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Nietzsche Part 1

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University of Ottawa
Political Science
Sascha Maicher

March 17, 2014 NIETZSCHE  Radical figure in the history of thought  Repentant troublemaker  He almost rivals (maybe has more influence than) Marx  First existentialist thinker; in the 20th century this was a big class of thought  First post-modernist  Culmination of a few trends; a purely strong thinker  Like Marx, he wants to change the way we live o Anayzes the way we evaluate existence. o Wants to shed humanity of its habits and illusions  He relentlessly criticizes anything that he thinks has been taken for granted  Around the time of Nietzsche o Enlightenment has reached its peak. o Has destroyed the way people used to think about their lives o Has destabilized the old monarchies and institutions that told us how to feel about our lives o Enlightenment criticism had been ineffective at providing alternative sources of meaning  What do we use to replace these old ideas?  Of all the wondrous things science can do, it cannot provide meaning  We can't just measure human happiness with a test tube  Enlightenment said we are completely rational creatures  Hegel: realizing our ideas  Marx: great deal of limitation, our reason is not as powerful as we imagine it  Step back to enlightnment project if we can't step back and criticize  If we're constantly changing, how can we really know ourselves at all?  In the later 19th century: growing sense that human beings don't really know who/what they really are; first we thought we were religious, then rational, but we keep changing so we don't know.  Romantic notion of the self: that we have an identity hidden deep in there, but this is something we'll have to work out over time  Something true about us that we don't know  Romantic age: project of life is to bring out this hidden self o Science has served to get rid of old illusions about god and whatnot, but has also served to show that life is a working out of ideas  Feeling that it's one thing after another- this is the system working itself out  This is called disenchantement; overtones of getting rid of mysticism but also means get rid of traditional sources of meaning  Science is ill-equipped to replace the meaning it is destroying  Cannot tell us how we should be and what we should value o Nietzsche: a person's task is to find himself in the world  "We are unkown to ourselves.."  We think science is telling us so much, but it's probably taking away more than it's giving us o If the enlightenment presented us with an image as a rational creature, Marx, working creature, Nietzsche; a searching creature.  Nihilism as Nietzsche's answer? o Believes a universe without a god is a universe with no meaning, where a meaning is imposssible, so we throw our hands up at that  Nietzsche says succumbing to Nihilism sucks us of our human energy; leads to a humanity that limits creativity  We have to find a way to recreate ourselves as human being; replenish our energy; empower our will to do things  Nietzsche if anything is about life and maximizing life- in favor of all things that maximize life; deadly critic of anything believed to be hostile to living a full life; goal is how to live and how to live well.  Not a person who just lays out answes and tells people to believe them o Aims to stimulate critical thoughts and attitudes o Does he think his views of self-morality are true; if he does not think they are true, why does he present them in the first place?  He is a critic- he wants to show problems, not replace what he's criticizing with some structure- this would be up to the reader  Perspectivism o Depending on how you look at something it will seem different o To look at something in a different way will maybe reveal a truth  Is this foreshadowing the theory of relativity?  Overzealous, but as a metaphor it works o N does not have a basic formula for what is fact; thinks what ends up being fact is how you look at things  Truth isn't a unitary thing to be uncovered  So easy for Nietzsche to be taken out of context and distort what he's actually about
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