Talk:Friedrich Nietzsche/Archive 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 5

To the administrator of the Nietzsche article

I do not exactly know who the administrator of the article "Friedrich Nietzsche" in the English Wikipedia is. But I do know that s/he is certainly doing a very fine work. Thank you very much for your very patient and well-considered moderation of the "Nietzsche" article.

Hans Rosenthal (hans.rosenthal AT -- replace AT by @ )


An Idea: I took a college course on Nietzsche a couple of years ago at the University of Idaho. We were required to write a thirty page essay of the man and his philosophy or life or his view of life. The main requirement was that we wrote about him. During the research for this paper I read a book containing personal letters to his friends and family that his sister had kept after his death. There were more than one letters in this book which led me to believe that Nietzsche had an opiate addiction problem. I wrote of this from my perspective, that being the perspective of a former opiate addict or recovering addict if you will. Has anyone thought to research this further? I would like to see an educator or person with some insight into Nietzsche life and philosophy to investigate this. I see many similarities between opiate addicts and Nietzsche’s behavior through much of his later life. Jerry Huffstutler Some comments: a) Nietzsche himself argued that his most important work was 'Thus Spoke Zarathrustra'. Ought that not be mentioned somewhere. b) Some of the details on Nietzsche and Christianity ought to be on a linked some page I think. This was one of his many themes and seems overblown. c) A lot of the detail in this page might be better put in the individual books

Nietzsche and post-structuralism/postmodernism/existentialism

Moved to here and a major inspiration for post-structuralism and an influence on postmodernism;

Not sure about Nietzsche "revival"; some evidence needed.

I put the links to post-structuralism and postmodernity in originally. And to be frank, I do not believe that one person's not knowing of Nietzsche's influence is sufficient reason for deleting it. You have every right to ask contributors -- I mean myself but also the whole wikipedia community -- to elaborate and develop points. But "lack of evidence" is not a reason to delete, it is simply an admission of ignorance. We all have contributions to make, and if you have a strong argument for Nietzsche not being an influence on PS and pomo, please do share it with us. Otherwise, it is at best disrespectful not to give others the benefit of the doubt. (Perhaps it is time for you to read most common Wikipedia faux pas.)

I take Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida to be two important, perhaps central, figures in post-structuralism, and, arguably, postmodernism. Are you unfamiliar with Foucault's important essay, "Nietzsche, Genealogy, and History?" Nietzsche's notion of genealogy had a direct and major impact on Foucault. Also, Foucault refered to Nietzsche's essay, "Schopenhauer as Educator" (it is in a book called Untimely Meditations), as being very influencial. In fact, you can look at James Miller's biography of Foucault which has over a column and a half of index citations for Nietzsche.

Derrida wrote approvingly of Nietzsche in Writing and Difference and wrote a telling essay "The Question of Style" in Nietzsche Today? -- I could go on and on but I would rather you read the 18 pages in her translator's preface to Grammatology in which Gayatri Spivak analyzes Nietzsche's influence on Derrida. Also, Jonathan Culler draws on Nietzche for a paradigmatic example of deconstruction in Culler's book On Deconstruction. Also, Alan Schrift wrote a book (sorry, I do not remember the title -- but please do not delete this reference just for that reason!) on Nietzche's influence on a whole series of post-structuralists, such as Helene Cisoux.

Jean Francois Lyotard is perhaps the founding figure of academic postmodernism; the preface to his book The Postmodern Condition writes of the influence of Nietzsche's reflections on historiography and forgetting on Lyotard; the book itself has three index entries for Nietzsche. I hope that your demand for evidence doesn't require me to copy these entries out for you.

I admit that Jameson's book Postmodernism has only two references to Nietzsche, but they are strategic. David Harvey's book, The Condition of Postmodernity has 11 separate index entries for Nietzsche.

Oh, and how could I forget -- Deleuze and Guattari, in Anti-Oedipus (another crucial post-structuralist work) pay homage to book two of The Genealogy of Morals (that's a book by Nietzsche) as the appropriate and ideal inspiration and starting point for all future studies of human society.

Frankly, I think of one looks at the Wikipedia articles for postmodernism and poststructuralism, the influence of Nietzsche is obvious. Nietzsche playes a crucial role in challenging the privileged place of "reason" in the Enlightenment project and in elevating aesthetic considerationsin the will to power, it is hardly surprising that post-structuralists and postmodernists have been inspired by him and refer to him.

Of course I must admit that I do not see such a strong influence on existentialism. I did not put that reference the article, but I saw no reason to delete it -- or to demand evidence for the claim. I looked at Being and Nothingness and found two index citations to Nietzsche, which in my mind isn't much but who am I to judge? I read these articles to learn things I didn't know. I assumed others had the same attitude. SR

Perhaps his point was not to doubt the influence of Nietzsche on post-modernism, but to doubt the relevance of that influence to an assessment of Nietzsche's work. In much the same way that an article on Caesar need not mention Caesar salad: his point might simply have been that since post-modernism is just faddish pop-philosophy, then the fact that it claims affinity with Nietzsche is no more important than the fact that Ayn Rand claimed affinity with him.

I think it is undisputed that Nietzsche is a precursor to existentialism or existentialist philosophy. Many even put him in that category. For instance L. Nathan Oaklander in his "Existentialist Philosophy - An introduction" (Prentice Hall 1992) where he writes about Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Heidegger, de Beauvoir and Camus. All these wrote about the individual experience of being a human subject, and as such Nietzsche also was an existentialist philosopher.

well, this is why I am glad that in my ignorance I did not cut that reference! I had thought it was undisputed that N is a precursor to post-structuralism, but I discovered that some people didn't know that. My point was really that useful content should not be cut. SR


Does the mention of altruism mean that Nietzsche defined slave morality as altruism, or that people think he did? If the former, I'd like to see a reference; I thought he meant something like "all morality stemming from envy or resentment of the strong". If the latter, I'd like to see a reference to someone who might have tried to understand Nietzsche. --Dan

Nietzsche's influence on Nazis

no mention of Nietzsche and his influence on Nazi thinking...

Nietzsche's influences on the 2nd and 3rd reichs were mainly the result of work done by his sister Elisabeth. The irony of this is rather disturbing in that during the First World War 150,000 copies of 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' were printed by the German government and distributed to conscripts alongside Bibles for inspirational reading. What inspiration can be found in the combination of the messages "God is great" and "God is dead" is beyond myself and I believe most rational people. His influence on Nazi thought is also ironic considering Nietzsche despised anti-Semitism and nationalism. His last written note read: 'I am just out having all the anti-Semites shot, signed Dionysos.'

Personally I feel it would be unfair to Nietzsche to discuss his influence on Nazi Germany as if there was any intent or interest on his part in having his views construed in the fashion Hitler desired. Leave that discussion for the page on Nazi Germany.


How can you possibly say this when Nietzsche went around accusing Wagner of being a Jew, as if that were to somehow be a bad thing?

No more bad faith please, or read Nietzsche : that were a bad thing for Wagner. Do you understand ?

The desire to subtract Nazi morality from Nietzsche's thought by way of noting his hate of anti-semitism doesn't at all detract from the fact that he harkened racial genocide with open arms:

"(The supermen) would mold man as an artist would...(to) achieve that immense energy of greatness, to mold the future man by breeding, and, at the same time, by destroying, millions of bungled humans - we must not be deterred by the suffering we create, the equal of which has never been seen!" - F. W. Nietzsche (from 'Der Führer' by Konrad Heiden, p 230)

He was not a Nationalist, but he was a Nihilistic Eugenicist;

"nationalism and race hatred...the national heart-itch and blood-poisoning on account of which the nations of Europe today are bounded off and secluded from one another, as by quarantine." - (p 229) emphasis mine

"The tendency must be toward the rendering extinct of the wretched, the deformed, the degenerate...Satisfaction of desire should not be practised so that the race as a whole suffers, i.e. that choice no longer occurs, and that anyone can pair off and produce children. The extinction of many types of people is just as desirable as any form of reproduction" - Friedrich Wilheim Nietzsche (from 'The Racial State' Cambridge University Press, p 34) emphasis mine Nagelfar 00:26, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Can you give the references to these passages in Nietzsche's works? I really think this is not saying what it looks like it's saying: it doesn't go along with any of his thought I know of. Not saying it's wrong, but I would very much like to investigate, if nothing else than for my own knowledge. I'll try to look up the books you suggest; if you can, look and see if the authors cite Nietzsche's books they came from. It's very tricky talking Nietzsche at surfece value because he specifically and deliberately wrote to be misinterpreted by those he didn't feel were looking deep enough. Again, not saying that's so here, but I'd like to look.

