Talk:Friedrich Nietzsche/Archive 9

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Friedrich Nietzsche/Archive 9 removed from Wikipedia:Good articles

Friedrich Nietzsche/Archive 9 (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) was formerly listed as a good article, but was removed from the listing because this article fails the first four points of a good article (it is not NPOV, completely factually accurate or well-written. It is especially not stable (as it is a highly controversial topic.)

Since when was Nietzsche a metaphysician?

You guys should read his books before writing about him on wikipedia. He spends what time he isn't attacking morality and Christianity attacking metaphysics, giving psychologies of the metaphysical decadents, and pointing out all their major flaws. As for his eternal recurrence it is simply a test of one's affirmation of life. Whereas metaphysicians are seem as trying to negate or deny life by creating a beyond, Nietzsche is fully absorbed in his "Gay Science" in reality. The Will to Power is not metaphysical either, it is simply an observation that all life on planet earth is struggle for power -- as one grows another necessarily falls; all life is in competition and thus it is a struggle for power. I would go on but I shouldn't need to. Just open any of his books to see his position on metaphysics. His later books have more to say on the topic than his early ones. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.151.119.241 (talk) 07:04, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Eternal recurrence as a "test" is a fairly common interpretation... but Nietzsche also wrote (and decided not to publish) a brief (psuedo)scientific argument for eternal recurrence as a factual phenomenon. Unfortunately, these issues are never as cut and dry as we might like (which Nietzsche would no doubt agree with); in the 19th and 20th centuries there have been all sorts of philosophers who've claimed to be anti-metaphysical, but there's always an argument about whether their denial of metaphysics itself constitutes a sort of metaphysical stand... and it's not so easy to just dismiss these arguments.
In any case, I'd certainly agree it's weird to call Nietzsche a metaphysician, if it says that anywhere in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.68.115.175 (talk) 14:43, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

"A reversion of Platonism"

I removed a bit from the article's introduction, where it was claimed that one of N's notable ideas was a reversion of Platonism. Whilst it is true that N. tries to refute the notion of granted knowledge, and therefore denies Platonic idealism and metaphysics, he does not specifically propose the reversion of Platonism at any point, and so the claim makes no sense on its own. It was taken out of the article because I fear it might have been a product of confusion of some reader of Deleuze's work.

D., in his work, proposes a literal reversion of Platonism, wherein the difference would be taken as the fundamental ontological unit, and the identity would be a product thereof. D. grounds his argumentation on a biased reading of N., one based on cherry picked excerpts from The Will to Power --- not only were those excerpts fabricated and taken out of N's intended context for them, they are also contradictory to much of N's work. For more information, see D'Iorio, Paolo: "Nietzsche et l’éternel retour. Genèse et interprétation", Nietzsche. Cahiers de l’Herne, Paris, l’Herne, 2000. 200.232.138.102 (talk) 22:30, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

