• Tom Storm
    10
    Perhaps he did make a mess of it - or we made a mess of Nietzsche. I'm not sure, but there is a mess, right?
  • Protagoras
    4
    @Tom Storm
    But there are foundational truths as well.

    They are axiomatic.
  • Tom Storm
    10
    Check out Rorty. If you are referring to things like the logical axioms, etc, sure.
  • Gregory
    4
    Does heidegger say go with your gut?Protagoras

    His word is intuition.
  • Gregory
    4
    Now you are introducing another idea, the idea of karma, which is borrowed from Hinduism. Then admit to all the principles of Hinduisim.skyblack

    Because everyone believes in karma, while the biggest Christian denomination in the world (Catholics) say through the mouth of the their Pope that "justice is a servant of mercy" and "mercy is greater than justice". Right their. Check out the encyclical. Belief in God is blanket worship
  • Bylaw
    4
    I think N was against pity, with its inherent condescension and dishonest secondary gain - feeling better than the other person, feeling proud of expressing a kind of twisted compassion, etc. Pity is not compassion. Pity is not simple kindness.

    He was also against the prioritizing of pity and perhaps compassion so it is used when it should not be. When one is abused by someone, there is no reason the focus on feeling pity or even compassion for the other, at least not until one is out from under the thumb of that person.

    He disliked, may wild paraphrase, placing guilt and shame on pedestals as if there is something morally good about these and confusing these with, say, love or respect.
  • Antony Nickles
    2
    Nietzsche's attack on the virtues of kindness and compassion seems to me an unfortunate flaw in his thinking. ...Nietzsche's psychology is flawed in many aspects ...his contempt for the virtues of pity and compassion regarding them as weaknesses which inhibit the "strong" individual.Ross Campbell

    There is another discussion of Nietszche's book The Antichrist that touches on this. In that discussion with @frank I try to make the case that Nietszche's work is philosophy, and is not meant as social commentary. His characterization of Christianity is drawn as an example of morality pre-determined with certainty and rules, such as Kant's imperatives and Plato's forms.

    Pity and compassion are used analogously. For him they are attitudes we take to ourselves and our perspective on morality. Morality decided in advance and fixed is to remove ourselves (the human) from the equation. Our pity is our sense of lack for what we wish we were (our ideal or ought); our desire for a universal, rational, "normative" moralism is our weakness. Emerson frames it as a quarter he wishes he had the strength to withhold giving to the poor, for they are not his (oh my!) What he is critiquing is Kant's sense of duty, which says: if you just do this, you will be a good person. For Emerson duty is to stand for what I say and do ("I am!"); to be read by it, answerable for it. Our strength is not to take the easy answer that abstract morality provides, contemptuous of our moral self.

    So why does Nietszche (and Emerson) court misunderstanding? I'm not sure. Why does Wittgenstein talk out of two sides of his mouth? Why does Heidegger never get around to saying anything? Maybe there are some things that cannot be told, but that we must find for ourselves. You need "new eyes", "new ears"--maybe he wanted to start a fight to set himself as an outrageous example. You're shocked, provoked, antagonized? Is what you think right desecrated? Your sensibilities, your righteousness? Perhaps now you are ready.

    (In anticipation of knee-jerk reactions, I'll also say that some take Nietszche to advocate that we are selfish--"pitiless", "dominating", "powerful"--beyond morals (not just beyond good and evil); that he thinks our instinct will make us superior in a zero-sum game (not that my duty could be the same as yours, or better). They take him to propose a new type of human, apart from (above) culture--a morally-naturalistic nightmare. I believe the interpretation comes from a desire not to be subject to society ("free") and the need to feel special, important--an excuse to hold individual (internal) experience paramount.)
  • Ross Campbell
    1
    Thanks for your reply to my blog but I'm afraid I couldn't understand everything you were saying. I think there is a grain of truth in Nietzsche's attack on Christianity as being a slave morality. Personally I think virtue ethics based on Aristotles ethics is a far better system. However I do think that Nietzsche is mistaken in attacking the virtues of compassion and virtue. Modern psychology would disagree with Nietzsche on this point. It is well documented that when people show compassion and kindness (and pity is an emotion associated with these) they feel happier in themselves and indeed they spread happiness around them whereas the contrary is the case that when people behave selfisly , without compassion they feel unhappy and damage their relationships with others.
    The fundamental problem with Nietzsche , as with some other existentialists is that they are too individualistic in their thinking. Aristotle said, "Man is a social animal". It does not make sense to talk about morals and values, in relation to the individual as an separate entity but only in the context of him/her as a SOCIAL being, a part of a community. That's why Aristotle's ethics and his politics are one big interlinked system, not separated from one another. Compassion and kindness are fundamental ways in which humans interact positively with one another. Values and morals are not private issues , as Nietzsche would have it, merely of concern to the individual and chosen or discarded at the whim of an individual, they are social concerns , part of the fabric of society. Compassion is rather like a glue that bonds a community together and creates a more humane and happier society without which it would be a very cold place.
  • Joshs
    21
    The fundamental problem with Nietzsche , as with some other existentialists is that they are too individualistic in their thinking.Ross Campbell