Thanks.--DanielCD 02:00, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)

The Cambridge University book cites it from an 1880 source; Friedrich Nietzsche, 'Nachgelassene Fragmente Anfang 1880 bis Sommer 1882', in Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinare (eds.), Nietzsches Sämtliche Werke (Munich, 1980), Vol. 9, p. 250. And the exact quote is given to "Nietzsche, 'Nachgelassene Fragmente', p. 189. I believe these are mostly untranslated. As the for Konrad Heiden book it's an old 1944 English translation and gives no sources. The Cambridge press book goes on to say about the quote that; "Eight years later he outlined a series of measures for racial selective breeding." Nagelfar 03:27, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Considering how much of his work is thought to have been, at best, reinterpreted by his sister, I would be concerned accepting as proof of Nietzsche's thinking any source that doesn't list its own sources in Nietzsche's work. Without context, I'm not sure how I feel about excerpts from books that aren't written by Nietzsche, either. -Seth Mahoney 05:32, Jul 12, 2004 (UTC)

The ones with sources I gave have no connection to his sister, but I do see it altogether as a rather modern 'rose-color glasses' liberal view of Nietzsche to want to put the blame all on her having his tastes out of context to filter out his offensive extremisms and leave only the impartial universally-pliable ones. It seems very, retro-Nietzschean. Nagelfar 08:38, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Then again, if the views are wrong, it would also be very retro-Nietzschean to leave them in place. Rose-colored glasses can look both ways. These statements are taken out of context and are being misinterpreted; I'm certain about that, but can't prove it yet because I can't find the quotes. I will though, in time. Given these quotes vs. the entire remaining corpus of his work, I would go with the latter. Why would Nietzsche be interested in Eugenics? What makes you think he's a nihilist? I'm curious because he never claimed to be a nihilist; it's what he was working to avoid by providing a foundation for morals that could stand up to the "collapse of religion" (for lack of a better term). Please don't think I am being contrary here, I am simply interested in the discussion and appreciate the responses. From the looks of at least one quote, it came from an unpublished notebook (Fragments beginning 1880-summer 1882, and Nachgelassene Fragmente = Leftover or remaining Fragments), which means it not really valid to say he believed that, especially given their contradiction to all else he believed. --DanielCD 13:52, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Certainly. As for Nihilism, He did claim to be a Nihilist. Look under 'discussion; Nihilism' under Nietzsche & Nihilism for my comments & his quotes there on the matter. Nihilism as squarely nothingnessism in all contexts is impossible, so for a Nihilism to exist it must have some quality as a vehicle to it, Nietzsche saw himself in some ways a Nihilist by relativism and things he was against as blindly Nihilistic in function, he believed Nihilism, the lack of belief in others he saw as object Nihilism. In fact, I believe Nietzsche to be more complex than simply saying because he believed this or that it runs against 'the entire corpus of his work,' I see no contradiction. The lack of having any conviction on Racism doesn't mean that he had views about what needed to be done with Race from his own perspective. Being impartial to a matter can make one more internally objective about said matter apart from their own feelings. I see any broadly favorable view of Nietzsche 'retro-Nietzschean' not out of ultimate truth, but out of his sentiment that 'any philosopher not extreme enough to anger the masses is not a real philosopher.' Nagelfar 04:18, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Broadly favorable is not exactly the word. I'm as willing to see warts as anyone; but if they are there, I want to see with my own eyes. I may be wrong about the nihilism. I'm not sure I understand the second part of your statement though. Are you saying the favorable view of him comes from his extremism, or in response to his extremism? He often wrote to be as inflammatory as possible, especially in his later years. His philosophy was not simply fragmentary, there were central theses to his works. And emotion? Once again, it seems to work both ways. He did have convicions, quite strong convictions, about racism. He was extremely vehement about the need for mixing races, because he believed mixed races collected the positive attributes of each. He believed the very idea of pure-blood to be foolish. I'll read your nihilism discussion; thanks for the reference and the responses. --DanielCD 13:45, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Nietzsche didn't believe in 'nationalities' or 'national races.' He certainly believed in characteristics by phenotypes, race, and 'making races' by destruction and amalgamation of racial traits. Transnational racialism. No where have I read that he believed blind intermingling of different peoples to be a positive thing or a thing of growth of it's own virtue. What I'm saying about his extremism (which can't exactly be called "extremism" at all because 'extremism' implies one side of a far end of the common belief spectrum held in convention) is that it was out of a stance for rejecting the majority of values and therefore meant to alienate the most pervasive of values that he saw as 'slave morality,' which he believed existed in humanity's inability to reach beyond humanity by refusing to articulate the human as we would anything else in our environment. Nagelfar 05:50, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Very well said. I don't really have a response to that one. --DanielCD 13:23, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I agree with both of you, actually. We can't set up an idol Nietzsche and prostrate ourselves before it, and we can't set up a demon Nietzsche and run and hide from it. I'd be very interested in the context of what Nietzsche was saying (I'm away from home - and therefore my books - at the moment) when he wrote these things, and I'd be very interested in other works the authors in question have published. I don't think that it is quite so blandly liberal to insist, under the weight of some fairly good historical evidence, that Nietzsche's sister did, in fact, rewrite and reinterpret some of his works, that she generally did so in such a way that she added a pro-fascist, in the end pro-Nazi ideology that may well have not been there to begin with, and that she did so without Nietzsche's consent. -Seth Mahoney 18:41, Jul 12, 2004 (UTC)

Will to power more than psychology

anyone catch this:

"his embrace of a sort of irrationalism; and something he called 'the Will to Power' (Wille zur Macht), possibly best regarded as an early attempt at psychology."

i think it is quite an oversimplification to describe the will to power as and early attempt at psychology. Leaving aside for the moment that there were plenty of earlier attempts at "psychology", this kind of reference seems to discount how much more is involved in the Will to Power. I think this article would be stronger without this little phrase, although there is also room for expansion on this front, in order to elucidate this topic even more

---I don't think that acknowledging Nietzsche's interest in psychological matters diminishes his theories, although the quoted passage could use some polish. Walter Kaufmann's biography of Nietzsche, after all, was subtitled "Philosopher, Psychologist, Anti-Christ." Moreover, both that book and Kaufmann's translations of Nietzsche's work contain frequent footnotes drawing parallels between Nietzsche's observations and Freud's work. You do have a point, however, that the quoted passage seems a bit too reductionist. Nietzsche's ideas, covering so many facets of the human condition, defy easy summation.

      • Indeed, Nietzsche seems to have thought of himself as a psychologist more than a philosopher. The real question though is whether "power" is a good way of translating "macht." In reading N. I have always had the impression that it was something rather more specific than "power" --

Power, in my opinion, is really the best word to convey the intended meaning. In German, the word "Macht" means: to do. In the literal sense, he did mean, "Will to do", but that's a bit ambiguous and insubstantial. Dan Asad 18:54, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)


I am most definitely not a Nietzsche expert, but should there not be some more information about Wagner? As far as I know, Wagner was the most important person in Nietzsche's life: like a moving magnet, attracting first and repulsing later. Also, more than one of his works is about Wagner. Sjoerd de Vries

Nietzsche's Zarathustra vs. the actual Zarathustra

By the way, an expert is cited about Zarathustra inspiring so many religions, but I always believed that Nietzsche's Zarathustra is not related to the Persian Zarathustra: no mention of Ahura Mazda or anything. What do other people think about this? Sjoerd de Vries

Having read Nietzsche's works, you'd have to understand that his connection to Zarathustra is very pointed as a REWORKING of the original points presented by the Zoroastrian faith. His statements in "Also Sprach Zarathustra" are represented as a necessary recantation by the original prophet himself. Based on what would be percieved by Nietzsche, and presumably the prophet, as the diversion or corruption of what was originally intended, and the need for new and more directed moral philosophies worthy of the world in which Nietzsche resided. It should be noted that Nietzsche's personal justification for the title was that "Zarathustra had been 'the first to see in the struggle between good and evil the essential wheel in the working of things'.

His understanding and interest in Zoroastrianism and Zarathustra in specific likely arose from his dedication to the study of classical philology following the cessation of his theological studies in 1865. Nietzsche's dedication to the study of classical languages is noteworthy in that the first authenticated English, French, and German translations of the 'Avesta', the collected works of the Zoroastrian canon, were published in 1857. Thus it likely would've been a main subject of discussion during a course of study in philology in 1865.

