• Ross
    142
    I'm very sorry it was someone else who clearly has taken umbrage with my opinions about Nietszche who made that comment. I was accused of being a Buddhist evangelist when in fact Im not religious.
  • Ross
    142

    That's fine. I understand your point about backing up ones point with proper argument. To a certain extent I was playing the role sometimes of the devil's advocate in order to provoke debate. I wasn't accusing Nietszche of being a misogynistic and denigrating him I was merely drawing attention to some provocative statements he made and and debating what he meant by them. I was puzzled why such a brilliant genius like Nietszche who is so popular today would make such statements. I Know it's taken out of context but nevertheless if a philosopher today was to make such pronouncements I think he/she would be severly attacked for what seems discriminatory. And the argument that Nietszche is a product of his times doesn't hold water for me because other 19th century thinkers like John Stuart mill expressed more enlightened views about women.
    what about one of the other bloggers on this thread who said Nietszche was like a Germanic version of Oscar Wilde. Is his/her opinion also just empty rhetoric and should not be on a philosophy blog?
  • Joshs
    3.8k



    I was puzzled why such a brilliant genius like Nietszche who is so popular today would make such statements. I Know it's taken out of context but nevertheless if a philosopher today was to make such pronouncements I think he/she would be severly attacked for what seems discriminatory.Ross Campbell

    “A number of Nietzsche interpreters argue that Nietzsche was using irony and other devices to make points that were not on the whole intended as anti-female.

    Susan Padilla writes:

    Nietzsche probably utilized the tools of irony, parody, and hu- mor as a way of coping with his difficulties concerning the accu- racy and value of language. Finally, because his work is so an- fractuous, it is absolutely critical that any one comment of Nietzsche‘s be explicated only in context with the greater whole of his work. It is virtually impossible to make singular selections or anthologize Nietzsche without distorting his meaning.”

    “Friedrich Nietzsche is widely regarded as a man who hated women. His work has been assaulted with accusa- tions of misogyny. It is true that his writing contains nu- merous references to women, few of which seem com- plimentary when taken at face value. From his earliest works, to those composed at the end of his life, one can identify dozens of excerpts to support the misogyny charge. One can read almost any work by Nietzsche, employ a narrow interpretation, and conclude that he was in fact a misogynist. His comments regard- ing women appear, at best, ambiguous. At their worst, they seem down right degrading. At least prima facie, Nietzsche seems per- haps the most sexist philosopher in history. A closer examination of his book Beyond Good and Evil will reveal a different picture. There is a different exegesis of Nietzsche which exonerates him from the charge of misogyny. Properly construed, Nietzsche is revealed as a man who appreciated the natural instincts and po- tential power of women, and who, through his use of irony and his criticisms of both ―woman as such‖ and women, wished to educate women on approaching the emancipation issue more effectively without losing their inherent femininity. He in fact implored women to cease in the cannibalization of other women and ―woman as such‖ in order that they could better achieve their goal of emancipation or even better, from Nietzsche‘s per- spective, to achieve a goal of self-overcoming, and in so doing become free spirits.”
  • Ross
    142

    As a matter of fact many of the classes I have in recent times are adults, some who actually have degrees in philosophy themselves , and we have loads of debate. Actually I encourage debate in my classes and Ive had lots of opinions and disagreement in the classes. I actually prefer debate, it's more boring just lecturing at people without any discussion. Anyway if you object to my expressing opinions on this blog perhaps it's you don't respond to them. I would prefer not to continue this discussion anymore. I'm a bit sick of it at this stage.
  • Ross
    142

