Nietzsche : the ethics of an immoralist


Nietzsche : the ethics of an immoralist

Peter Berkowitz

Harvard University Press, 1996

Paperback ed

  • : pbk

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Includes bibliographical references (p. [275]-305) and index



Once regarded as a conservative critic of culture, then enlisted by the court theoreticians of Nazism, Nietzsche has come to be revered by post-modern thinkers as one of their founding fathers, a prophet of human liberation who revealed the perspectival character of all knowledge and broke radically with traditional forms of morality and philosophy. This text challenges this new orthodoxy, asserting that it produces a one-dimensional picture of Nietzsche's philosophical explorations and passes by much of what is provocative and problematic in his thought. Berkowitz argues that Nietzsche's thought is rooted in extreme and conflicting opinions about metaphysics and human nature. Discovering a deep unity in Nietzsche's work by exploring the structure and argumentative movement of a wide range of his books, Berkowitz show that Nietzsche is a moral and political philosopher in the Socratic sense whose governing question is "What is the best life?" Nietzsche, Berkowitz argues, puts forward a severe and aristocratic ethics, an ethics of creativity, that demands that the few human beings who are capable acquire a fundamental understanding of and attain total mastery over the world. Following the path of Nietzsche's thought, Berkowitz shows that this mastery, which represents a suprapolitical form of rule and entails a radical denigration of political life, is, from Nietzsche's own perspective, neither desirable nor attainable.


Preface Abbreviations Introduction I. Nietzsche's Histories 1. The Ethics of History: On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life 2. The Ethics of Art: The Birth of Tragedy 3. The Ethics of Morality: On the Genealogy of Morals 4. The Ethics of Religion: The Antichrist II. The Highest Type 5. The Beginning of Zarathustra's Political Education: Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Prologue) 6. The Ethics of Creativity: Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Part I) 7. The Lust for Eternity and the Pathos of Self-Deification: Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Parts II and III) 8. Retreat from the Extremes: Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Part IV) 9. The Ethics of Knowing: Beyond Good and Evil Conclusion Notes Acknowledgments Index

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