I've reverted the change. The phrasing certainly didn't conjure up images of Deleuze for me. Nietzsche did express opposition to Platonism, which is what I took the sentence to be expressing. Removing his battle with Plato from the introduction seems a bit extreme. RJC Talk Contribs 23:26, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm broadly sympathetic with RJC's reasoning here: Nietzsche did position himself squarely against Plato's "original error" and Plato's influence on Christianity "Platonism for the masses". This is not a technical philosophical article (that's here), but a biography rated as of High importance for Wikipedia, and thus "written in mostly generic terms, leaving technical terms and descriptions for more specialized pages." Regards, Skomorokh 23:45, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
I can see your reasoning, and I won't remove it again. I'm still not happy about that passage, though. RJC, Skomorokh, I understand the we have to be generic in a biographical article, but there still is a far cry between being generic and distorting something. That passage, in my opinion, does the later. Like RJC said, Nietzsche expressed opposition to Platonism, and that's a negative action --- at best, if you accept his argumentation, he refuted the Platonic ideals. Reversing is something entirely different: it is proposing another theory, one which could be described as "Platonism backwards", Platonism "reversed". He didn't do that, at any point, all his work is indifferent or at best opposite to Plato, not influenced by it, let alone determined by it.
For the sake of clarity, having in mind the people who have never read N. and are browsing their first biography, I think that bit is better off removed --- but if you make a point at stating right up in the very first paragraphs that N. opposed to Plato, at least don't do it in a way that is likely to generate misconceptions and whatnot. "N. proposed a reversion of Platonism" is the kind of thing that would make me ask a student: really? in what sense? And question their research. I say that bit is overall irrelevant at best, but if you must keep it, consider adding a "citation needed" mark to it. --200.232.138.102 (talk) 01:42, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
While I agree that we should not remove N's thoughts on Platonism from the lead, "reversal" does seem to be the wrong word. Indeed, it is remniscent of the way in which N is sometimes taken as an immoralist in the classical sense of inverting morality (making the good bad and the bad good). Why not say his "rejection of Platonism"? Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 03:28, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Sounds like a good fix. RJC Talk Contribs 10:20, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I've made the change, though obviously anyone who objects is free to continue the discussion. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 15:27, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Fine by me. Thanks for your thoughtful ideas on the matter, anonymous. Skomorokh 23:51, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Problem with page layout?

Has anyone else noticed a huge blank space gap after the heading "Youth" and the text beginning "born on..."? If so, maybe we should make a change with the image file that is suppose to be positioned in this gap but appears on my browser to be off in the right hand margin. I have not had a problem like this before so it is hard to imagine I am the only one experiencing this. PhilipDSullivan 00:07, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Ok, so I figured out that the problem occured when I had my preference set to view wikipedia with the cologne blue skin. Now that they are at the classic skin, there is no gap. This may be more of an issue for whoever designed that preference option than it is for this article. I am still curious as to why there is only a problem in this one place. PhilipDSullivan 02:34, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Nietzsche's influence and reception

I don't think the section that explains the Nazis use of Nietzsche as selective does sufficient justice to the sheer irony of this association. Using verbs such as manipulate/distort would make more sense in this context. This is particularly important due to the very common misconception that Nietzsche's philosophy is implicitly favorable to Nazism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.201.157.38 (talk) 21:30, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

I also have problems with this article; in particular, the main article of Nietzsche's influence and reception and not neccesarily the blurb in this Parent article - however, there is not much discussion on the Nietzsche's Influence and Reception page. There are weak citations made, and the goal of describing Nietzche's influence does not seem to be gone about methodically - select points in time are mentioned at great length while others are forgotten. In general, the main article lacks a strong structure. PhilipDSullivan 22:41, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

What is Nietsche?

All I have seen in this article is Nietsche's bio and influence but I am yet to find the right answers to my questions. I am aware of the ubermensch, "god is dead," etc. But there are some things I'm still unclear about.


1. What was Nietsche's general beliefs.

2. How did Nietsche influence nazism.

3. Why is Nietsche considered a nihilist when it seems obvious that he is opposed to nihilism.

These might seem like dumb questions and I'll understand if I get some insulting responses, but I'll ask these questions anyway just for the hell of it. (UTC) Anonymity 12:55, MAR., 21, '07


For question 1 i recommend reading nietzsch's "ECCE HOMME", its a short book, and it has most of his key beliefs in, it was his last book before being commited to an asylum, (or so i think). question 2, there is an article abve covering that, and, i have no idea why nietzsche would be considered a nihilist when every knows that he had strong views about organised religion and other things, (just an example) to be hounest, im only 12, i dont really know that much im just reading some of his books and finding them interesting so please dont be too pissed of if what i have given you is wrong,