    That's interesting but why can't Nietszche express himself more clearly and if he has a positive view of women why didn't he just make that clear instead of leaving himself open to misunderstanding. As far as Im aware most other famous thinkers throughout history from Plato and Aristotle to Hume , Betrand Russell, Stuart Mill, Satre and Camus, and many more , all of them express themselves clearly, they are not readily open to misunderstanding, and thinkers like Camus use fictional techniques , like philosophical novels to express their ideas. Yet it's clear what all these thinkers ideas are. Why Nietszche has to be so ambiguous . Every time I read an article about Nietszche it says some scholars interpret Nietszche this way and then there's another camp who interprets him in a different way. Who are you supposed to believe.
    For me Aristotle's Ethics , though not without problems are very well thought. I'm very impressed with them. They seem to me firstly to be full of common sense and secondly they're all based on sound careful logical reasoning and drawn from many case studies and empirical research that Aristotle undertook. They are not based on a belief in God or any religion. Nor are they based on a set of rules. Why does Nietszche have a problem with them? I can understand his attack on Christianity as a slave morality. I would agree he has many valid points there. But you can't describe Aristotle's Ethics or Stoicism as a slave morality. In my view it takes a lot of courage, inner strength, resilience and fortitude to live according to the virtues. In fact I think it was Epictetus who said that many people wouldn't have the strength to be a true Stoic. Nietszches famous injunction Be yourself. The Stoics would completely agree with that
  • Possibility
    2.7k
    I was puzzled why such a brilliant genius like Nietszche who is so popular today would make such statements. I Know it's taken out of context but nevertheless if a philosopher today was to make such pronouncements I think he/she would be severly attacked for what seems discriminatory. And the argument that Nietszche is a product of his times doesn't hold water for me because other 19th century thinkers like John Stuart mill expressed more enlightened views about women.Ross Campbell

    But the point is that he’s NOT a philosopher today, so it’s unfair to attack his words out of context, as if he were.

    It was J S Mill’s focus on equality and freedom of thought that led him to speak up in support of women’s suffrage. Nietzsche’s focus, though, was on the process of disentangling social interactions from religious moral assumptions - he highlighted the cultural views about women as lacking empirical substance, but he was in no position to represent women here. As a woman, it’s practically impossible to accept his articulation of the cultural perspective on face value - which is kind of the point. We’re supposed to react, to speak up and demand to be heard and represented accurately. For Nietzsche to do it for us defeats the purpose. So I think both these men supported women’s suffrage in their own way.

    ”A closer examination of his book Beyond Good and Evil will reveal a different picture. There is a different exegesis of Nietzsche which exonerates him from the charge of misogyny. Properly construed, Nietzsche is revealed as a man who appreciated the natural instincts and potential power of women, and who, through his use of irony and his criticisms of both ‘woman as such’ and women, wished to educate women on approaching the emancipation issue more effectively without losing their inherent femininity. He in fact implored women to cease in the cannibalization of other women and ‘woman as such’ in order that they could better achieve their goal of emancipation or even better, from Nietzsche‘s perspective, to achieve a goal of self-overcoming, and in so doing become free spirits.”Joshs

    :up:
  • Ross
    142

    Fine. I take your point. I've been told by many that the quote is out of context.
    On another matter Id like to discuss and that is , Is Nietszches attack on the value systems of traditional philosophy correct, not only Christianity but on secular ethics of both ancient and modern philosophers. He attacks The whole Enlightenment tradition of the values of freedom, liberty and equality and democracy. He thinks they are part of the herd mentality, or offshoots of the slave morality of Christianity. I agree with him that the ideas of sin, salvation, hell and damnation are unhealthy and ridiculous Ideas, used for purposes of power over others.
    Heres a thought experiment, it's my own idea.
    What if Nietszche had been a peasant or an intellectual living under the autocratic monarchy of King Louis IV around the time of the French Revolution where nearly all intellectuals and philosophers of the time, like Voltaire, Kant, David Hume , Thomas Paine, and many writers etc supported the ideals of the Revolution- Liberty, Equality and Freedom, ideas which Nietszche attacks. Now would Nietszche, had he been living at that time not shared their ideas. Because these ideas were universally accepted by nearly everyone outside of the ruling classes.
    During Nietszches time it became very popular for thinkers to attack religion, and many traditional values, Marx, Freud, Schopenhauer, the list goes on , 19th was a much more radical age. My point is does this not suggest that Nietszches ideas are what Hegel describes as products of the zeitgeist.
    Would he not have been a champion of Freedom if he had been living under an autocrIc monarchy where people were imprisoned for expressing certain ideas
  • Possibility
    2.7k
    but why can't Nietszche express himself more clearly and if he has a positive view of women why didn't he just make that clear instead of leaving himself open to misunderstanding. As far as Im aware most other famous thinkers throughout history from Plato and Aristotle to Hume , Betrand Russell, Stuart Mill, Satre and Camus, and many more , all of them express themselves clearly, they are not readily open to misunderstanding, and thinkers like Camus use fictional techniques , like philosophical novels to express their ideas. Yet it's clear what all these thinkers ideas are. Why Nietszche has to be so ambiguous . Every time I read an article about Nietszche it says some scholars interpret Nietszche this way and then there's another camp who interprets him in a different way. Who are you supposed to believe.Ross Campbell