    Values and morals are not private issues , as Nietzsche would have it, merely of concern to the individual and chosen or discarded at the whim of an individual, they are social concerns , part of the fabric of society.Ross Campbell

    Ya know , you don’t have to stick with only one group of scholars’ interpretation of Nietzsche. I can introduce you to an entirely different Nietzsche than the ‘existentialist’ one.

    Are you aware, for instance , that Nietzsche forms the very heart of a huge variety and volume of postmodern, poststructuralist writings which spread from French and German continental writers like Heidegger, Foucault , Deleuze and Lyotard to English speaking countries, and have had a dominating influence on academic discussion of politics, arts and philosophy? Were you further aware that the fundamental basis of their approaches is that the individual subject is a social creation, and they find direct support for this in Nietzsche’s work? In other words, they don’t interpret Nietzsche as an existentialist at all.
  • Antony Nickles
    2
    I'm afraid I couldn't understand everything you were saying.Ross Campbell

    Well, if you are interested, I stand ready to clarify, draw something out further, or answer any questions.

    I think there is a grain of truth in Nietzsche's attack on Christianity as being a slave morality.Ross Campbell

    Or we can simply continue to see these as his opinions (see Witt. P.I. p. 152). I am arguing this is not a discussion of pity and compassion (better to read Arendt, Foucalt, etc.). In this vein, Nietszche is challenging our habit to think we see and can judge immediately. He is asking for a different reader as much as a different moral culture. I found that if I felt I "got him", especially at first glance, I would be wrong, missing something; maybe this is not an argument, but a call for something, a claim on us? Maybe these are not statements (true/false) about our society, but challenges for a change of our entire picture of morality.

    And the idea of our being slaves is, again, an analogy, say, slaves to our desire to give our self (our responsibility) away to our morals. Emerson calls for us to "master" ourselves or someone else will; i.e., our unexamined culture makes us a slave. We are quietly desperate, in chains, etc.--this is not new.

    The fundamental problem with Nietzsche , as with some other existentialists is that they are too individualistic in their thinking.Ross Campbell

    As I said at the bottom of my original post, this is the other side of misunderstanding Nietszche. If I do not give myself away to morals, that does not mean I abandon them--we take them on, examine the context (or lack of it), history, use (misuse)--perhaps each case on its own terms (we become adverse to them, as Emerson phrases it). He is not anti-morality, but simply asking us to inhabit our moral life. All his talk of self does not mean we then become the sole arbitrator of what is right; that we have some right to a private moralism (equal to the moralism we inflict on each other with our public morals). The call for my will to guide me (my whim Emerson says) may be to help others, be a good citizen, go along with everyone else; my duty need not be our downfall, nor different than yours or anyone's. The aspiration to the self is not an abdication of moral responsibility (but a call for it); ironically, irresponsibility comes from the reliance only on unexamined morals.

    Aristotle said, "Man is a social animal".Ross Campbell

    Nietszche is different from Aristotle, and most traditional philosophers, in that he is not advocating for a particular type of human. He is not explaining or telling us what human nature is. Another way to think of this is that he is not talking about what we ought to be or do (setting our future goal or ideal). His is an open-ended call to aspire to your next self, a revitalized culture. Can we trust each other? or are we bound to pre-judge us all? Can we have our humanity without it appearing we desire an anarchy of no culture, no rules, no language?
  • Ross Campbell
    1