This publication date is mentioned in the third volume of 'Miscellanies of the Philisophical Society London 1856-7' within an article by then British Member of Parliament, Sir Erskine Perry, titled 'Notice of Anquetil du Perron and the Fire Worshippers of India'; Abraham Hyacynthe Anquetil du Perron being the name of the original translator of the 'Avesta' books from Pahlavi-Farsi to modern Persian, and finally to his native French, which he published in 1771.

For further reading on this connection between Nietzsche and Zarathustra I would suggest "In Search of Zarathustra - The First Prophet and The Ideas That Changed The World" by Paul Kriwaczek, (c) 2003, published in paperback edition by Phoenix, an Imprint of Orion Books Ltd. London.


Nietzsche "died of brain cancer" or syphilis?

< >

Nietzsche 'died of brain cancer' - Octothorn 16:20 22 May 2003 (UTC)

Or a link claming syphilis by the author of POX: Genius, Madness, and the Mysteries of Syphilis. --ssd 03:24, 6 Apr 2004 (UTC)

No, the syphillis theory has been conclusively disproved by Leonard Sax in the Journal of Medical Biography Feb 2003. Vol. 11, Iss. 1; p. 47 In light of this research, I am updating the allegations of syphillis in this article. --XmarkX 03:19, 16 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I just checked the POX author's web site (above) and it [1] mentions Dr. Sax. Apparently Dr. Sax claims that no deterioration in Nietzsche was seen in his later life, including handwriting, facial expression, and speech. If he had syphilis, symptoms in these areas should have been seen, and according to Dr. Sax, they were not. However, other observers say that they did see these symptoms, and there is apparently extant evidence of at least handwriting deterioration. So, to say the least, this is still in dispute amongst the historians, and possibly Dr. Sax is either ignoring evidence, has not seen it, or does not believe it for some reason. (I have not read his article, and will try to look for it or reviews of it.) I think the current wording in this article is still balanced, and I see no need for change at this time. Note well, however, that doctors "late in his life" saying that he "lacks symptoms" does not mean much. Syphilis was well known as the "great imitator", frequently being mistaken for other diseases, and doctors who had not followed a patient through his whole life could easily say a person was "asymptomatic for syphilis", attributing their symptoms to other maladies. --ssd 05:56, 16 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Well, the case in Sax's article as I remember it is certainly not based around an argument that there was no deterioration in Nietzsche's condition. Any condition that caused the symptoms he did have, such a growth in his brain, would be likely to progressively worsen. The most convincing proof was, aside from the fact that there were symptoms he did have going back decades that suggested there was something else going on, and the absence of certain characteristic syphilis symptoms, was the time-scale of the disease. Nietzsche lived for over a decade in a condition of insanity - the onset of syphilis is far more severe in terms of symptoms and death than Nietzsche's condition. If there is scholarly contestation of Sax's claims, then that must be reflected in the article - but I really feel that this case is now open and shut - especially given Sax's examination of where the original claims that Nietzsche had syphilis come from i.e. incredibly unreliable diagnoses in overcrowded contemporary public hospitals, then taken up by Nietzsche's detractors and passing accidentally into Nietzsche lore in the twentieth century. It seems to me that there are obvious reasons for your source to construct the evidence in ways favourable to his maijn thesis, moreover - Sax's research was published only months before Hayden's book on syphilis was published and having to retract all his claims about Nietzsche at that point would have been a problem for him - not to imply any insincerity on his part, of course.--XmarkX 12:49, 16 Jun 2004 (UTC)

The anti-Sax comments I saw were dated October 2003, obviously predating the article, so they were objecting to other things Sax apparently said before this article. As to the time scale of syphilis--there really isn't one. It can kill in 6 months or easily let you linger for a decade in the tertiary stage while going in and out of insanity with frequent bouts of intense pain. Many who had it didn't die of it and only suffered mild symptoms, or died of syphilis induced heart or lung troubles while mostly sane. Actually, I don't think anything short of a blood test can actually refute that someone had syphilis. All we can really say is that they died of something else or not. Insidious disease it is. --ssd 05:13, 17 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Interestingly, Sigmund Freud was quite interested in (and influenced by) Nietzsche, and he is said to have heard from Carl Jung (also a fan) whose uncle worked at the clinic Nietzsche stayed in following his final collapse, that Nietzsche had syphilis, and told doctors there that he had received the disease from homosexual brothels. Freud cautioned his students (to whom he told the story) that the story had to be treated with caution, because of Nietzsche's state of mind at the time (as a result of his insanity, Nietzsche was also claiming to be Christ and Dionysius and the husband of Cosima Wagner at the time). See --Rexrexilius 07:34, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

This debate is on the Syphilis talk page as well, as a former editor used Nietzsche as an example of a syphilis fatality. Does the statement in this article reflect the concensus from your discussion above? If so, we may need to edit him out. Please chime in on the Syphilis page. Thanks. WBardwin 02:54, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The last few paragraphs

The last paragraph in the current article doesn't make sense at all. If someone wants to critique Nietzsche, I think this belongs in a separate page. All that rambing about "Nietzschian heroes" as well is besides the point. Nietzsche's Overman is not a person of physical strength, but rather, of power, which is mostly mental in nature.

I agree.

I've removed the references to Tarzan, Lewis & Clark and Davey Crockett as irrelvant. Lisiate 02:23, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Since Nietzsche doesn't speak of "Darwinian heros" or "parasitism" and any "amassing great power through cunning and deception" is hardly the core of his thought, the following seems not to have much to do with Nietzsche at all:

The question remains: at what point do men who amass great power through cunning and deception reflect a Darwinian hero, or do they instead reflect a different trait that goes by the chapter title "parasitism" in Dr. Wilsons' book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. ("Parasitism" is typically called "criminality" in human societies; a vivid example is the protagonist of Fyodor Dostoevsky's classic novel "Crime and Punishment" who thinks he is so superior he can take morality into his own hands and winds up a guilt-ridden criminal convicted of murder

I've removed the above, in addition to what follows -- which, the two words "Nietzsche" and "syphilis" notwithstanding, is not about Nietzsche or his thought:

Nietzsche's own life reflected the possible perversity of selective factors in congested, complex, modern, urban environments. Sexual promiscuity within a primitive tribe might be "eugenic" (i.e. it can increases stronger traits within the gene pool) to the extent that it may enable more fit men to disproportionately spread their seed compared to less fit men, but in a modern urban society, this behavior can be the undoing of great men through the spread of syphilis, as was the case with Nietzsche himself.

--Ryguasu 07:17, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Last paragraph of article appears to be slightly looney-tunes195.92.168.177 01:30, 20 Jan 2004 (UTC)

That last paragraph does need to be broken down and "digested", perhaps moving some facts to their appropriate places in the article. I am going to work on this. I also think there should be a section regarding Nietsche's relation to deserves a subsection of its own because he was a major influence on many 20th century existentialist philosophers (and many others as well). The Will to Power section, saying that modern psychology ignores it...that's kind of corny-sounding. That section needs to be fleshed out with more info related to the idea of the Will to Power or otherwise deleted and be noted in another section. --PaperTiger 21:53, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)PaperTiger


The first two "external links" are broken.

Edits by user Khranus

Someone might want to double-check the edits from Khranus. He appears to have been a vandal and was banned. Daniel Quinlan 09:33, Nov 13, 2003 (UTC)

Survival of the fittest?

Nietzsche was strongly influenced by Arthur Schopenhauer and his concept of "the Will to live". H.L. Mencken's book on Nietzsche described his work as an early effort to reconcile the philosophical implications of Charles Darwin's "survival of the fittest" evolutionary theory with contemporary moral and ethical systems. He greatly disliked Darwin and his idea of "the survival of the fittest".

I find the second sentence very confusing -- it's not clear whether "he" refers to Mencken or Nietzsche. And "survival of the fittest" was actually coined by Herbert Spencer, and is not mentioned once in Origin of Species.

