Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy for the Future

Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy for the Future


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679724650
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/28/1989
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 93,335
Product dimensions: 5.19(w) x 7.99(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was born in Prussia in 1844. After the death of his father, a Lutheran minister, Nietzsche was raised from the age of five by his mother in a household of women. In 1869 he was appointed Professor of Classical Philology at the University of Basel, where he taught until 1879 when poor health forced him to retire. He never recovered from a nervous breakdown in 1889 and died eleven years later. Known for saying that “god is dead,” Nietzsche propounded his metaphysical construct of the superiority of the disciplined individual (superman) living in the present over traditional values derived from Christianity and its emphasis on heavenly rewards. His ideas were appropriated by the Fascists, who turned his theories into social realities that he had never intended.

Walter Kaufmann was a philosopher and poet, as well as a renowned translator of Friedrich Nietzsche. His books include Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, AntichristFrom Shakespeare to Existentialism, and Existentialism: From Dostoevsky to Sartre. He was a Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University, where he taught after receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1947 until his death in 1980. He held visiting appointments at many American and foreign universities, including Columbia, Cornell, Heidelberg, Jerusalem, and the Australian National University; and his books have been translated into Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.

Table of Contents

Preface 31(2)
Part One: On the Prejudices of Philosophers
Part Two: The Free Spirit
Part Three: The Religious Nature
Part Four: Maxims and Interludes
Part Five: On the Natural History of Morals
Part Six: We Scholars
Part Seven: Our Virtues
Part Eight: Peoples and Fatherlands
Part Nine: What is Noble?
From High Mountains: Epode