    What do you mean by "the individual is a social creation"? In most philosophy books I've read about existentialists, Nietzsche is listed amongst them. Post modernism came lond after Nietzsche's death. I've never heard Nietzsche described as a postmodernist. In fact the latter is probably a reaction against thinkers like Nietzsche and other existentialists who regard their ideas as the unique product of the thinker. I think this doesn't disprove my point that values and morals are not matters merely of individual concern but are also social issues. When Nietzsche attacks a time honoured virtue like compassion he is expressing his own personal prejudice against a value he personally doesn't like, but that's irresponsible and flawed philosophy because philosophy as it has been done by many famous thinkers , based on empirical observation, data, evidence, research, and treating the individual in the context of society, not as some purely Nietzschean fantasy of some superman who can rise above the rest of humanity.
  • Joshs
    21
    philosophy books I've read about existentialists, Nietzsche is listed amongst them. Post modernism came lond after Nietzsche's death. I've never heard Nietzsche described as a postmodernist. In fact the latter is probably a reaction against thinkers like Nietzsche and other existentialists who regard their ideas as the unique product of the thinker.Ross Campbell

    Most books that you read about existentialism probably list Nietzsche as an existentialist because , for one thing, his era overlapped Kierkegaard and dostoyevsky, who were among the first to be called existentialists. Another reason is that , at least in English speaking countries , the first interpretations of his work were by writers who were existentialists themselves. Postmodernism may have come long after his death , but many philosophers have had their work ignored or misread for years until a major reinterpretation puts their ideas i to a whole new light. That has happened with the American pragmatists and phenomenology as well. Heidegger wrote extensively ion Nietzsche ( Heidegger is another one whose work has been miscategorized as existentialist), as did Deleuze.

    What do you mean by "the individual is a social creation"?Ross Campbell

    Many post structuralists argue there is no
    such thing as the autonomous subject. What we think of as the individual is a construction emerging
    social relations. I assure you the originators of postmodernism ( Jean Francois Lyotard coined the term )
    we’re enormous fans of Nietzsche.

    “Lyotard follows Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) in arguing that there is no objective science or forms of knowledge that are not based in a desire or what Nietzsche called a will for power, a point that Lyotard will make by looking at the desire or libido behind the so-called scientific works of the later Marx.”

    “Nietzsche is also a precursor for postmodernism in his genealogical analyses of fundamental concepts, especially what he takes to be the core concept of Western metaphysics, the “I”. On Nietzsche's account, the concept of the “I” arises out of a moral imperative to be responsible for our actions. In order to be responsible we must assume that we are the cause of our actions, and this cause must hold over time, retaining its identity, so that rewards and punishments are accepted as consequences for actions deemed beneficial or detrimental to others (Nietzsche 1889, 482-83; 1887, 24-26, 58-60). In this way, the concept of the “I” comes about as a social construction and moral illusion. According to Nietzsche, the moral sense of the “I” as an identical cause is projected onto events in the world, where the identity of things, causes, effects, etc., takes shape in easily communicable representations. Thus logic is born from the demand to adhere to common social norms which shape the human herd into a society of knowing and acting subjects.

    For postmodernists, Nietzsche's genealogy of concepts in “On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense” (Nietzsche 1873, 77–97) is also an important reference. In this text, Nietzsche puts forward the hypothesis that scientific concepts are chains of metaphors hardened into accepted truths. “
  • Valentinus
    3

    Good observations. They connect to Nietzsche as the philologist, a student of how we came to talk in various ways.
  • Corvus
    7
    Understandable logical consistency on Nietzsche, when he had praised for the Superman?
  • Ross Campbell
    1

    I still think it makes perfect sense to talk about the individual. The term is used widely in public debate, as well as academia. And it makes perfect sense to criticize a thinker or an opinion as being too individualistic. I think this discussion has digressed from my key point and that is that In my opinion Nietzsche is mistaken in his contempt for the time honoured values of compassion and kindness. He doesn't just analyze them and the role they play he has contempt for them which seems a misguided and prejudicial view. It seems absurd that a thinker such as Nietzsche can eschew thousands of years of philosophical wisdom , not just particular philosophers but the whole tradition of philosophy since the ancient Greeks. He attacks it for being otherworldly and life denying. I don't see how Aristotle's ethics which are grounded in empirical evidence and common sense is other wordly. Aristotle also does not , unlike Christianity or Kant , base his ethics on a set of rules, but it's about cultivating a good character.
  • frank
    10