Hi Anonymity. Nietzsche hated both German nationalism and anti-Semitism. But Hitler loved Nietzsche's aphorisms... —Cesar Tort 06:53, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
In answer to "1. What was Nietsche's general beliefs?", I would say the following. Nietzsche is best understood as a reaction to Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer said that the world is essentially painful endless strife and desire. He said that this pointless willing should be escaped through the distraction of art or a rejection of the world. Nietzsche agreed that the world is composed of painful willing that can never be satisfied. But, Nietzsche said that we should love and accept the world as it is, not try to escape from it.Lestrade 17:16, 1 August 2007 (UTC)Lestrade
The nihlilsm stuff is generally quite complex... Nietzsche himself perhaps sees himself as overcoming nihlism, but he never completed his major work Will To Power in which he was going to attempt a complete transformation of all values. However the question of nihilism is heavily influenced by Heidegger's reading of N., so there is partially a retroactive element as well.

Regarding the brothel story (Deussen)

This [1] is not wrong, but it is slightly misleading, partly due to third-hand-quotation. I will quote the entire original section concerning the event. Deussen, Erinnerungen an Friedrich Nietzsche, Leipzig 1901, p. 24:

Nietzsche war eines Tages, im Februar 1865, allein nach Köln gefahren, hatte sich dort von einem Dienstmann zu den Sehenswürdigkeiten geleiten lassen und forderte diesen zuletzt auf, ihn in ein Restaurant zu führen. Der aber bringt ihn in ein übel berüchtigtes Haus. "Ich sah mich," so erzählte mir Nietzsche am andern Tage, "plötzlich umgeben von einem halben Dutzend Erscheinungen in Flitter und Gaze, welche mich erwartungsvoll ansahen. Sprachlos stand ich eine Weile. Dann ging ich instinktmäßig auf ein Klavier als auf das einzige seelenhafte Wesen in der Gesellschaft los und schlug einige Akkorde an. Sie lösten meine Erstarrung, und ich gewann das Freie." Nach diesem und allem, was ich von Nietzsche weiß, möchte ich glauben, daß auf ihn die Worte Anwendung finden, welche Steinhart in einer lateinischen Biographie des Platon uns diktierte: mulierem nunquam attigit.

I have not tried a translation yet, perhaps someone else could? In any case, there is of course no cab driver driving Nietzsche around, but a Dienstmann (commissionaire) guiding him. Also, what would really need a source is the claim that "early commentators [...] based their diagnosis partly on this testimony", because the "testimony" is more of an anecdote with a conclusion quite contrary to the syphilis diagnosis. (AFAIK, the first public discussion of syphilis as a cause was Paul Julius Möbius' Über das Pathologische bei Nietzsche, 1902, but I do not know if he referred to Deussen. - The most prominent known reception of Deussen's story ist Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus.) Also, the statement that

  • two years later, he would be treated for syphilis by two doctors while a student

has its source, as can be seen, not at Deussen. In fact it was claimed for the first time by Wilhelm Lange-Eichbaum in 1947 (!) (Nietzsche. Krankheit und Wirkung). The most detailed analysis of Nietzsche's illness which I know, Pia Daniela Volz' Nietzsche im Labyrinth seiner Krankheit, discusses all this at length - but I think the article got it right with saying

  • While most commentators regard Nietzsche's breakdown as unrelated to his philosophy

and more or less leave it this way - although, for example, I am not sure if brain cancer can be inherited, as stated there. Frankly, I would like to have the paragraph as it was before the addition, but I'd also like to hear other general opinions about how Nietzsche's illness(es) and breakdown should be dealed with in a WP article.--Chef aka Pangloss 01:52, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Translation: One day in February, 1865, Nietzsche was traveling alone to Cologne. He had allowed himself to be led by a porter to sights that were worth seeing and eventually asked him the way to a restaurant. But, instead, he was brought to a house of ill repute. "I saw myself," Nietzsche told me later, "suddenly surrounded by a half dozen apparitions in spangle and gauze, who looked at me expectantly. I stood speechless for a while. Then I instinctively went to a piano, which was the only being with a soul in the gathering, and struck a chord. It loosened my stiffness, and I won my freedom." From this and other things that I know about Nietzsche, I believe that the words that Steinhart said in a Latin biography of Plato can be applied to him: He never touched a woman.Lestrade 19:01, 1 August 2007 (UTC)Lestrade

Thats a good translation.--Tresckow 10:46, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Nietzsche's philosophy

The section on N's philosophy in this wiki article is quite weak. It is disorderly and not viewpoint neutral. It ranges from breezy to prejudiced.