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Beyond Good and Evil (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this book Nietzsche is amazing for having discovered all the flaws that even philosophers like himself make. To get an idea of his true meaning one will have to forget about all prejudices and even all truths for that matter! Once again, Nietzsche includes a fine collection of aphorisms to dispute all others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The liberal philosophy and the truth in a greatful book. I strongly recommend this book to everyone interested in his life and in his future.
AshRyan on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Though it contains some thought-provoking aphorisms, when it comes to its longer, more substantive passages, Beyond Good and Evil is not what its title proclaims. Nietzsche certainly does not move beyond the realm of value judgments altogether (which is about the best thing I can say for him in this regard). Nor does he even offer a genuine alternative to conventional conceptions of good and evil. Rather, he simply takes the flip-side of that coin and reverses the labels, ascribing (at least by strong implication) moral superiority to what would conventionally be called the "evil" and moral inferiority to what society had generally come to accept as the "good". On this last, much of his criticism of Christianity, which he aptly described as "slave-morality", is quite accurate; but in his own positive views, he unfortunately failed to move beyond the Christian moral framework and offer a genuine alternative. For example, instead of saying that the strong should sacrifice themselves to the weak, he held that the strong should sacrifice the weak to themselves. He completely accepted the view that morality was about masters and slaves, and only argued as to who should be sacrificed to whom.He writes, for instance: "The essential thing, however, in a good and healthy aristocracy is that it should...accept with a good conscience the sacrifice of a legion of individuals, who, FOR ITS SAKE, must be suppressed and reduced to imperfect men, to slaves and instruments. Its fundamental belief must be precisely that society is NOT allowed to exist for its own sake, but only as a foundation and scaffolding, by means of which a select class of beings may be able to elevate themselves to their higher duties, and in general to a higher EXISTENCE..."This illustrates the problem with this sort of Nietzschean pseudo-egoism very well: one cannot accept egoism except on the basis of individualism---the "ego" is, after all, the "I", the individual self as distinct from other selves. Nietzsche senses this and tries to uphold the individual (e.g., "the individual dares to be individual and detach himself")---but one cannot uphold the individual while at the same time speaking of sacrificing legions of individuals. It's simply not consistent...if it is right for some people to exist for their own sake as individuals, then by the same token every other individual has that same right (Nietzsche's separation of them into "noble" and "despicable" classes notwithstanding).The alternative to populism is not elitism, but individualism...and elitism is by definition not individualism. As one dictionary aptly puts it, elitism is "consciousness of or pride in belonging to a select or favored group" may be a smaller group, but it is still defining oneself primarily in terms of and in relation to the group. Indeed, Nietzche writes: "...egoism belongs to the essence of a noble soul, I mean the unalterable belief that to a being such as 'we,' other beings must naturally be in subjection, and have to sacrifice themselves..." Note the "we" where one would expect an "I", followed by the calls for sacrifice of one group to another...clearly, Nietzsche is not a genuine individualist, but a common elitist merely posing as one.All of this follows from what might be called his metaethical principles, for example that " itself is ESSENTIALLY appropriation, injury, conquest of the strange and weak, suppression, severity, obtrusion of peculiar forms, incorporation, and at the least, putting it mildest, exploitation..." This is of course true of animals, but not of human beings in the moral sense. You might think that Nietzsche recognizes this as he describes the egoist as a "CREATOR OF VALUES", but he means that only in the sense that he subjectively defines values for himself, not that he actually creates the values his life requires rather than appropriating them from those who do create them. So for Nietzsche, the "egoist" is existentially a parasit
poetontheone on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I think one of the key barriers to understanding Nietzsche, particularly this book and its immediate predecessor which both deal with the Ubermensch and master morality versus slave morality, is that the uninformed may go into such a book looking for some sort of dogma (as the Nazis did). Though if Nietzsche were to work in such a mode, his form would contradict his content. The most digestible aspect (though not for some, surely) of this writing are its moments of passion and poetic brilliance, alongside characteristic biting wit. Such wit abounds in the early parts of the book, where he deals mostly in polemics against prevalent views, against schools of thought and their propagators. Such style eventually drags, and then starves to death when Nietzsche begins to mock women in a rather juvenile way. It is in the end section entitled "What is Noble?" that Nietzsche's poetics flare up and the text becomes introspective, in the sense that Nietzsche begins to discuss and refer to himself, but also in the sense that in doing he may reveal certain keys to understanding the book itself. Especially, "my written and painted thoughts [...] You have already taken off your novelty, and some of you are ready, I fear, to become truths: they already look so immortal, so pathetically decent, so dull! [...] We immortalize what cannot live and fly much longer ¿ only weary and mellow things!"In reading Nietzsche it might serve us to rely on context both historical and biographical, but even this method of interpretation, narrow as it is, may do us more harm than good. We may perhaps do best to acknowledge Nietzsche as Zarathustra made flesh in his own time and place, as an observer of the condition of man. He sees this with a terrified eye, but allows his throat to well up in Dionysian laughter at the possibilities of what the future might hold. As it stands, the outlook is dim. Such a time as now could not foster another Nietzsche, nor a complete realization of his ideal man. We remain in the muck, though some of us stand on the bridge between man and superman, with so many below us, fallen into the black pit of modernity where it is doubtful that no Goethe could stand upright.
GaryPatella on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Interesting thoughts. I agree with some and disagree with others. The biggest problem I have is that the writing style is VERY choppy. Since I read the English translation, I can't say for certain whether it is Nietzsche who wrote this way, or the way in which it was translated. In either case, the choppy writing is not conducive to absorption. A handful of sentences on one topic, followed by three sentences on another topic, followed by another few sentences on a third topic, etc. Such writing results in lack of retention. There is no central theme to any of the chapters or sections. For this reason, I was even considering going as low as two and a half stars.
darwin.8u on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The blockbuster, followup hit (I think it originally sold 300 copies) to Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Same general theme, different method. One macro, one micro; one infinite, one finite; one timeless, one current -- I suppose (those are all methaphorical stretches to awe a Swami for sure, but hell, who reads these reviews anyway).
chellinsky on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Over the past two days, I read Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future. I didn't know what to expect and online reviews of the book were mixed and often lacking content. Hopefully, my amateur reading of this book and accompanying review will do it service.First, I found Nietzsche very appealing¿even if his ideas didn't always mesh well with mine. His directly anti-exceptionalist approach agreed with what I believe to be wrong with much of our discourse (in politics, philosophy, etc.). Additionally, his sarcastic, blunt, and provocative style is useful and aids his attempt to discredit existing trends of thought. However, using this tactic also limits his eventual ability to create the "new generation's" philosophy that he describes. When does the sarcasm end and non-cynical pontificating begin?Nonetheless, the book is worthwhile in the same sense that Dylan's music and Kerouac's writing are. Reading Nietzsche for the first time was like reading Kerouac or listening to Dylan for the first time. It added to my understanding about human thought and revealed some of the underlying assumptions that permeate Western existence. Doors have been opened for me by Nietzsche.
pickwick817 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I began this book with the hope that Nietsche would better explain some of my own theories on morality and its function in society. I did not quite find what I was looking for. I now realize that my hope was terribly naive.In addition to my dissapointment on that front, I found a few others. Nietsche seems to have used this book to attack some of his rivals with viewpoints opposed to his own. While this is not alway a bad thing, Nietsche does this in what appears to be more of a personal attack than a refutation of a theory.While some of his ideas seem very distant from what we accept today (some of his points about women) I did glean a few things that have helped me to understand my own perspective. I think a class or study group where I could discuss my views and hear those of others would go a long way to helping me to really understand the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't waste your time with this version. It's a scanned copy probably using an antique scanner! Every word with "r n" is automatically converted to "m". Therefore, "born" is converted to "bom" and virtually every "l" is converted to the symbol for British Pound Sterling. Ya, get what you paid for folks....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A lot of misprints, but not so bad that it renders the text unintelligible irritatingly printed but useful if you want to catch up on your nietzsche
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TJ Scott More than 1 year ago
Out of the translations K've read, definitely the best. Not dumbed down at all, but still uses language one can understand! Some passages take a couple rereadings, but that's.nietszche for ya.
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Larryam More than 1 year ago
Don't waste the 99 cents. When I downloaded this it turned out it was a circa 1917 translation, and so pretty much worthless.
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