    It actually makes sense once you understand what he's saying.
  • Trey
    0


    Humans did develop higher order empathy because it helped unite a “tribe”! This works great on a small tribal basis. The problem is the tribe is now BILLIONS in number - the number is beyond what the tribe model can cover.
    Also: the empathy thing has been blown completely out of balance by Abrahamic religion! In Non-Abrahamic religions, you realize there must be a BALANCE between nurturing (feminine) and the competitive force (masculine). We have to all CONTRIBUTE to our tribe (tax, health care damnit!). But we have to limit how long one can stay on the tit! A SMALL Safety Net, but for general purposes every must produce
  • Gregory
    4
    Humans did develop higher order empathy because it helped unite a “tribe”! This works great on a small tribal basis. The problem is the tribe is now BILLIONS in number - the number is beyond what the tribe model can cover.
    Also: the empathy thing has been blown completely out of balance by Abrahamic religion! In Non-Abrahamic religions, you realize there must be a BALANCE between nurturing (feminine) and the competitive force (masculine). We have to all CONTRIBUTE to our tribe (tax, health care damnit!). But we have to limit how long one can stay on the tit! A SMALL Safety Net, but for general purposes every must produce
    Trey

    Getting along with people and contributing is of course necessary. But too many attach themselves to things and other people in a false idea of love. The universe might show mercy to people (who is it hurting?) but an all good God doesn't. Christians proclaim a father figure who wipes people with the blood of his son. Nietzsche knew that Christianity promoted sin and went after it nobly.
  • Trey
    0
    Yes, I totally agree that Abrahamic Religion is not good for humanity (especially the future of humanity)! This man made law blatantly clashes with natural law. I think posthumanism will still be theistic.
  • Gregory
    4
    I think posthumanism will still be theistic.Trey

    I don't see how God figures into it but maybe there is a conception of God that will arise in the future which will work. I don't know. Christianity has soured that stream for the present. Evolution happens and I'm not closed off to possibilities. I don't think anything is known for sure but I am not a skeptic because I think there is much probability to many ideas. Every idea is only probable nonetheless
  • Gregory
    4
    It seems absurd that a thinker such as Nietzsche can eschew thousands of years of philosophical wisdom , not just particular philosophers but the whole tradition of philosophy since the ancient Greeks. He attacks it for being otherworldly and life denying. I don't see how Aristotle's ethics which are grounded in empirical evidence and common sense is other wordly. Aristotle also does not , unlike Christianity or Kant , base his ethics on a set of rules, but it's about cultivating a good character.Ross Campbell

    Nietzsche was primarily concerned with the affect of Christianity throughout the world. If kindness is natural there is no reason even to talk about it much. There is nothing wrong with Aristotle, but remember that it was Plato who N attacked the most. The idea that we really do not live in the true world was a problem for him. Aristotle's idea of man was good imo. "Thus to say that I entered into the world, come to the world, or that there is a world, or that I have a body, is on and the same thing" said Sartre
  • Joshs
    21

    I still think it makes perfect sense to talk about the individual. The term is used widely in public debate, as well as academia.Ross Campbell

    Of course one can talk about the individual. The question is what is the relation between the individual and culture. There many different philosophical positions on this issue, ranging from Enlightenment rationality to Kantian idealism to Marx and Hegel to postmodernism. It sounds to me like your position is a traditional one. You talk about individual character , and emphasize empiricism in the old fashioned way without seeming to have any acquaintance with the wide range of discourses in both analytic and continental philosophical traditions which deconstruct and problematize the assumptions underlying empiricism and individualistic approaches to personality and ‘character’. You had no idea that Nietzsche is embraced by postmodernists, even though a two second search via the keywords ‘Nietzsche Postmodernism’ would have given you numerous sources verifying this.

    It seems absurd that a thinker such as Nietzsche can eschew thousands of years of philosophical wisdom , not just particular philosophers but the whole tradition of philosophy since the ancient Greeks.Ross Campbell

    Haven’t you heard the news? Multiple generations of philosophers at least since Schopenhauer have eschewed thousands of years of philosophical wisdom on the subject of moral values like kindness and compassion. I would also suggest that each era of philosophy since the Greeks has consisted of eschewing fundamental tenets of previous approaches. You act as if philosophical innovation froze after Kant.
    Many, including Freud , have remarked at the similarities between Nietzsche’s psychological model and that of Freud. Do you think Freud ‘eschewed thousands of years of philosophical wisdom’? And what about Darwinian based models of altruism?

