books, Nietzsche advances the controversial thesis that contemporary European (or Christian) morality is in fact descended from a slave morality. Although freed from the material conditions of slavery, modern people have become habituated to serve as their own slave masters. Burdened by guilt and wearied by relentless self-surveillance, moderns impose upon themselves the defining values of slavery. Nietzsche further conjectures that protracted adherence to a descendant version of the slave morality may have crippled moderns beyond repair, such that a renaissance of nobility may no longer be possible. In On the Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche extends his critique of conventional morality to include the scholarly practice of science (Wissenschaft). Here he investigates the role of science in the reign of the ascetic ideal, hoping to expose contemporary practitioners of science as unwittingly honouring ...read more.

Conclusion

He was deeply suspicious, however, of the rise of technology in general, which he regarded as symptomatic of advancing cultural decay. He was particularly critical of the technologies marshalled in support of European imperial expansion. He regarded the aspiration to empire as an organized distraction from the crisis of European culture. In his view, the pursuit of imperial possessions would not solve the problem of European decadence but simply export it across the globe. Nietzsche's productive philosophical career ended in 1888. At the beginning of the next year he suffered a nervous breakdown. After a brief stay in a Jena sanatorium, he was placed in the care of his mother, who relocated him to her home in Naumburg. Following his death in Weimar on August 25, his sister continued her appropriation of his philosophical teachings, eventually steering them into convergence with the ideology that soon would inform National Socialism. That Nietzsche would have repudiated any such alliance did not deter Elisabeth from presenting her brother's ideas as providing the philosophical inspiration for Hitler's Reich. ?? ?? ?? ?? 10/05/2009 Page 1 ...read more.

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