Aragorn2 23:11, 26 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I agree. He disliked Darwin's assumption that the (physically or morally) strong always triumph, as he noted 'the weak preserver over the strong again & again,' but he supported the idea of a 'survival of the fittest,' a quote:
"To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities - I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished: I have no pity for them, because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not - that one endures."- Friedrich Wilheim Nietzsche (The Will to Power, p 481)
What's being said in this sentence is that Nietzsche wishes on those he cares about the suffering that will lead them to self-overcoming. This has nothing to do with Darwin. This is about the Will to Power, the will to self-oversoming, which requires great strengh and the willingness to suffer greatly to attain self-knowledge. Nietzsche believed this journey required suffering, that is why he wished it on those he cared about: he wanted them to reach self-relization. "desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities" - these are the things that make one grow, not sitting in a sterile paradise. Also note: "unfamiliar with profound self-contempt." The enduring is the self-overcoming, the not giving in to a passive morality (such as his idea of Christianity) and to hence stop striving to be all you are capable of. Anyway, hope that makes sense; this statement is not about 'survival of the fittest'. Hope that helps some.

--DanielCD 04:36, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)

It's all the same. The final line is what ties the meaning together without further explanation; "the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not - that one endures," is certainly relevance of the fittest if not survival of the fittest, and then it is a matter of how one interprets the meaning of survival. "Fitness" doesn't need mean strength, but rather "conduciveness" Nagelfar 08:24, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Conductiveness to reproduction would be in the survival of the fittest view of things. The words fitness or conductiveness are not used here. Nietzsche wasn't interested in reproduction. He wishes them "the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not" - the 'endurance' you are interpreting as 'progeny' is not at all what is meant here. He means enduring in the face of the hardship of being (roughly) "honest" with onesself. He was interested in the integrity of the individual, not racial hygene or breeding. --DanielCD 14:08, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)
What do you mean the word 'fitness' isn't used here? Whether the very term "survival of the fittest" relates to Nietzsche is the very basis of this entire section. What is really something not brought up by me or any before was the idea of race or reproduction, I certainly did not use those terms or apply those terms in any way to the topic at hand.
"You want, if possible - and there is no more insane "if possible" - to abolish suffering. And we? It really seems that we would rather have it higher and worse than ever. Well-being as you understand it - that is no goal, that seems to us an end, a state that soon makes man ridiculous and contemptible - that makes his destruction desirable. The discipline of suffering, of great suffering - do you not know that only this discipline has created all enhancements of man so far?" (Beyond Good and Evil, p 225 ). Nagelfar 08:38, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)
My comment may have been partly confused with those of another stream I was reading. Disregard if it's not relevant. --DanielCD 15:27, 16 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Nietzsche and utilitarianism

This page states:

" favor of a utilitarian approach (one weighs costs and benefits on ones own to determine the ethical implications of an action)..."

As far as I am aware Nietzsche did not favor a utilitarian-like approach. Nietzsche battled in a vehement war against utilitarianism and its convention. He did think that one may weigh possible effects or benefits of one's actions, but more importantly he thought "consciousness was a curse". Thus actions should not be reflected on in the morbibund way in which utiltiarians do.

Many of Nietzsche's aphorisms actually attack utilitarianism as a whole. For instance, "You utilitarians, you, too, love everything useful only as a vehicle for your inclinations; you, too, really find the noise of its wheels insufferable?" [Beyond Good and Evil, Kaufmann, 174] or 188 in the same book he refers to "utilitarian dolts". Also, Nietzsche thought that the inclination to practicalty in utilitarianism was disgusting.

Utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory of ethics that sees that which is right as that which achieves the maximum amount of hoappiness for the majority. This differs starkly with Nietzsche's philosophy. To make a quick point of this I need only to mention the emphasis which Nietzsche puts on pain and uncomfortable experience which make life worth living--to make knowledge meaningful (knowledge must stand up to the rigors of life). Utilitarians believe that the group (or humanity) should be taken into consideration while avoiding pain and discomfort. Utilitarianism bases what is just on that which will be best for the most. Nietzsche found this one-size-fits-all philosophy to be reprehensible.

If similar to any moral or ethic theories at all, it appears that Nietzsche has more in common with virtue theories. Virtue theories place the greatest weight on which values and ethics fit the individual's life as a whole. Virtue theory requires that one think and act critically in life, not for the some untailored, generalized virtue, but for one's own best.

Vidyadhara 19th of January, 2004 20:58 GMT

I agree that the attempt to class Nietzsche as some kind of utilitarian is misleading. Thus I'm removing the following paragraph. Maybe someone can clean it up into something more insightful.

To the extent that the study of ethics can be broadly lumped into three categories (obedience-oriented, contractual, and utilitarian), Nietzsche clearly rejected obedience-oriented philosophies (one either obeys or does not obey a higher authority) in favor of a utilitarian approach (one weighs costs and benefits on ones own to determine the ethical implications of an action).

--Ryguasu 06:09, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Nietzsche was most definetly NOT a utilitarian. Whoever wrote that is dead wrong. He abhored the idea that life was all about maximizing utility or happiness. In fact, happiness is one of the qualities he lists as a part of the "slave/herd mentality". An overman is indifferent to happiness and utility. -Political Nerd

Will to power in Harry Potter

"A foolish young man I was then, full of ridiculous ideas about good and evil. Lord Voldemort showed me how wrong I was. There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it..." -Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Though I haven't read "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," I saw this passage in a review of the book. Did Rowling appropriate Nietzsche?

Response: Forgive the bluntness, no, she didn't. Look at the below response by DanielCD in the next segment. If possible, read the book for comparison as well (it is quite brief). The caricature Voldemort himself desired the destruction of humans and to attain personal immortality after his near death. Quite contrary to Nietzsche's thought indeed.

Justifying will to power?

Reading Zarathustra, I have the impression that Nietzsche's justifications for the struggle and strife mandated by people fully exerting their will to power all boil down to the will to power being "natural", "healthy", and/or inherent in the definition of "living". Is there any sense to this impression? If this is so, what might Nietzsche respond to someone who disagreed about what was "natural", "healthy", or "alive"; or to someone who agreed that the will to power was "natural", but who thought that we should not go from what is to what ought to be? --Ryguasu 22:49, 24 Jan 2004 (UTC)

The Will to Power is basically a kind of self-interest in that it drives the organism (substance, etc.) to do what it needs to do to thrive. It does NOT include exerting one's will over OTHERS. Nietzsche saw the desire to dominate others as a severe weakness. The Will to Power is, as far as I have seen, focused inward, not (directly) outward. I'm not sure what you mean by the disagreement - give me an example. I don't quite understand the 'ought to be' either, LMK more about what you are thinking. --DanielCD 15:51, 9 Jul 2004 (UTC)

"some scholars think that Dostoevsky may have specifically created his plot as a Christian rebuttal to Nietzsche. Of course, if they were real scholars they would have known 'Crime and Punishment' had been written well before Nietzsche published any of his works"

Wouldn't it make more sense to discuss "real scholars" (i.e. those who know Nietzsche was influenced by Dostoevsky)?


can we add a name pronunciation for nietzsche at the top? -plasticlax

Nietzsche and epistemology

Hey all, I was wondering a bit about this line (and a couple lines around it) in the brand, spanking new (and fabulous) Will to Power section:

"(This is part of a more general claim that all facts are false, roughly because none of them more than appear to correspond to reality.) Instead, ethical statements (like all statements) are mere 'interpretations'."

While I had understood Nietzsche to be, epistemologically speaking, something of a skeptic, what always struck me as more important in his writing was not whether or not anything is in fact true or false, but why it is true or false, to which he seemed to be saying something like, "a true statement has been made true" - that is, there aren't states of affairs in the world that are true in and of themselves, just truths made true by humans. If we're going to be discussing his epistemology and/or metaphysics in this article, I'm all for going all out on it, rather than just a sentence or two stuck in the Will to Power section, which without a big old chunk of text explaining it might be misleading. Any objections? Normally I'm a bit more brazen about editing articles, but this one has had some big improvements lately and I didn't want to interrupt the flow. --Seth Mahoney 17:59, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Hey Seth, after my other edits yesterday, I was thinking that an epistemology section would be good. I'd say if you're up for adding that, or a metaphysics section, go for it. I think providing a brief, coherent, NPOV summary of any aspect of Nietzsche is a difficult task. I also find it somewhat ridiculous that, with my not all that extensive knowledge of Nietzsche, I'm apparently one of Wikipedia's "Nietzsche experts". But maybe working together we can actually mold the article into something good. --Ryguasu 19:12, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I agree - its gonna be tough. One thing Nietzsche was not in favor of was NPOV... Anyhow, great! I'll get started on that as soon as I have a minute or two... --Seth Mahoney 19:16, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)


Nietzsche did question religion early in his life - he goes on about this in On the Genealogy of Morals. He may have been pious as a child, I don't know about that.--XmarkX 05:44, 16 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Nietzsche´s Polish roots

