Skip to main content

A Few Words About Nietzsche I

Image result for Nietzsche first name

Friedrich Nietzsche often uses the word "morality" in a pejorative sense, but sometimes uses it for a system of values that he is promoting himself, a re-valued system of values. This causes some confusion.

Accordingly, the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy uses the initials MPS, for "morality in a pejorative sense" in an article on Nietzschean themes in moral and political philosophy.

What Nietzsche despised about MPS boils down to three presumptions: that human beings are free and so morally responsible for our actions; that the human self is transparent, so some of us can make coherent judgment about why others have acted as they have; and that human selves are sufficiently similar for it to be possible to announce a single moral code for all.

Nietzsche targets the first of these, for example, when he writes in Beyond Good and Evil that "the concept of a causa sui is something fundamentally absurd," and that MPS requires that absurdity; the ability "to pull oneself up into existence by the hair, out of the swamps of nothingness."

As to transparency, FN writes in Daybreak, "We have expended so much labor on learning that external things are not as they appear to us to be -- very well! the case is the same with the inner world!"

Finally, as to human commonality: quoting BGE again, when one hears a moral imperative from any one, "the question is always who he is, and who the other person is."

In particular, of course, for Nietzsche the distinction must be made between ordinary folk and the "highest type," the ubermensch.

I've just been paraphrasing the SEP article mentioned above. I hope to have some more personal commentary about this material for you tomorrow.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Cancer Breakthrough

Hopeful news in recent days about an old and dear desideratum: a cure for cancer. Or at least for a cancer, and a nasty one at that.

The news comes about because investors in GlaxoSmithKline are greedy for profits, and has already inspired a bit of deregulation to boot. 

The FDA has paved the road for a speedy review of a new BCMA drug for multiple myeloma, essentially cancer of the bone marrow. This means that the US govt has removed some of the hurdles that would otherwise (by decision of the same govt) face a company trying to proceed with these trials expeditiously. 

This has been done because the Phase I clinical trial results have been very promising. The report I've seen indicates that details of these results will be shared with the world on Dec. 11 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. 

The European Medicines Agency has also given priority treatment to the drug in question. 

GSK's website identifies the drug at issue as "GSK2857916," althou…

A Story About Coleridge

This is a quote from a memoir by Dorothy Wordsworth, reflecting on a trip she took with two famous poets, her brother, William Wordsworth, and their similarly gifted companion, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.



We sat upon a bench, placed for the sake of one of these views, whence we looked down upon the waterfall, and over the open country ... A lady and gentleman, more expeditious tourists than ourselves, came to the spot; they left us at the seat, and we found them again at another station above the Falls. Coleridge, who is always good-natured enough to enter into conversation with anybody whom he meets in his way, began to talk with the gentleman, who observed that it was a majestic waterfall. Coleridge was delighted with the accuracy of the epithet, particularly as he had been settling in his own mind the precise meaning of the words grand, majestic, sublime, etc., and had discussed the subject with William at some length the day before. “Yes, sir,” says Coleridge, “it is a majestic wate…

Hume's Cutlery

David Hume is renowned for two pieces of cutlery, the guillotine and the fork.

Hume's guillotine is the sharp cut he makes between "is" statements and "ought" statements, to make the point that the former never ground the latter.

His "fork" is the division between what later came to be called "analytic" and "synthetic" statements, with the ominous observation that any books containing statements that cannot be assigned to one or the other prong should be burnt.

Actually, I should acknowledge that there is some dispute as to how well or poorly the dichotomy Hume outlines really maps onto the analytic/synthetic dichotomy. Some writers maintain that Hume meant something quite different and has been hijacked. Personally, I've never seen the alleged difference however hard they've worked to point it out to me.

The guillotine makes for a more dramatic graphic than a mere fork, hence the bit of clip art above.

I'm curious whe…