Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (German: Jenseits von Gut und Böse: Vorspiel einer Philosophie der Zukunft) is a book by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche that expands the ideas of his previous work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, with a more critical and polemical approach. It was first published in 1886.
In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche accuses past philosophers of lacking critical sense and blindly accepting dogmatic premises in their consideration of morality. Specifically, he accuses them of founding grand metaphysical systems upon the faith that the good man is the opposite of the evil man, rather than just a different expression of the same basic impulses that find more direct expression in the evil man. The work moves into the realm "beyond good and evil" in the sense of leaving behind the traditional morality which Nietzsche subjects to a destructive critique in favour of what he regards as an affirmative approach that fearlessly confronts the perspectival nature of knowledge and the perilous condition of the modern individual.
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About the Author
Nietzsche's body of work touched widely on art, philology, history, religion, tragedy, culture, and science, and drew early inspiration from figures such as Schopenhauer, Wagner, and Goethe. His writing spans philosophical polemics, poetry, cultural criticism, and fiction while displaying a fondness for aphorism and irony. Some prominent elements of his philosophy include his radical critique of reason and truth in favor of perspectivism; his genealogical critique of religion and Christian morality, and his related theory of master-slave morality; his aesthetic affirmation of existence in response to the "death of God" and the profound crisis of nihilism; his notion of the Apollonian and Dionysian; and his characterization of the human subject as the expression of competing wills, collectively understood as the will to power. In his later work, he developed influential concepts such as the Übermensch and the doctrine of eternal return, and became increasingly preoccupied with the creative powers of the individual to overcome social, cultural, and moral contexts in pursuit of new values and aesthetic health.
His thought enjoyed renewed popularity in the 1960s, and his ideas have since had a profound impact on 20th and early-21st century thinkers across philosophy-especially in schools of continental philosophy such as existentialism, postmodernism, and post-structuralism-as well as art, literature, psychology, politics, and popular culture.