Man hat mich gelehrt, die Herkunft meines Blutes und Namens auf polnische Edelleute zurückzuführen, welche Niëtzky hießen und etwa vor hundert Jahren ihre Heimat und ihren Adel aufgaben, unerträglichen religiösen Bedrückungen endlich weichend: es waren nämlich Protestanten. Ich will nicht leugnen, daß ich als Knabe keinen geringen Stolz auf diese meine polnische Abkunft hatte: was von deutschem Blute in mir ist, rührt einzig von meiner Mutter, aus der Familie Oehler, und von der Mutter meines Vaters, aus der Familie Krause, her, und es wollte mir scheinen, als sei ich in allem Wesentlichen trotzdem Pole geblieben. Daß mein Äußeres bis jetzt den polnischen Typus trägt, ist mir oft genug bestätigt worden; im Auslande, wie in der Schweiz und in Italien, hat man mich oft als Polen angeredet; in Sorrent, wo ich einen Winter verweilte, hieß ich bei der Bevölkerung il Polacco; und namentlich bei einem Sommeraufenthalt in Marienbad wurde ich mehrmals in auffallender Weise an meine polnische Natur erinnert: Polen kamen auf mich zu, mich polnisch begrüßend und mit einem ihrer Bekannten verwechselnd, und Einer, vor dem ich alles Polenthum ableugnete und welchem ich mich als Schweizer vorstellte, sah mich traurig längere Zeit an und sagte endlich “es ist noch die alte Rasse, aber das Herz hat sich Gott weiß wohin gewendet.” Ein kleines Heft Mazurken, welches ich als Knabe componirte, trug die Aufschrift “Unsrer Altvordern eingedenk!”—und ich war ihrer eingedenk, in mancherlei Urtheilen und Vorurtheilen. Die Polen galten mir als die begabtesten und ritterlichsten unter den slavischen Völkern; und die Begabung der Slaven schien mir höher als die der Deutschen, ja ich meinte wohl, die Deutschen seien erst durch eine starke Mischung mit slavischem Blute in die Reihe der begabten Nationen eingerückt. Es that mir wohl, an das Recht des polnischen Edelmanns zu denken, mit seinem einfachen Veto den Beschluß einer Versammlung umzuwerfen; und der Pole Copernikus schien mir von diesem Rechte gegen den Beschluß und den Augenschein aller andern Menschen eben nur den größten und würdigsten Gebrauch gemacht zu haben. Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche and "Philosopher-Kings"?

Considering this statement:

"Moreover, his idea of noble men imposing their own values on the world suggests a non-skeptical meta-ethical view, namely ethical subjectivism."

Is this saying that Niezsche believed in having "noble men" (ubermensch?) impose their values on people? Something like a Platonic "Philosopher King?" If so, this statement is patently false. That idea goes against the core of Nietsche because he dispised any kind of imposed morality. Comments? --DanielCD 20:49, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Another comment: there were some references in the article (which I'm working to remove) that suggested the Will to Power includes a desire to 'Dominate'. This is not really true, as Nietzsche saw the desire to dominate (anything outside oneself) as a weakness. This is part of the problem he had with the State, Germany, and Christianity. --DanielCD 15:44, 9 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Nietzsche don't see all desire to dominate as a weakness. 22:08, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

'Dividualism?' Nietzsche's "Bicameral System of Culture"...?

Go to google and type in "bicameral system of culture" in quotations as thus. You'll receive several hits on this obscure reference to this 'theory' of Nietzsche's that I've never before heard of, but which sounds very interesting nevertheless. Does anybody know the source of this reference and these terms and maybe where Nietzsche can be sourced for it? Nagelfar 11:39, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I'm finding it traced to a book: Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography, Rüdiger Safranski on this webpage:

The following quote from that page leads me to think this term may have been an invention of the author: basically a solution he concocted to solve (or apologize) for Nietzsche's dislike of democracy:

"...he ventures a more creative, but no less unhelpful, suggestion that Nietzsche should have consistently advocated a “bicameral system of culture.” Building on an image Nietzsche employed in Human, All Too Humaný Safranski suggests that it is possible on Nietzschean grounds to conceive of a culture in which “one chamber [is] heated up by the passions of genius while the other [is] cooled off with principles of common sense and balanced out with collective pragmatism.” Safranski believes that if Nietzsche had endorsed such a two-fold conception of truth—one for radical artist-philosophers, another for moderate practical men—he could have pursued his adventure in thinking without “abandon[ing] the idea of democracy and justice.”"

Hope this helps.--DanielCD 14:11, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Okay, Thank you for the corroboration with my thought that such terms were never used by him. Nagelfar 08:46, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)


As far as I know, the English translation of Der Antichrist is incorrect. "Christ" means "(a)Christian (person)" in German, thus "Der Antichrist" would be more accurately rendered as "The Anti-Christian". --Tamas 14:32, 16 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I agree. --DanielCD 15:21, 16 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I noted this in The Antichrist (book). It should remain the same here, as that is the standard title for the book. 03:54, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I am quite sure it can be translated as both (I'm Japanese though so my English and German are not perfect), and if you check my new update to The Antichrist (book) maybe that will help people understand both the title and the content. By the way - the current Nietzsche article, considering it's short length and some peoples conflicting viewpoints, is pretty damn good thanks to you guys and your thoughtful work. It would be nice to see a few shocking "bad boy" quotes at the end though, to balance the (beautifully chosen) poetries to women. --User:some Japanese nerd.

I find him making jokes, loose statements that seem to say, "be sceptical, don't swallow everything you hear" ( or" anything") . As such he is rather postmodern. Having laid that groundwork, at times perhaps, a certain careless grouchinesss would not be avoided. We should ask, in addition to 'what did he mean', "how can he be interpreted" and I see his work resting in a historical setting where the old props to hierarchy were breaking or broken. German thought was perhaps beginning to have an effect in America (especially elite and banking institutions ) in as the two countries began to vie for displacement of the UK. In addition to his impact on the nazis, we should enquire deeply into his impact on the robber barons, American eugenicists. and then the rise of contemporary equivalents, and Leo Strauss. As far as eugenics, that is an American institution relating back to the Indian Wars, so did N read some Yanks?

It has been speculated that W Blake's was an era whose intellectual life was stimulated by electromagnetic studies and that he was an early postmodern, that this nascent pm was sidelined by the imageries of the train. I find Blake's thought in Nietzsche's hand far too often for coincidence, but I haven't traced the connection, any ideas? Perhaps much of his fame is owed to Milton's Satan and the gnostics? And... isn't Napoleon ( and much that That implies) his real model for the uberfellow???


Quote removal

I have removed the following quote added recently: "When you go to woman, take the whip along."

The original phrase in German is: "Du gehst zu Frauen? Vergiss die Peitsche nicht!" In English: "You go to women? Don't forget the whip." The meaning is of the sentence is enigmatic: it does not specify WHOSE the whip is. It might also be the whip of women. This view is based on a photograph of Nietzsche, Paul Rée and Lou Salomé taken shortly before Nietzsche started working on Zarathustra [2]. In the photo, as Nietzsche supposedly choreographed it, Lou kneals in the front of a small farmer's cart, holding a whip, while Ree and Nietzsche stand in front of the cart, linked to Lou's hand by ropes.