I offer an example of the non-neutrality and prejudice. The third sentence of the section reads:

Nietzsche famously claimed that "God is dead", and this death either results in radical perspectivism or compels one to confront the fact that truth had always been perspectival.

This passage is already convinced that there is a perspectival result, one way or another. What pomo filth! What mind numbing authoritarianism in interpretation, compounded by the mind numbing stupidity of the claim: how on earth is perspective related to the death of God? That just seems preposterous in addition to being unargued.

After a messy and hasty rendition of typical simple ideas about good and evil and master and slave, wiki's tawdry little philosophy section moves on to proclaim that:

The rise of morality and of moral disputes thus becomes a matter of psychology; [WASN'T it ALWAYS?] Nietzsche's perspectivism likewise reduces epistemology to psychology [Oh, does it??]. [Transition?]One of the most recurrent themes in Nietzsche's work, therefore, emerges as the "Will to Power". [What a stupid sentence] At a minimum, Nietzsche claims for the will to power that it describes human behavior more compellingly than Platonic eros, Schopenhauer's "will to live," or Paul Rée's utilitarian account of morality, among others; to go beyond this would involve interpretation. [maybe, but this last sentence redeams nothing here]

After that horrible gongor, this article moves on to the breezy claim that : Much of Nietzsche's philosophy has a critical flavour to it, and much criticism of his work has arisen from the fact that "he does not have a system". These two ideas just should not be contrasted like this. They are too different.

Next: However, Nietzsche himself expressed a general disdain for philosophy as the construction of systems — indeed, he says (for example) in the preface of Beyond Good and Evil that many systems built by dogmatist philosophers have relied more on popular prejudices (such as the idea of a soul) than anything else. Look at that TERRIBLE SENTENCE! Destroy it, my dear wiki people, destroy it!

Next: Concepts still associated with a more constructive project include the Übermensch (variously translated as superman, superhuman, or in the way most philosophers refer to it today, overman) and the eternal return (or eternal recurrence). Another TERRIBLE ONE!

Finally: Nietzsche posits the overman as a goal that humanity can achieve for itself, or that an individual can set for himself. This is a COMMON PREJUDICE'Bold text'!!! N said specifically that the ubermensch is not an ideal, not a goal for humanity!!!

And then: Nietzsche contrasts the Übermensch with the Last Man, who appears as an exaggerated version of the degraded "goal" that liberal democratic or bourgeois society sets for itself. Both the Übermensch and the eternal return feature heavily in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. (Scholars also disagree about the interpretation of the eternal return.)

Yeuch!!

Somebody start a new, organized discussion of this man's philosophy. Please! To properly edit this one is simply to strike almost every word of it, and start over from scratch.


Well, it has been a few months now and still, the philosophy section of this article is TERRIBLE!

Here it is in all its raging horror, with my comments inserted.

Of major philosophers, Nietzsche has generated possibly the least consensus. One can readily identify his key concepts [I deny it, since there are huge disputes about it], but the meaning of each, let alone the relative significance of each, remains hotly contested. Nietzsche famously put forward the idea that "God is dead", and this death either results in radical perspectivism or compels one to confront the fact that humans have always regarded truth perspectivally. [STUPID POSTMODERN LIE!!!]Nietzsche also distinguished between master and slave moralities, the former arising from a celebration of life, the latter the result of ressentiment at those capable of the former. This distinction becomes in summary the difference between "good and bad" on the one hand, and "good and evil" on the other; importantly, the "good" man of the master morality equates to the "evil" man of the slave morality.[Even if this sentence is true, it is useless for this article because it's parts are underdefined and so it explains nothing to novices]