    I think this discussion has digressed from my key point and that is that In my opinion Nietzsche is mistaken in his contempt for the time honoured values of compassion and kindness.Ross Campbell

    I think in order to understand what Nietzsche means by compassion and kindness , and why he is critiquing the traditional metaphysics underlying these values, it is absolutely necessary to see his criticism in the context of his larger philosophy. , which is centered around the Will to Power. You can’t just extract a few concepts , assume
    that your definition of them is Nietzsche’s, and then assume that he is dissing them.
    I don't see how Aristotle's ethics which are grounded in empirical evidence and common sense is other wordly.Ross Campbell

    Nietzsche may have been the first to recognize that empirical evidence and facts in general only make sense in relation to the larger value systems that define them. Analytic philosophers like Quine , Sellers, Putnam and Davidson refer to this as the untenability of the fact-value distinction. We cannot separate facts from values , and this is what philosophers of science like Kuhn were getting at in showing that scientific theories ( paradigms ) dont mirror or represent the world( the traditional notion of empiricism) , they interact with it. It is necessary to understand these and many other facets of Nietzsche’s approach and see how they all connect up with each other in order to see what he is up to in his treatment of values of compassion and kindness.

    I’m not assuming that you will come to embrace Nietzsche’s point of view on ethics, but until
    you can produce a coherent summary of his overall project that bears some resemblance to scholarly interpretations then I don’t think you should assume that you are grasping his terms.
  • Ross Campbell
    1

    I Know quite a lot about Nietzsche. I have studied his philosophy at Degree level and I know for sure that he despised Christianity and all it's values and he also despised nearly all secular ethical systems prior to and during his time. He also attacked science as being motivated by a similar life denying or some other negative impulse. How radical can you get in your thinking. You mentioned Freud. Freud did not attack science. He wanted to make his psychoanalysis scientific. Postmodernism does not in my opinion undermine the basis of empirical science. If we were to follow Nietzsche's value system society would have to abandon compassion and kindness and pity because they're a slave mentality and we wouldn't be able to trust the whole scientific enterprise because he attacks that as well. If it wasn't for science we would be still living in caves. He's also ant- democratic so we would have to abandon democracy as well which is what happened in Nazi Germany for whom Nietzsche was their philosopher. Nietzsche's daughter passed his writings onto the Nazis and Mussolini gave Hitler a copy of Nietzsche's writings.
    Now I know Nietzsche wasn't an anti semite or a racist and I agree with his critique of the herd mentality in Christianity and other systems. However human beings by instinct are hard wired to follow a group, for evolutionary reasons it was necessary for survival for humankind to fit in and conform with his tribe throughout the history of homo sapiens. I think Nietzsche's understanding of human psychology is rather amateurish as was most 19th century psychology which was not a rigorous science like it is today.
    I'm aware that empirical science has been shown to less reliable than it was previously thought. That's why most scientists would say that their theories are not watertight but are based on the evidence available and are open to being revised.
  • Ross Campbell
    1
    There's a Mistake in my above piece . It as Nietzsche's sister who passed his writings to the Nazis.
  • Gregory
    4


    N was against science as an idol which could "save" us. Post modernism actually frequently talks about science and how culture colors its conclusions. There is some truth to both criticisms
  • Gregory
    4
    Nietzsche has gotten a revival from people listening to Jordon Peterson. Academy of Ideas has lots of videos on N on YouTube which are good
  • Tom Storm
    10
    Nietzsche has gotten a revival from people listening to Jordon Peterson.Gregory

    Very True. Mainly because Nietzsche is the only kind of atheist that Peterson wants to popularize. Perversely Nietzsche's framing of atheism is quite useful to Christian apologists.
  • Ross Campbell
    1

    I think Nietzsche is overrated. There's more videos on him than any other thinker on many channels. Perhaps he's an attractive thinker because he's so provocative and radical but that does not make him wise. I think there's far more wisdom in Buddhism and Eastern philosophy and Stoicism and Epicureanism than there is in Nietzsche who seems to have drove himself insane in his Philosophical project.
  • Gregory
    4


    Like his dad he had a brain disease. He said truth is not like God but like a woman (and then lists some complaints). His main point is that truth is beautiful on the surface but is really a strange fickle thing
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