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Nietzsche's Madness not attributed to Syphilis.

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    (Original post by Stéphane)
    Isn't perspectival knowing a total subjectivity theory in its way? Nietzsche depicts science as reducing reality to what we know about it and metaphysics as nihilism. Either way, objectivity is ridiculed.

    As for Dionysos and Apollon... Those are present in The Birth of Tragedy, which even he rejected afterwards, seeing as it's too romantic to be taken seriously... More precisely, he regarded it as the first step of his thinking, somewhat adolescent-like.

    But I see your point about people who inspired from Nietzsche, thanks. The only problem is I'm not really appealed by Didaists and Foucault. I haven't read anything from Heidegger yet.
    Nietzsche didn't ridicule objectivity; he just believed that there can only be a perspectival knowing. Reality only appears when the spotlight of consciousness is placed over it, whilst at the same time another part of that reality recedes, and escapes our knowing.

    Nietzsche didn't reject the Apollonian/Dionysian world view, for he reinterpreted it into the Will to Power, into the dynamic forces of existence. It is not as romantic as it seems. The Apollonian represents form, content and structure, whilst the Dionysian represents depth and height, the essence that underlies all reality. This is just Nietzsche's interpretation of Greek culture as philology on life from the point of Greek mythology. He reinterpreted this scheme in the Will to Power.

    Foucault and Heidegger both wrote 'Nietzschean works'; Foucalt with his history of madness, and Heidegger with his philosophy of time and being. They were both receptive to Nietzsche's philosophy. Read also Adolfo and Horkheimer's The Dialectic of Enlightenment; it has become a classic philosophical text and typically Nietzschean.
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    (Original post by Martyn*)
    Nietzsche didn't ridicule objectivity; he just believed that there can only be a perspectival knowing. Reality only appears when the spotlight of consciousness is placed over it, whilst at the same time another part of that reality recedes, and escapes our knowing.

    Nietzsche didn't reject the Apollonian/Dionysian world view, for he reinterpreted it into the Will to Power, into the dynamic forces of existence. It is not as romantic as it seems. The Apollonian represents form, content and structure, whilst the Dionysian represents depth and height, the essence that underlies all reality. This is just Nietzsche's interpretation of Greek culture as philology on life from the point of Greek mythology. He reinterpreted this scheme in the Will to Power.

    Foucault and Heidegger both wrote 'Nietzschean works'; Foucalt with his history of madness, and Heidegger with his philosophy of time and being. They were both receptive to Nietzsche's philosophy. Read also Adolfo and Horkheimer's The Dialectic of Enlightenment; it has become a classic philosophical text and typically Nietzschean.
    I knew that about the Dionysian/Apollonian combination, as I in fact read a big part of Nietzsche's work including The birth of tragedy, back when I was a Nietzschean (or thought I was). He also promoted Sophocles over Euripides, the first one portraying the world as amoral and pointless as it is, the second one making his characters die for what they'd done, a scheme which doesn't match reality. But he's the one who said that this book was too romantic and too young, his necessary first step, but that still needed to be gone past.

    Besides, Madness and Civilization isn't the only of Foucault's essays to have a Nietzschean background : The birth of the clinic and Discipline and Punish can be characterized by a certain nietzscheanism as well.

    As for me, I will do Nietzsche the pleasure not to regard him as a philosopher, just as he wanted.
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    (Original post by Stéphane)
    I knew that about the Dionysian/Apollonian combination, as I in fact read a big part of Nietzsche's work including The birth of tragedy, back when I was a Nietzschean (or thought I was). He also promoted Sophocles over Euripides, the first one portraying the world as amoral and pointless as it is, the second one making his characters die for what they'd done, a scheme which doesn't match reality. But he's the one who said that this book was too romantic and too young, his necessary first step, but that still needed to be gone past.

    Besides, Madness and Civilization isn't the only of Foucault's essays to have a Nietzschean background : The birth of the clinic and Discipline and Punish can be characterized by a certain nietzscheanism as well.

    As for me, I will do Nietzsche the pleasure not to regard him as a philosopher, just as he wanted.
    I only needed to quote one work by Foucault to show how influential Nietzsche was. Just as Nietzsche wanted? I think not. As I said earlier, Nietzsche thought of himself as a thinker, and this cannot be doubted. What is a thinker? A thinker is a philosopher.
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    (Original post by Martyn*)
    What is a thinker? A thinker is a philosopher.
    A philosopher is a thinker, but I'm not sure it works the other way round. Again, I'm referring to the original meaning of philo-sophia. If you don't love wisdom and you're not searching for a proper truth, you're not a philosopher. Same comment for sophists (which Nietzsche appreciated very much) and Heraclites.
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    Apparently Nietzsche caught syphilis in a brothel in Paris when he was on leave from his post as a stretcher bearer during the Franco Prussian war. there were no antiboitcs around at the time, and the syphilis spread to his brain (leading to the condition once termed 'general paralysis of the insane') Some though have attributed his madness to a dawning on his part that in writing Zarathustra, he had opened a Pandora's Box. He was in particular concerned about his ideas being misinterpreted ('I have a great fear that one day I shall be viewed as holy') and he could see the decline of Western civilisation and the ending of the imitatio Christi meaning of life that was so prevalent in late 19th century Europe. Hence his maxim 'God is dead', and the void that Christianity would leave behind he hoped would be filled, at least for him, by his Superman.

