Nietzsche's Zarathustra

Nietzsche's Zarathustra

by Kathleen Marie Higgins

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Overview

Nietzsche's Zarathustra takes an interdisciplinary approach to Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, focusing on the philosophical function of its literary techniques and its fictional mode of presentation. It argues that the fictional format is essential to Nietzsche's philosophical message in his work. Part of that message is Nietzsche's alternative to the Western worldview as developed by Plato's dialogues and the Christian Gospel, which he presents through the teachings of his hero, Zarathustra. Another part of that message is that any doctrine, including those of Zarathustra himself, has an ambivalent nature. Although doctrinal formulations are designed to preserve and communicate philosophical insights, they can become dead formulas, out of touch with the live philosophical discoveries that they aimed to capture. Thus Spoke Zarathustra explores Zarathustra's own vulnerability to this risk, and his way of regaining real connection with living wisdom. The doctrine of eternal recurrence, which is particular prominent in Zarathustra, is a case in point. The doctrine is offered in opposition to the worldview that Nietzsche associates with the Christian doctrine of sin, which in his view promotes a view of this life as devoid of intrinsic value. However, certain ways of adhering to this doctrine themselves rob life of its value. The book also defends the importance of Part IV of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which many scholars have seen as unimportant by comparison with the first three parts. Nietzsche's Zarathustra argues that Part III would not have been a culmination for the work, and that Part IV is essential to Nietzsche's project. Part IV's allusions to Apuleius' The Golden Ass, an ancient Menippean satire, suggest that it should be read as a satire in which Zarathustra falls into and recovers from folly. It is thus the culminating statement of the point that there is always a discrepancy between the living philosophical insight and any attempt to articulate it,

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780739120866
Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication date: 03/16/2010
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 248
Sales rank: 670,380
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Kathleen Marie Higgins is professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

Foreword to the Revised Edition xiii

Preface xv

1 An ad Hominem Introduction to Nietzsche 1

2 Nietzsche's Conception of Tragedy and the Tragic Worldview 11

3 Nietzsche's Case Against Christian Morality 27

4 Why Zarathustra Speaks 45

5 The Ambivalence of Zarathustra's Doctrine 75

6 Eternal Recurrence Versus the Doctrine of Sin 103

7 Where Zarathustra Ends Up 131

Conclusion: Taking It Seriously 153

Abbreviations 161

Notes 163

Selected Nietzsche Bibliography 189

Index 213

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