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Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy

Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy
October 06, 2009, 07:36:32 PM
Nietzsche's moral philosophy is primarily critical in orientation: he attacks morality both for its commitment to untenable descriptive (metaphysical and empirical) claims about human agency, as well as for the deleterious impact of its distinctive norms and values on the flourishing of the highest types of human beings (Nietzsche's “higher men”). His positive ethical views are best understood as combining (i) a kind of consequentialist perfectionism as Nietzsche's implicit theory of the good, with (ii) a conception of human perfection involving both formal and substantive elements. Because Nietzsche, however, is an anti-realist about morality, he takes neither his positive vision, nor those aspects of his critique that depend upon it, to have any special epistemic status, a fact which helps explain his rhetoric and the circumspect character of his “esoteric” moralizing. Although Nietzsche's illiberal attitudes (for example, about human equality) are apparent, there are no grounds for ascribing to him a political philosophy, since he has no systematic (or even partly systematic) views about the nature of state and society. As an esoteric moralist, Nietzsche aims at freeing higher human beings from their false consciousness about morality (their false belief that this morality is good for them), not at a transformation of society at large.

Re: Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy
October 06, 2009, 08:29:31 PM
It follows that it is from higher men that transformational leadership, and thus a higher state of mankind overall comes. So, higher men as a goal, which once realized, causes all else to follow as they push onward and upward.
”The Revolution ends by devouring its own children” – Jacques Mallet du Pan, 1793

Re: Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy
October 06, 2009, 09:29:10 PM
I argue: The whole point of Nietzsche's philosophizing as interpreted above is that the Higher Men will and should not agree on a new society, for the same reason that Nietzsche rejects the idea of god, for the same reason that nationalism is incommensurate with his philosophy and for the same reason that Nietzsche did NOT want any followers. The Higher Men are beyond society, beyond the political and beyond even Nietzsche.  It is also definitely not clear in Nietzsche whether the Uebermensch is an individual or a peoples (and he is certainly not bred from a test tube as so many people seem to think)  The only thing they (the Higher Men) would have in common is that they would be higher by virtue of their practice of philosophy; experienced as an end in itself and no means to a future utopia, for the same reason that Nietzsche rejected socialism as nihilistic and antithetical to his idea of the eternal recurrence (which was the central problem to Nietzsche according to Heidegger who did volumes for Nietzsche scholarship). This would also all apply to "amor fati", Another central idea in Nietzsche to my mind is the word Tugend (Virtue). In Zarathustra, Nietzsche says that one should not even be able to articulate one's virtue. How could it then be implemented in a society?

Further, in response to your comment and bearing in mind what I have said above, Nietzsche might even be hesitant to abandon our current society given its post-modern influenced (which he initiated). The (almost totalitarian) Christianity Nietzsche reviled in his day has long been overcome! However, there are Nietzschean critiques to be made of the status quo. Republicans / conservatives, for instance, who see no value in the Humanities (at least here in Canada) and who seem to institutionalize everything that will prevent any leisure time (remember, Nietzsche lived off of welfare and spent his life walking around the Upper Engadine) are the de facto antithesis of any higher human type. When Nietzsche talks about master morality he goes back to the character ethics of people like Aristotle who never worked a single day in his entire life).

Zeitenwende, Wertenwende!








Re: Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy
October 06, 2009, 09:54:37 PM
In Zarathustra, Nietzsche says that one should not even be able to articulate one's virtue. How could it then be implemented in a society?

"Let thy virtue be too high for the familiarity of names, and if thou
must speak of it, be not ashamed to stammer about it.

Thus speak and stammer: "That is MY good, that do I love, thus doth it
please me entirely, thus only do I desire the good."

I can see how one might make that conclusion, but to say that this as a result precludes any sort of society involving the Higher Man, or Higher Men, is not sound.  The Higher Man might forge and rule a new society simply to pursue his own virtue; or he may not.  Just because the Higher Man's virtue is his alone, certainly does not preclude him from acting on it in physical reality, and it might very well include things involving society.  Your point however, might be that it does not follow obviously that Nietzsche planned any sort of society based on the Higher Man, which is a point of contention which has more basis than saying his thought precludes it entirely.

Further, in response to your comment and bearing in mind what I have said above, Nietzsche might even be hesitant to abandon our current society given its post-modern influenced (which he initiated). The (almost totalitarian) Christianity Nietzsche reviled in his day has long been overcome!

Zeitenwende, Wertenwende!

I thought it was pretty evident that it was Christian morality he battled against, and this is still present in modern society.  Pity, "altruism", lack of love or willingness for conflict still exist, and thus no matter how "Post-modern" this society is, it is still Christianized in many regards.

Re: Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy
October 06, 2009, 10:55:10 PM
Your point however, might be that it does not follow obviously that Nietzsche planned any sort of society based on the Higher Man, which is a point of contention which has more basis than saying his thought precludes it entirely.

If higher man is beyond modern man and modern man is about as much beyond the apes, how does modern man treat with apes? I'd say it is neither a mutual societal relationship or perfect disassociation, but something else.

Quote
I thought it was pretty evident that it was Christian morality he battled against, and this is still present in modern society.  Pity, "altruism", lack of love or willingness for conflict still exist, and thus no matter how "Post-modern" this society is, it is still Christianized in many regards.

