Nietzsche's Therapy

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Nietzsche's Therapy examines Nietzsche's middle works in order to challenge those views that dismiss his conception of self-cultivation as a symptom of unadulterated narcissism. It aims to develop a far more balanced and refined conception of his idea of self-cultivation by re-examining the much neglected free-spirit trilogy of Human, All Too Human, Daybreak, and The Gay Science. Contra Nietzsche's critics, it argues that the kind of self-cultivation that draws on the model of Hellenistic and Roman Stoic philosophical therapeia. It suggests that he renovates this therapeutic tradition through his own critical, psychoanalytic insights into narcissism and its transformations. It reconstructs Nietzsche's ethics of self-cultivation in terms of his psychological analysis of the pathological symptoms of narcissism and its healthy or positive transformations. In charting Nietzsche's course from pathological narcissism to mature individualism, Nietzsche's Therapy unpacks the philosophical and psychological basis of his critique of Rousseau and Schopenhauer's ethics of pitié/Mitleid, his use and analysis of comedy and humor in his critical, deflationary treatment of the malady of omnipotence, and his exploration of the idea of friendship as a positive counterpoint to damaged forms of intersubjectivity.

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Editorial Reviews

Keith Ansell Pearson
I cannot praise this book highly enough. It offers a set of rich insights into the texts of Nietzsche's unduly neglected 'middle period' and returns us to the congenial Nietzsche who is a great psychologist of the pathologies of human vanity and wounded narcissism and a philosopher of modesty and probity. His book succeeds in taking us beyond the aestheticist clichés that have impaired our reception and appreciation of Nietzsche in recent years. Michael Ure is a highly able and subtle reader of Nietzsche who has fresh things to say on Nietzsche's relation to Stoicism and psychoanalysis and on Nietzsche's use of the ironic and the comic. The book merits a wide readership and I am confident that it will inspire a major renewal of interest in the middle period texts both in terms of pedagogy and scholarship.
Graham Parkes
Fresh perspectives on Nietzsche are becoming increasingly hard to find, but in this book Michael Ure opens up some new and illuminating angles by taking him seriously as a philosophical therapist. Tracing significant connections with the Stoics before him and Freud and Foucault after, Nietzsche's Therapy shows its subject to be a subtle and profound practitioner of the difficult art of self-cultivation.
September 2008 Metapsychology Online Reviews
The aim of this book is well defined....At less than three hundred pages it is impressive how many connections are linked from within the philosophical tradition and also the psychoanalytic field....Ure does an outstanding job of clearly articulating complex ideas in a concise and accessible way....This book will be well received by Nietzsche fans and scholars ....Ure is able to to persuasively argue against popular readings....and also brings original contributions to a neglected period in Nietzsche's writing.
February 2010 Foucault Studies
...profound and insightful as a descriptive and prescriptive text on self-cultivation and relating to the other.... Those of us who, like Ladelle McWhorter, find in Foucault a source of inspiration for our work and our lives, will see Ure’s account of self-cultivation as a fascinating and important contribution. . . . The book is animated from its dedication to its final page by themes or grief, yet the tone is gay and rhapsodic.
Christopher Hamilton
This is a wise, humane, and extremely interesting work. Having discussed the influential and important work of Nehamas and Foucault on Nietzsche, Michael Ure offers a persuasive and insightful Freudian reading of Nietzsche's middle works. Contending that Nietzsche drew heavily on ancient conceptions of philosophy as a therapeutic practice whose real value is to be found in its effects on the philosopher's life outside his or her writings, Ure explores Nietzsche's psychological insights into narcissism, subjecting melancholia, revenge and pity to critiques which enable the reader to come closer to self-knowledge. Elegantly and economically written, and ending with a discussion of Nietzsche's conception of friendship, the overall effect of this book is not simply that of enriching our understanding of Nietzsche, but also that of delivering a tonic effect not usually to be found in contemporary philosophy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739119969
  • Publisher: Lexington Books
  • Publication date: 5/1/2008
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 0.75 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Ure is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Centre for the History of European Discourses, University of Queensland.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Chapter 1. The Aesthetic Game of the Self Chapter 3 Chapter 2. Senecan Moods: Nietzsche and Foucault Chapter 4 Chapter 3. Beyond Melancholia and Mania: Nietzsche's Middle Works Chapter 5 Chapter 4. At the Crossroads of Hellenistic and Psychoanalytic Theory: The Free-Spirit Trilogy Chapter 6 Chapter 5. The Comedy of Revenge Chapter 7 Chapter 6. The Irony of Pity Chapter 8 Chapter 7. The Tonic of Friendship Chapter 9 Consoling Conclusions

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