    Of course Nietzsche was right in his ideas being misinterpreted. Hitler got hold of them and distorted them into racial ideas of 'supermen'. the rest of course, tragically, is history.

    Nietzsche did not live a life through his instincts though. A shy, isolated man of diminuitive build, riddled with syphilis, this led Jung to state that Zarathustra was his 'number 2 personality'.

    Having said that, I would advise anyone and everyone to read Zarathustra. It is truly a superb piece of work, more like a piece of poetry than anything else. the words do leap off the page and grab you.
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    Nietzsche wrote about psychology, philosophy, philology, and other things besides. He certainly isn't reducible to the title 'philosopher', although this does not mean he wasn't a brilliant philosopher when he wanted to be.

    I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on Nietzsche (for my philosophy degree). And, although I am fairly critical of him, I found his system to be complex, generally coherent and incredibly insightful (as do many Nietzsche scholars within both the analytic and the continental traditions).

    Of course, he writes in a way that is 1) very hard to understand, and 2) easy for the reader to think they have understood. On the one hand, this leads to fools becoming 'fans' of his, and, on the other hand, different fools dismissing him ignorantly and unfairly.
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    (Original post by Stéphane)
    A philosopher is a thinker, but I'm not sure it works the other way round. Again, I'm referring to the original meaning of philo-sophia. If you don't love wisdom and you're not searching for a proper truth, you're not a philosopher. Same comment for sophists (which Nietzsche appreciated very much) and Heraclites.
    Nietzsche wanted to know truth. In fact, he approached an ontology of truth with his Eternal Recurrence. He wrote that art is more valuable than truth, and that Socrates was not very wise at all. I see Nietzsche as a renegade philosopher towering over the 'truths' of the past ready to smash them with a hammer in his hands. Nietzsche, in my view, is the philosopher of the future.
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    (Original post by Rob19)
    Nietzsche wrote about psychology, philosophy, philology, and other things besides. He certainly isn't reducible to the title 'philosopher', although this does not mean he wasn't a brilliant philosopher when he wanted to be.

    I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on Nietzsche (for my philosophy degree). And, although I am fairly critical of him, I found his system to be complex, generally coherent and incredibly insightful (as do many Nietzsche scholars within both the analytic and the continental traditions).

    Of course, he writes in a way that is 1) very hard to understand, and 2) easy for the reader to think they have understood. On the one hand, this leads to fools becoming 'fans' of his, and, on the other hand, different fools dismissing him ignorantly and unfairly.
    I don't know if you're willing to include me in the second group, but, just in case, I didn't stop at just reading Nietzsche : I also studied his work properly (alone and as part of my higher education programme) and read quite a lot of commentaries (including Deleuze's Nietzsche and Philosophy). Beforehands, I was the foolish Nietzschean. Then I turned into a non-foolish nietzschean. Now I hope to be a non-foolish anti-nietzschean.

    As for Martyn*, how is the Eternal Recurrence ontological? I have to reckon you know more than I do about Nietzsche (I, of course, never claimed to be some specialist), and I would like you to tell me. I could have missed something there.

    What I chiefly reproach to Nietzche isn't the content of his work per se, but rather everything his work doesn't say. I'll explain myself : a lot of Nietzscheans are right to say how the guy would have hated Hitler if he'd had the occasion to live through this. He also turned out to be the less anti-Semitic German thinker during the XIXth century (as soon as he got rid of Wagner's influence) : the letters he adressed to her crazy sister can prove that enough.

    Yet I still think his work prepared for Hitler's arrival : the main problem in Nietzsche (and one of the reasons why I turned to Plato instead) is that it sometimes seems that his desperate will to confuse the reader leads to a stage where words don't mean what they are supposed to anymore. You can't blame anyone for their more or less honest misinterpretations. For that matter, you can be an anarchist, a fascist and still be a Nietzschean apparently (Mussolini has been succeededly both and never stopped to admire Nietzsche). Some people call it being a "complex" writer ; I don't.

    With misleading writings come misled theories.
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    I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on Nietzsche (for my philosophy degree). And, although I am fairly critical of him, I found his system to be complex, generally coherent and incredibly insightful (as do many Nietzsche scholars within both the analytic and the continental traditions).
    His system, if he has one, is certainly not one characterized by coherence, although I would take your other points. In fact it was he who asserted that no objective truth can be known.
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    Don't mistake outlandish complexity for incoherence.