Reading the quote, one might get an impression that Nietzsche was a misogynist, but regarding his painful yet very passionate relationships with certain women, this can be easily doubted. The quote probably represents some of Nietzsche's hard feelings against women he was often rejected by, but is definitely no argument for beating women. -- mz 12:15, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Nevertheless, it's something Nietzsche said, and it's therefore by definition a quote. --Ute Oronto 20:44, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)
But it is a poor translation of a quote, i.e. the ambiguity which is apparent in the original German version is not apparent in the translation quoted here. Obviously someone feels that Nietzche's misogyny is an important component of his thought which is missing from this article. It would be more useful if they would put some clear evidence of this view and explained why it was an important component of his thought. This could be a valuable addition to the article if it is done with thought and care.
Poor translation aside, he WAS a misogynist, or at least very much a sexist. See 232-239 of Beyond Good and Evil, for example. 02:04, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Ute Oronto, quoting does not mean picking badly translated sentences without proper context. I improved the translation of the quote after your revert. I agree with the user who suggested adding special paragraph about sexism in Nietzsche's thought. --mz 11:32, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)

mz, I never said anything to suggest that was what I thought was quoting or that what I was doing was anything but what I suggested I believed quoting was. I don't think anyone can seriously dispute this, and consequently it is appropriate to retain the quote. This is, as far as I understand it, how Wikipedia ideally does -- and ideally should -- work. --Ute Oronto 02:29, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I would agree with adding a paragraph about sexist interpretations of Nietzsche's writing, so long as it didn't go like this:
Nietzsche was sexist (or a misogynist). - obviously POV
or like this:
Some think Nietzsche was a misogynist. - POV, but something that sneaks into articles all too often
I actually don't think that Nietzsche was a sexist or misogynist so much, just that he believed in differences between the sexes, which are exaggerated in his writing (from our contemporary POV). Women, to him, were good at certain things and shouldn't want to be like men - at several points he wonders why women would ever want to be like men - they have more power, they don't get into all of the childish things men get into, etc. Yes, he makes negative comments about women as women, but he makes negative comments about men as men, also, and many of his negative comments about women can be read as little more than negative comments about women in his society, whereas many of his negative statements about men ring true for women and men today. To render him strictly a misogynist, then, seems to miss just as much of his writing as would rendering him a racist or an anti-semite. -Seth Mahoney 16:42, Sep 29, 2004 (UTC)

a reply to Seth Mahoney: To read Nietzsche not as a misogynist and not as an anti-semitist is to read with one eye closed. Certainly both women and Jewish are abominable creatures, (from Tatcitus's Histories (the chapter on Jewish) to the Bible, and to many others, both creatures are condemned constantly)and Nietzsche never said to the contrary (show me that I am wrong!). The basic problem is that Christianity is really the product of Judaism, or put it another way, the whole Europe has been "judaized". After the fall of Jerusalem, the whole of Roman is infected with Christianity, where this new Jweish religion fourished.(I think this idea is manifested in most of Nietzsche's works) And like father like son, Christianity is just as decadent as Judaism and therefore has no right to think itself any superior; Jesus is Jewish! So certainlly stupid for a Christian to hate Jewish, for all Christians are the underdogs of Judaism. Similarly, men may be misogynists, but men are supposed love--to have sex with--women, at least from the biological point of view. Therefore, there are no real misogynists, unless, of course, Nietzsche is gay; but, being a German, he wouldn't, I think. However, despite the biological necessity which force men to love women, women are still abominable creatures (see the Bible) and that's why they should be enslaved--that whither the misogyny "you go to women? Don't forget the whip!" Nonsense to argue whose whip is that! The meaning is plain! note: misogyny lies in that women are like freed slaves; if women are re-enslaved, there wouldn't be misogyny anymore.(See Arthur Schoepenhauer's "On Women" ) One may argue that this may not be Nietzsche's point of view; well, the truth is that Nietzsche's writings on women has no value; they should rather skipped when reading, for they are trash. One should read Schopenhauer for misogyny, and that's why I refer to him. And, I take it for granted that Nietzsche never disagreed with Schopenhauer on women (correct me if I am wrong!)

I have raised some of these issues at the Misogyny talk page. I think that a section should be added on accusations of misogyny leveled against Nietzsche, and perhaps a separate article dealing with specific criticisms and their responses should be created.

Perhaps something similiar should be done for accusations of anti-semitism, but I don't think anyone who really knows Nietzsche at all believes that he was anti-semitic. Wagner's anti-semitism was one of the things that drove Nietzsche and Wagner apart, among other things. His friend Paul Reé was a Jew.

There are plenty of accusations of misogyny that are ill-founded. Case in point: the quote "Woman was God's second mistake" is an often used as evidence of Nietzsche's misogyny. It sounds very misogynistic if you don't know the context. If you read it in the original context(section 48 of The Antichrist), you will find that it is not an assertion, but an analysis of the biblical creation myth. Not only that, but a little bit later, in the same section, Nietzsche writes, "Man himself had been his greatest blunder".

This, unfortunately, seems to pass for valid criticism more often than not. So hopefully we can clear out the more blundering mistakes in regard to this issue, and focus on any criticisms that have substance.

As a sidenote, not only is the "do not forget the whip" metaphorical, it is a metaphor in a book that is nothing but metaphor. The trouble with metaphors is that they can be terribly subjective, even when two people share the same culture and time period. Take the Bible, for example. People who come from a modern, feminist-oriented mindset, especially those who have preconcieved notions about Nietzsche, will likely see the abuse of women. Some people have seen it as kinky sex. Others see it as symbolic of female slavery(understandable, since slave morality is an important theme of his). From my own reading, I see it as a metaphor for control; if you are going to have a woman in your life, keep conrol of her or she will control you. Whether and how this is misogynistic is another issue, but that is why I think there should, perhaps, be an article dealing specifically with this issue. -JD

En français

Taoism? Hegel?

"Other ideas similar to Nietzsche's are Taoism, which holds that to follow one's own natural wills will bring about a happier existence, and Hegel's theory of history. "

What? The Taoist vision of following one's "natural will" ultimately stems from a pantheistic or monistic concept of the operation of the Tao in all beings and bears little to no resemblance to Nietzsche's concept of power; furthermore, Taoism consistently advocates metaphors of weakness, feminity, and even deformity in contrast to the image of active masculine power which it frequently denigrates, which is actively contrary to the Nietzschean view. And Nietzsche was profoundly anti-Hegelian, so a case for their similarity (and what sort of similarity is it supposed to be?) would have to overcome this. Can anyone help me understand what these lines are doing in this article? -- कुक्कुरोवाच|Talk‽ 18:55, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The key is the term "natural will", the Golden dawn fellow (name escapes me now, Crowley ) and Bhagnwan Shre Ragnesh had a related concept concept: do what thou wilt; or something like that, but be concious of what you will, dont self-lie. As for macho etc, well Nman was certainly Very far from consistant, and Tao regards much action as spinging from False or Ignorant desire as false, as weakness. I don't know either Heckle or Nietski well enough to comment on their relations, but Hegel influenced many and their were left, right and luny Hegelians as well as Nietzscheans. Besides, perhaps N's love of macho was an emotional compensation for his weakness and had not so much to do with philosophy, and perhaps zsche knew it! WblakesxWblakesx

The inet has created a new realm of reality, one in which we MAY largely express ourselves more honestly than anywhere else. This may manifest by stupid, cranky, lazy, or just honest. I get a feeling that Niets reached a point where he dismissed his internal censor, in the process reached some "hidden truths" or at least rarely expressed, some creative insights, and some pure crap. In his social milleau there were many ( still are ) shallow and vain idiots (bosses) who like to eat his crap. so says I WblakesxWblakesx

What is the correct pronunciation of Nietzsche?

I've always said it NEETS-shuh, based on what I know about German phonology, but I often hear NEE-chuh and NEE-chee. What would be the best pronunciation to use for English speakers? It seems a lot of them can't wrap their tongues around (what I assume to be) the original German pronunciation, but I bet "NEE-chee" would have sounded to the man like fingernails on a chalkboard. [[User:Livajo|Ливай | ]] 04:45, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)

NEE-chee is definitely not the original German pronunciation, as the final E should be a schwa (unstressed -uh), but maybe that's the most natural way of pronounciation for English speakers. NEETS-chuh seems a bit hypercorrect to me, I guess NEE-chuh is how Germans say it but I'm not a native speaker.--Tamas 19:43, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)


I found this nice pronunciation:

Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm (frē'drĭkh vĭl'hĕlm nē'chə)

I hope this helps those who have not German as their mother tongue.

Hans Rosenthal (hans.rosenthal AT -- replace AT by @ )

page width

Does anyone know why the width of this page is so messed up?

"Famous exchange" removal

I removed the section

as in the famous exchange: "God is dead" - Nietzsche; "Nietzsche is dead" - God, and the riposte, "Some are born posthumously!" - Nietzsche

because, if I understand correctly, Nietzsche did not intend the passages to form a dialog. Especially the part by God, I'm guessing. Correct me if I'm wrong?

Mote 01:20, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

No, "God is dead" appeared in Also sprach Zarathustra, while "Some are born posthumously!" was in the foreword to The Antichrist. The full quote is:

"This book belongs to the most rare of men. Perhaps not one of them is yet alive. It is possible that they may be among those who understand my "Zarathustra": how could I confound myself with those who are now sprouting ears?--First the day after tomorrow must come for me. Some men are born posthumously." [3]

This isn't in response to the "God is dead" quote. I'm also pretty sure Nietzsche also didn't say "Nietzsche is dead - God" at all (although he would probably find it funny).
Regardless, I still think it would be good to find some way to preserve this "dialogue." Because, if we don't, the terrorists have truly won. --Head of the Caligula Appreciation Society 08:03, Dec 30, 2004 (UTC)

Nostril quote

I know I'm no fun, but. Someone added the quote "My genius lies in my nostrils." The only reference a9 finds is [4], which I'm loathe to consider authoritative, and it's hardly representative of his work anyway. Thoughts?