    I think Nietzsche’s philosophical approach identifies an internal, qualitative process at the heart of our interaction with the world, which language seems ill equipped to define. It’s all well and good to insist on clarity, but to do so with language requires a reductionist methodology that either explains affect or excludes it. For Russell, at least, this was a sacrifice he was willing to make for the sake of certainty. Nietzsche’s approach was to try and retain qualitative variability in the process, at the cost of clarity/certainty. In this, his approach is more aligned with quantum theory than analytical philosophy or existentialism, metaphorically speaking. This may be why there are still so many different interpretations of Nietzsche. It’s not so much about the right interpretation, but the most reliable and precise process for predictability in interactions.

    Is philosophy - wisdom - more about its applicability or its description?
  • Possibility
    2.7k
    Is Nietszches attack on the value systems of traditional philosophy correct, not only Christianity but on secular ethics of both ancient and modern philosophers. He attacks The whole Enlightenment tradition of the values of freedom, liberty and equality and democracy. He thinks they are part of the herd mentality, or offshoots of the slave morality of Christianity.Ross Campbell

    I’d say it’s the construction he’s attacking - the way we value ‘freedom’ and ‘equality’, for instance, without really understanding what it means to be free or equal human beings, except in some narrow-minded, culturally assumed sense. When it was written into the US Constitution that ‘all men are created equal’, they didn’t really mean all men, let alone humanity. It was a value whose upper and lower limits were culturally imposed, constructed from ignorance, isolation and exclusion in how we don’t or won’t relate to each other. In this sense, supposedly ‘enlightened’ culture was no better. People were still herded or enslaved by assumed limitations on their potential - based on moral judgement without empirical understanding.

    I think the constructed values Nietzsche suggests are largely misunderstood because there’s a tendency to try and define what his ambiguous terms of ‘power/life’, ‘affirmation’, ‘truthfulness/honesty’, ‘art and artistry’, ‘freedom of spirt’ and ‘pluralism’ mean in language - which defeats the purpose. All that does is impose upper and lower limits to our interactions based on cultural assumptions, and then we’re back to square one. I think it’s more about awareness of our potential to interact, not how we describe it.
  • Ross
    142

    You were saying that language imposes limitations on what one can express and Nietszche was aware of this. Didn't Wittgenstein also point out the limitations of language . But how else can we communicate ideas apart from through language. It may not be a perfect system but it's all human beings have. Of course alot of communication is non verbal. Perhaps Plato was right in saying that philosophy should be conducted through real life dialogue between people because then it's taken away from the abstractions and limitations of the written word and all the non verbal aspects are included. Most philosophy nowadays seems to be done through the written word . However there is also a lot of Philosophical debate too.
  • hope
    216
    Nietzsche's attack on the virtues of kindness and compassion seems to me an unfortunate flaw in his thinking.Ross Campbell

    Cooperation and competition both each have benefits and costs.
145678Next
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.