    One reason for his seeming incoherence is that Nietzsche developed a whole ethical ontology, where even truth is valued in terms of lie-enhancement. Thus, where he appears to contradict with different 'truths', he only does so for ethical reasons which are coherent in his wider ethical ontology.

    Another reason is that he didn't want to spoon-feed people answers (he wanted to help people think for themselves), so he wrapped up his insights in poetry, rhetoric, and so on. Do not fallaciously infer from his use of these mediums that there is no substance, and that it is largely coherent.

    John Richardson's influential (although imperfect) book 'Nietzsche's System' is a good place to start if you wish to gain a genuine understanding.
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    I never said that he was self contradictory, I merely pointed out that Nietzsche was not one of the 'system builders' like Hegel, Marx, Kant etc. were. Instead he was more commentator on the grand questions and on contemporary issues, much like Kierkegaard also was.In fact a key part of his philosophy was that truth cannot be approached objectively, rejection of the "God's eye point of view" that infects much of modern philosophy. The will to power is, of itself, essential to the psychological makeup of the human being, at least according to Nietzsche. We as humans would rather will nothingness than not will at all; with the 'death of God' and the rise of science, we have lost the excuse for morality. As Dostoevsky wrote, "If God did not exist, everything would be permitted". The problem for Nietzsche was that he was afraid of falling into the abyss of nihilism.

    By the bye, even in the Kantian idea of "the intelligible character of things" there remains a trace of that schism, so dear to the heart of the ascetic, that schism which likes to turn reason against reason; in fact, "intelligible character" means in Kant a kind of quality in things of which the intellect comprehends so much, that for it, the intellect, it is absolutely incomprehensible. After all, let us, in our character of knowers, not be ungrateful towards such determined reversals of the ordinary perspectives and values, with which the mind had for too long raged against itself with an apparently futile sacrilege! In the same way the very seeing of another vista, the very wishing to see another vista, is no little training and preparation of the intellect for its eternal "Objectivity"—objectivity being understood not as "contemplation without interest" (for that is inconceivable and nonsensical), but as the ability to have the pros and cons in one's power and to switch them on and off, so as to get to know how to utilise, for the advancement of knowledge, the difference in the perspective and in the emotional interpretations. But let us, forsooth, my philosophic colleagues, henceforward guard ourselves more carefully against this mythology of dangerous ancient ideas, which has set up a "pure, will-less, painless, timeless subject of knowledge"; let us guard ourselves from the tentacles of such contradictory ideas as "pure reason," "absolute spirituality," "knowledge-in-itself":—in these theories an eye that cannot be thought of is required to think, an eye which ex hypothesi has no direction at all, an eye in which the active and interpreting functions are cramped, are absent; those functions, I say, by means of which "abstract" seeing first became seeing something; in these theories consequently the absurd and the nonsensical is always demanded of the eye. There is only a seeing from a perspective, only a "knowing" from a perspective, and the more emotions we express over a thing, the more eyes, different eyes, we train on the same thing, the more complete will be our "idea" of that thing, our "objectivity."
    From Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals.


    I've got some recommendations for you if you wanted to gain a 'genuine understanding' of Nietzsche. Walter Kaufmann is a good place to start for beginners.
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    For French-speakers or enthusiasts, Martin Steffens' Nietzsche pas à pas is also a very good start.
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    (Original post by paradox13)
    I never said that he was self contradictory, I merely pointed out that Nietzsche was not one of the 'system builders' like Hegel, Marx, Kant etc. were. Instead he was more commentator on the grand questions and on contemporary issues, much like Kierkegaard also was.In fact a key part of his philosophy was that truth cannot be approached objectively, rejection of the "God's eye point of view" that infects much of modern philosophy. The will to power is, of itself, essential to the psychological makeup of the human being, at least according to Nietzsche. We as humans would rather will nothingness than not will at all; with the 'death of God' and the rise of science, we have lost the excuse for morality. As Dostoevsky wrote, "If God did not exist, everything would be permitted". The problem for Nietzsche was that he was afraid of falling into the abyss of nihilism.



    From Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals.


    I've got some recommendations for you if you wanted to gain a 'genuine understanding' of Nietzsche. Walter Kaufmann is a good place to start for beginners.
    Don't patronise me after saying such silly things, I was only trying to help. Yes, Kaumann was a brilliant translator and was an important scholar at one time. Nonetheless, he wasn't particularly good as a Nietzsche scholar; rather, his importance lay in the fact that he was the only adequate scholar working on Nietzsche in English for a long period. There's little point reading him today (and yes I have read him) in comparison to the work that has been done in the past twenty years or so.
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    I was only trying to help too.

    No need to get mad.
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    (Original post by JacobW)
    A question about Neitzsche. Why is he taken seriously as a philosopher, given that, as far as I can tell, his 'philosophy' consists of crude generalisations, bold assertions, and dazzling rhetoric? I may well be missing something, but I'm genuinely curious.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/..._nietzsche.ram

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