- sam_jam00

Well, it's in my copy of 'Why I am so Wise' and I think it's representative of Nietzsche's character: he was, after all, very self confident in his sensitivity (did he not say that he felt ill in the presence of a German?). And he did say it, making it a quote (of course he probably said 'pass the peas' but I wouldn't include that). But you're right, I was mainly being facetious, because I think it's quite an amusing quote.

Mote 01:41, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Could someone explain to me why we're so authoritatively declaring that the translation "superman" is a mistake and "overman" is better? Because of the guy from the planet Krypton? Aside from him, it seems to me that "super" and "over" are about equally good translations of the prefix Nietzsche used, and of course George Bernard Shaw, no dunce with languages, preferred the former. --Christofurio 21:12, Feb 5, 2005 (UTC)

I'm inclined to agree with Chrisotfurio. I suspect that the distaste for "Superman" stems from the association of that word with Nazism. All serious contemporary Nietzsche scholarship acknowledges the misuse and abuse of Nietzsche by Nazism (and Nazism's eventual turn against Nietzsche, who's philosophy they soon recognized was inevitably opposed to their project). I think it is sufficient to note that what the Nazis may have had in mind has nothing to do with what Nietzsche was talking about with ubermensch. Also interesting: when we talk of Nazi "supermen" that is of course a translation of the German word for the same term. So, we can't properly get away from that misplaced association by changing the English translation of the word, though we can by making the distinction between the different uses of the word--Nietzsche's (and other's) philosophical use of the term, and the Nazis use of the word, which of course, by the time they come along, had become entrenched in the German language--Nietzsche had become popular years before and continued to be popular even amongst people adamantly opposed to Nazism. So, excellent point. --Rexrexilius 21:30, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The original word Nietzsche used was Übermensch, not Supermann. There is a significant difference in that Nietzsche wanted the denotation to signify overcoming; hence overman/overhuman, as Mensch in german means: human being. So an exact translation would be: Overhuman, which of course makes more sense, as it implies being "above human" rather than being "over man". : ) 11:18, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC) --Dan Asad

What an instance of reactionism!

I'm just a week-old newcomer from the far east, yet knowing little of wikipedian manner, but at once praising much its free, easy, general, and neutral spirit. Excuse me for all my faults if any for the time being at least. But last Friday i put down my first contribution to "edit" by appending the following QUOTE of three paragraphs to the existing one under the subtitle "Criticism of the idea." The next day it was found completely deleted to my "reactive" dismay and sense of edit war. NPOV appears in danger. In a sense the whole article is critical. Or such a title is reasonably expected really critical. Nevertheless all criticism against the central idea of ultimate "Power" is reduced to a word "harsh" or at best a single concessive clause "Although the idea may seem harsh to some" strongly suggesting subjective impression. Elsewhere his sister appears only to blame for Nazis using it, which seems not really under her control. The idea itself looks like a manifestation of "Will to Power" as a theory of everything. As such it is in danger of "eternal recurrence" of abuses by any neo-aristocrat and power-greedy overlord 'over mankind.' We need a safeguard measure. The tougher figure the tougher measure to criticize. Isn't it fair enough?

I greatly admire Wikipedia as the closest idea to the Wellsian ideal of "World Encyclopedia" and "World Brain" along the line of The Enlightenment and Encyclopedism, devoted to authority "critically presented" free to the general population rather than "for the gentlemen by the gentlemen" of power. As a social reformer, he must be sick and tired of propaganda by dictators and scholars as well. To make hero of someone is likely to make fool of everyone, degenerating the general enlighenment. And NPOV as well! Partial scholarship may be as sinful as they make fool. All sholarship may be simply evolutionary dialectic "reactions," or "conjectures and refutations" as claimed by the seminal Karl Popper, or even "anything goes" as claimed by Paul Feyerabend. I hope my edition or addition is not wholly useless and worth complete delete. I quoted a passage from Taoism in Wikipedia to mark the disparity from Will to Power, as the similarity alone would be misleading to other than Taoism. Somewhere in the "discussion" the very similarity was bitterly disputed but in vain. On the other hand, suppose my idea were so striking or undermining as to be deleted and buried deep in secret. Then even piracy would be suspected of at worst, I'm afraid. At least, the manner would matter. I too should have invited discussion here prior to my "edit" in a hurry. This is a bargain; we'll feel free to do it starting from now on...


On the other hand, the mother nature, heaven and earth, or perhaps God is not merciful or affectionate. So suggested Lao Zi, the legendary father of Taoism, the backbone of the so-called oriental mysticism or paganism. It is not that she is merciless, but she simply goes her way or Tao regardless of individual creatures whose fate is destined. Nevertheless men will or wish for her mercy in vain. Instead they would better follow her way, loving her and fate, namely, amor fati. For she is not affectionate but affective overwhelmingly.

Thus, to live is mostly to react passive and effective rather than act agressive and affective, though it may be often more or less affective in effect. The servant or slave morality, say to God, is deeply engraved here. "Act in accordance with nature, and with finesse rather than force." Prefer inaction and reaction to action of force. So suggests Taoism, rather in a passive mood. In a Confucian mood, do to others as you want them to do to you. Buddhism strongly suggests causal chain reactions. Neither is exactly active but rather reactive.

The idea of Will to Power, particularly as a theory of everything, may be better replaced by that of Will to Reaction, to be precise and scientific. The sensation undergoes a series of responses to external stimuli. The mind is widely regarded as the mirror of nature, however strongly Richard Rorty may deny. As to behavior, no one but Americans can vote against George Bush at free will. Without Newtonean reaction, spacetime would not make sense of it at all. All the physical and chemical reaction processes would begin and end all at once, once and for all! Why not physiology and psychology in reaction to make sense of spacetime? The binary opposition is the most elementary order of things, as manifested by mathematics and computing. Such may be enough for why yin-yang of ancient oriental paganism is an absolute must. Newton may have rediscovered part of it. Nietzsche is rediscovered for his fatal contribution to recover such paganism.

< ENDQUOTE > Sincerely yours --KYPark 11:19, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

You might consider an article on "Nietzsche's philosophy" or something like that. This material might go well there, but this article is a biography and this seems a little deep for it. --DanielCD 15:00, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

While I don't agree with DanielCD that this article must be limited to biography, I do not find KYPark's contribution acceptable. Wikipedia is not the place for original research. --Goethean 15:33, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I didn't say it had to be limited to biography. --DanielCD 22:02, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

DanielCD, thanks for your suggestion "Nietzsche's philosophy" but it's too much for me, sorry. I'm not that keen but a general and hopefully critical reader with my own measure. I like finding and binding or balancing wild partiality on behalf of others. Even if this article should or would be a biography, it should keep NPOV, and "getting big" or small is not acceptable but only neutral, i guess. Correct me if wrong. To make it big is likely to make profit big, which is elsewhere than Wikipedia, i guess again. Your comment "a little deep" depends on whether or not a biography, about which Goethean at least is unhappy. --KYPark 06:57, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Goethean, or anyone out there, even in the light of original research, i myself can not or may not see something bad in my eye with my eyes. Please persuade me as in detail as you can which ideas of my contribution deleted are too "original," novel, untested, unbalanced, eccentric, partial, non-neutral, or whatever, to be "acceptable." And please don't forget I'm struggling AGAINST partiality and therefore FOR neutrality; such is the case with "Against Method" by Paul Feyerabend. Also, I'm half flattered by my original research known to someone! --KYPark 06:57, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Why my id be in red rather than blue color, let me know. --KYPark 07:09, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)


"Nietzsche's work addresses ethics from several perspectives; in today's terms, we might say his remarks pertain to meta-ethics, normative ethics, and descriptive ethics."

Aren't all forms of ethic included in those three categories?

I wonder who raised this question. But, as regards paradigmatic terminology, 'normative ethics' sounds tautological in the sense that ethics or moral is a social 'norm' or rule by definition. Instead, prescriptive vs. descriptive, top-down vs. bottom-up, or deductive vs. inductive (reasoning) branches may be preferable. And, 'meta-ethics' looks as fashionable as many meta-things booming presumably since the late 70's. 'Analytical' or 'critical' ethics, or moral philosophy may look parallel to philosophy.