The rise of morality and of moral disputes thus becomes a matter of psychology [the rise of? becomes a matter of psychology? do you mean explaining the rise of?]; Nietzsche's perspectivism likewise reduces epistemology to psychology [Unargued, virtually meaningless. If anything, Nietzsche treated things psychologically, but he attempted to cash out the epistemic terms in MORAL terms--read his autobio, please!]. One of the most recurrent themes in Nietzsche's work, therefore, emerges as the "Will to Power". [See this sentence? See how DUMB it is? Feel how smug and self-confident and DUMB it is? Kill it WIKI PEOPLE! KILL IT!] At a minimum, Nietzsche claims for the will to power that it describes human behavior more compellingly than Platonic eros, Schopenhauer's "will to live," or Paul Rée's utilitarian account of morality, among others; to go beyond this would involve interpretation. [To go beyond what? Your "this" is vague. And you are already interpreting, you ass! You POSTMODERNIST, Heideggerian ASS!!]

Much of Nietzsche's philosophy has a critical flavour to it, and much criticism of his work has arisen from the fact that "he does not have a system". [oh, lets be breezy now that we have been high handed and unclear for a whole paragraph already...]However, Nietzsche himself expressed a general disdain for philosophy as the construction of systems — indeed, he says (for example) in the preface of Beyond Good and Evil that many systems built by dogmatist philosophers have relied more on popular prejudices (such as the idea of a soul) than anything else [These two ideas are not as closely related as the author hopes...but in addition, that is NOT what the preface to BGE says!!]. Concepts still associated with a more constructive project include the Übermensch (variously translated as superman, superhuman, or in the way most philosophers refer to it today, overman) and the eternal return (or eternal recurrence). Nietzsche posits the overman as a goal that humanity can achieve for itself, or that an individual can set for himself. [Once again for all the little minds working here, the notion that N's philosophy can be summed up under the four concepts of eternal return, ubermensch, will to power and Amor Fati is a lie invented by the ASS known as Martin Heidegger, the Nazi Ass, I should say. thus it is, to quote N, a lie from the devil's behind! If that is N's philosophy, then N is not worth reading, unphilosophical and stupid. He is none of these things, therefore this Heideggerian prejudice is refuted by modus tollens, you DOLTS! You unphilosophical, antiphhilosophical Heideggerian DOLTS!]

Nietzsche contrasts the Übermensch with the Last Man, who appears as an exaggerated version of the degraded "goal" that liberal democratic or bourgeois society sets for itself. [No, it is the man of Christian Morality, DOLT!] Both the Übermensch and the eternal return feature heavily in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. (Scholars also disagree about the interpretation of the eternal return.)[This sentence is off the topic! Who cares which book? And why is this the last piece of info in the section on this man's philosophy?]

For those of you who don't know what philosophy is, let me just tell you that it is the study of the most general propositions available to human brains in the areas of metaphysics, epistemology and ethics/value theory.

If this section is not rewritten entirely by September, I shall rewrite it myself in October. Then you will have a lot to cry about, you postmodern idiots. A lot!

Not2plato 00:15, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

The section is a mere summary of the page Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, an undoubtedly more suitable candidate for your opinions. Skomorokh incite 01:49, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree, Skomoroch, that the other article sucks as badly as this little section. But you will, I trust, agree with me that this little section that sucks is terribly important because lots and lots of novices, including college students, and sophomoric ones at that, will look at this little section as a likely content to store away in their brains as their knowledge of Nietzsche. It must be improved or removed, but I will not be able to work on it for a while.

Not2plato 17:08, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

--- Sir, "For those of you who don't know what philosophy is, let me just tell you that it is the study of the most general propositions available to human brains in the areas of metaphysics, epistemology and ethics/value theory."