The sea of descriptive ethics, including fictions and factions, is vast and the implications are unfathomable. Proverbs, fables, and essays are more or less prescriptive.

Another dichotomy may be diachronic vs. synchronic. Still another may be absolute vs. relative, or global vs. local. For example, the Confucian axiom "Do to others as you want them to do to you" is diachronic and global, whereas much of Christian, or Judaic moral such as circumcision, is perhaps synchronic and local.

It is not clear if Nietzsche's 'master morality' as opposed to 'slave morality' was meant global or local, Eurocentric, German-centric, nationalistic, elitistic, or egocentric, not to mention diachronic or synchronic. But it is clear that it could not be a global standard throughout ages. The master-slave pair is just one kind of relationship closely related to imperialism and colonialism of his age. Again, ethics or moral is a social norm. That is to say, it depends on the social context, narrow AND broad in the spectrum. I am a son and father and husband and friend and enemy and citizen and so on. In what or all capacity to do good or harm to others? That is a question of awful headache! --KYPark 15:43, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)

My Talk:Protagoras may be found also relevant here. --KYPark 15:58, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)

'Twas I who raised the above question.
Whether Nietzsche's ethical views correspond or not to the mentioned three categories is irrelevant. He would have to, as they include every possible ethical view that exist. Absolutism and relativism as well as diachronic and synchronic views are all included in the field of meta-ethics (them dealing with ontology and semantics). This global and local stuff you speak of seems to be included in normative ethics. Prescreptive ethics, as you use the term, is most likely too part of normative ethics and descriptive is, obviously, part of descriptive ethics.
The phrasing used at the moment makes it seem as if there are other ethical categories that Nietzsche's remarks does not pertain to. This is not the case and should therefore be changed. It could, of course, be so that there are categories -within- these three that Nietzsche's views pertain more or less to, but then that should be explained and detailed in the article. --Sentius

normative [Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 1973]

of, or relating or conforming to, or prescribing norms

normative [5]

1 : of, relating to, or determining norms or standards < normative tests >

2 : conforming to or based on norms < normative behavior > < normative judgments >

3 : prescribing norms < normative rules of ethics > < normative grammar >

norm [6]

1 : an authoritative standard : MODEL

2 : a principle of right action binding upon the members of a group and serving to guide, control, or regulate proper and acceptable behavior

3 : AVERAGE: as a : a set standard of development or achievement usually derived from the average or median achievement of a large group b : a pattern or trait taken to be typical in the behavior of a social group c : a widespread practice, procedure, or custom : RULE < standing ovations became the norm > --KYPark 07:59, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)

This is irrelevant, however true it is and that it fits with what I wrote. Tell me one ethical standpoint that is not included in either meta-ethics, descriptive ethics or normative ethics. Some views are included in two or all three of the above, sure, but none exists outside of any of them. --Sentius

Take it easy. The above reference to the dictionary simply aims to reinforce my previous narrative for everyone's reference. I do not attempt to fight you back, but respect your loyalty to those three ethical categories, however incapable they may be of solving practical ethical problems. Yet I cannot agree on your positivist and absolutist claim.

As suggested above, it is by virtue of definition that ethics is a social norm, and thus normative or prescriptive ethics comes into being central. Suppose it is defined or agreed as a social 'form' of human behaviors, that is, without any normative enforcement like a prescribed game rule, but a natural way of life denying norms and artifacts, e.g., Taoism, not to mention the jungle life and Nietzsche's master morality. Then formative instead of normative ethics would be central. Confucianism is notorious for great normativeness at least from the Taoist point of view. All I'm saying is that normative ethics is NOT absolute, and so are most if not all other things. I am against any kind of absolutism because I know I am too imperfect to know everything, namely, agnosticist. I may be too tired by such a variety of absolute theism. In this regard I am very sympathetic to Nietzsche who was a man of bravery or virtus in ancient Greek enough to declare "God is dead." --KYPark 08:16, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I am afraid I cannot see how it matters what brand of ethics is central. Even if it was I have not claimed that any category is more central than another. What I am saying is that everything ethical is included in either meta-ethics, descriptive ethics or normative ethics. Since you do not seem to think so, can you mention a supposedly forth category beside these three? If not, then what is the point of in the article saying that Nietzsche's views pertains to the only three categories of ethics that exist? Isn't that obvious unless something else is written? --Sentius

As another framework, I generated diachronic vs. synchronic ethics, eg., the Confucian golden rule vs. the Judaic circumcision. You degenerated them into meta-ethics. You see, both examples are exactly normative! Say, Do others equal and get circumcised to become a Jew. Such a temporal framework appears evenly independent from those ethical categories. Such is the case with the spatial global/local dimension. Simply all are different dimensions or categorization frameworks probably of equal importance or priority. Therefore your original doubt "Aren't all forms of ethic included in those three categories?" is not entirely without doubt. It would be all right as far as it remains firm within that framework only. But I believe there may be many other frameworks and it would be plausible to make some reservation.

You said, "Prescriptive ethics...part of normative ethics." Prescriptive is the closest synonym to normative in fact. It might happen to be noramtive instead of prescriptive ethics. Both are circular anyway. But I prefer "prescriptive" to do good or justice to descriptive ethics of recent origin, however well established normative may be. Both scriptives look like an excellent linguistic couple of little or no ambiguity.

You doubt if "any category is more cenral than another." Refer to Bernard Rosen's The centrality of normative ethical theory, Peter Lang, New York: 1999. (from Further reading in Norm_(philosophy)) The title alone appears to favor me, while just in case he might refute that centrality to favor you after all. I believe ethics is practice in essence or in focus supported or surrounded by meta-ethical reasoning that comes after ethics in practice, hence the name. Ethical practice is the end while meta-ethical reasoning is the means. Yet it's up to you which is more central.

To me, on the other hand, either normative or descriptive ethics without meta-ethical reasoning included in itself, looks like a stuffed creature or mummy without spirit and guts. Suppose an ethical viewpoint that people (should) believe smoking is bad, which is hazardous to health. There appears all the categories involved. That is to say, I prefer a fully self-contained, self-sustaining coherent ethical theory. See also:

``I'm not sure it's true that normative ethics doesn't care why something is wrong. Most normative ethical theories are along the lines of "things of the following sort are wrong: ...; this thing is of that sort; therefore, this thing is wrong." A normative ethical theory that failed to provide any reasons for its pronouncements wouldn't be taken very seriously (even religion-based normative ethics provide "God so decreed it" as a "why"). -Delirium 07:18, Sep 11, 2003 (UTC)`` -- Talk:Normative_ethics

I wonder if you would duly appreciate or evaluate any one idea in my narrative that I hope partly truthful at least. If you are supposed to do so, I might be encouraged to offer much more surprising ideas. --KYPark 16:40, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Why Nietzsche lost his faith

The statement that Nietzsche lost his faith because of David Strauss was written in the appendix to the Slovenian translation of the book by dr. Vittorio Messori: Ipotesi su Jesu.

The appendix was written in collaboration with V. Messori by prof.dr.Anton Strle, a now-deceased recognized Slovenian prelate and the professor of dogmatic theology and of patrology on the Faculty of Theology in Ljubljana. Unfortunately it is not available in English, but the source is reliable. --Eleassar777 16:22, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

That doesn't inspire confidence. --Goethean 16:31, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

At least the statement should be verified. --Eleassar777 16:35, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I don't think anyone can make the statement that any one thing made him lose his faith. Statements like that are just too presumptuous. Any reference would have to be widely known and approved of by multiple scholars, and even then would be weak. It's really more of an opinion. It may have played a part, and that might be a better wording. Like: "{this book} is believed by {so and so} to have contributed to Nietzsche's loss of faith." or "According to {so and so}, this book played a major part in N.'s loss of faith. --DanielCD 16:36, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Ok, I'll put it in that way. If you like, you can change this further. --Eleassar777 16:40, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Another possibility: "At least one scholar, {so and so}, believes {this book} was perhaps the very thing that caused N. lose his faith." or "...was the cause of N's loss of faith." Just an idea. --DanielCD 18:15, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Assessment comment

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Friedrich Nietzsche/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

needs references and inline citations plange 03:22, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Last edited at 03:22, 30 July 2006 (UTC). Substituted at 20:27, 3 May 2016 (UTC)