This may be your idea of philosophy but it wasn't Nietzsche's. Nietzsche was looking for a new type of philosophy, one advanced by his free spirits. Metaphysics and epistemology are errors to Nietzsche, misuses of language. Language comes inductively from planet earth and Nietzsche continuously points out that it is erroneous to apply it to some "beyond". —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.151.119.241 (talk) 07:10, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Recent Rewrite

As of October 22, the "Philosophy" section was still really awful. Since it sounds like it'd been that way for a while, I went ahead and rewrote it, while expanding it significantly. As it stands now, the "ubermensch" section is basically non-existent, and I'd suggest Nietzsche's views on tragedy (including discussion of Apollonian/Dionysian impulses) deserves its own subheading, since this is another of his most frequently cited themes.

Another problem

There is also a problem in this article about the master-morality vs slave-morality. According to my reading of Nietzsche, the main problem he has with the slave morality is that its not self-contained, not coming from the slave's will. Their morality requires their relationship with their master as it is based upon it. On the other hand the master's morality stems from their on will. Nietzsche doesnt glorify the actual moral statements of the masters but the methodology used to get to them, ie: their own will. Besides how could someone who writes a book called "Beyond good and evil" appreciate in a good light a morality where "value arises as a contrast between good and bad"(from the article). —Preceding unsigned comment added by 216.18.124.229 (talk) 16:33, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

You may be right about your reading of Nietzsche, but Wikipedia is not a place for original research. RJC Talk 05:51, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

THANK YOU for the rewrite, dear WIKI PEOPLE!!! Now if a student relies on this article for knowledge of N's philosophy, the result will not be simplistic chaos and prejudice.

I agree that apollo/dionysus and drama are commonly cited. A subsection on them would be useful.

AS for master and slave morality: the notion that N has a negative view of slave morality is not entirely fair. He understands it to be an extremely important part of history. Without slave morality, there would be no science and no higher culture. If there was nothing but master morality, history would be an eternal stupidity. His point in writing the book is in part to teach us how foreign and strange master morality is to us -- even though it is still a part of all of us. We identify too much with the good slave in us, and find the good master in us strange and unfamiliar. To do so, he has to demonstrate the good of the master perspective.

To understand Nietzsche's thinking on ethics and the problems of philosophy involved in ethics by constantly thinking of the master slave diad is a serious mistake. See the work of Brian Leiter, among others, on this.

Not2plato (talk) 03:48, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Conspicuous Absence

Academics must be pained to notice that Hegel's name does not appear in the list of Nietzsche's reading. They like to insist that the obscure Hegel was a strong influence on Nietzsche, even though his name appears very rarely in Nietzsche's writing.Lestrade 13:49, 19 May 2007 (UTC)Lestrade

Philosophers sometimes assert that they are almost incapable of reading the work of other philosophers. —Cesar Tort 06:47, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
Nietzsche had no trouble reading Plato, Spinoza, Kant, or Schopenhauer. He wrote very clearly about them, also.Lestrade 12:56, 1 June 2007 (UTC)Lestrade
So what's your point, Lestrade? Jlandahl 21:27, 1 June 2007 (UTC)


Nietzsche discussed Hegel and/or his influence (Hegelianism) in the first, second and third Meditations, in Daybreak, in Beyond Good and Evil, and in The Case of Wagner. None of his references to the king of idealism were positive. In all cases, he frets about the moral impact of Hegel, and about his corrosive influence on written German. N waged a lifelong war against obscurantism, and Hegel and Wagner were for him paradigmatic obscurantists.

Some historians seem to think N is part of the Hegelian school. He seems to be nothing of the sort from what I can tell. The absolute? Please! Hegel is a favorite of mystics and religious types, including mystics of history and politics, such as Marxists and anti-Marxists, including NeoCons.

Instead of the absolute, a self-conscious universal principle, Nietzsche grounded the world in will to power--a preconscious, spontaneous mental force. He can't be very Hegelian after that. Remember that Schopenhauer was disdainful of everything Hegelian, and N loved Schopenhauer like a father figure early in his career. Not2plato 00:25, 29 July 2007 (UTC)