True. Our present age is a repackaging of the old product that sold so well before; a secularized Christianity that has replaced deity Yahweh with deity Humanity.
”The Revolution ends by devouring its own children” – Jacques Mallet du Pan, 1793

Re: Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy
October 07, 2009, 02:22:59 AM
'Just trying to stir up some debate here. Thanks for the comments.

Re: Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy
October 07, 2009, 06:02:49 AM
Nietzsche's moral philosophy is primarily critical in orientation: he attacks morality both for its commitment to untenable descriptive (metaphysical and empirical) claims about human agency, as well as for the deleterious impact of its distinctive norms and values on the flourishing of the highest types of human beings (Nietzsche's “higher men”). His positive ethical views are best understood as combining (i) a kind of consequentialist perfectionism as Nietzsche's implicit theory of the good, with (ii) a conception of human perfection involving both formal and substantive elements. Because Nietzsche, however, is an anti-realist about morality, he takes neither his positive vision, nor those aspects of his critique that depend upon it, to have any special epistemic status, a fact which helps explain his rhetoric and the circumspect character of his “esoteric” moralizing. Although Nietzsche's illiberal attitudes (for example, about human equality) are apparent, there are no grounds for ascribing to him a political philosophy, since he has no systematic (or even partly systematic) views about the nature of state and society. As an esoteric moralist, Nietzsche aims at freeing higher human beings from their false consciousness about morality (their false belief that this morality is good for them), not at a transformation of society at large.

You should cite your source, i.e. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nietzsche-moral-political/

Re: Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy
October 08, 2009, 06:03:48 PM
I am surprised that there hasnt been more interest in this thread here on the forum, especially since this website titles Nietzsche as one of its "heroes". Here are more challenges to anus' interpretation of Nietzsche:


"A consensus about the meaning of Nietzsche's philosophy continues to elude us. One might have thought, for example, that a man who praises cruelty, denounces pity, and entertains the idea of mass exterminations bears some responsibility for the triumphs of fascism after his death in 1900. Yet the grossly oversimplified idea of Nietzsche as Nazi soon brought on the titanic and successful efforts of Walter Kaufmann to portray him as a liberal with an excessive polemical zest. When I first began teaching Nietzsche, his strident bluster about male superiority quite rightly offended my sensitive female students, but of late feminism has transformed all too many women from his intelligent enemies into his stupid friends. The former darling of the right has become the present darling of the left because of his matchless knack for exposing the foibles of the bourgeoisie. Recently, postmodernists of various stripes have held sway, persuading many that Nietzsche had no positive teaching at all and certainly exposed all moral evaluations as untenable. Their Nietzsche has no truths to convey because there are none; there are merely slippery "takes" on an unknowable reality: perspectivity is all.

In a valiant attempt to halt this dreary march of nonsense, Peter Berkowitz takes the field with a bold and intriguing new reading. Nietzsche: The Ethics of an Immoralist is at its best when it challenges those dogmatic pieties of postmodernists that threaten to contaminate serious inquiry. Postmodernism has its roots in the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, whom Berkowitz correctly characterizes as both a great reader and misreader of Nietzsche. Heidegger's successors seem to have inherited only the misreading. Perspectivism even at its best narrows what one can learn from Nietzsche by concentrating on epistemological conundrums rather than on Nietzsche's subtle insight into the whole breadth of human life. At its worst it is simply incoherent, with its advocates dogmatically pronouncing the absolute truth that there is no absolute truth.

Today's fashionable writers on Nietzsche have also exempted themselves from the imperatives of "philosophical cleanliness" so dear to Nietzsche's heart. Convinced that all interpretation is arbitrary, they arbitrarily tear snippets of Nietzsche from their context and use them as inkblots in a Rorschach test. Unfortunately, Nietzsche's love of writing aphorisms encourages this practice, as does Heidegger's forceful but also willful reading of texts: today's critics of Nietzsche tend to be Heidegger-ians without Heidegger's genius.

By contrast, Peter Berkowitz is able to say something new about Nietzsche because he resorts to older ways of reading. He usually respects Nietzsche's intentions and he carefully considers a whole series of Nietzsche's books as wholes, concentrating on Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil, but picking out other crucial works, from the earliest Birth of Tragedy to the very late Antichrist.

The interpretation that emerges from Berkowitz's sensible and sensitive reading always commands respect and usually elicits agreement. As the subtitles suggest, he concentrates on Nietzsche's "reflections on the best life" and he articulates "the ethics of an immoralist." Nietzsche teaches us that the highest life is the life of human creativity, and that human excellence can be understood and communicated objectively.

Nietzsche's overwhelming concern with the best way to live puts him very much into the mainstream of the history of philosophy (notwithstanding his indisputable modernity) and even of the history of political philosophy (notwithstanding his contempt for, and denigration of, political life in the interest of the solitary creative individual). Berkowitz's Nietzsche believes in "right making based on right knowing"; his thought is strongly anchored in metaphysics and he is thus more than a bit of a Platonist. To be sure, he is also something more, or at least something else. One finds in Nietzsche's thought "the distinctive clash between ancient and modern." The latter element can be seen above all in his emphasis on an unbridled will that masters even necessity. Nietzsche seriously plays with the idea of self-deification: after the death of God, men must become gods. An abiding tension, an "unresolved antagonism," runs through Nietzsche's thinking. Because there can be no final overcoming of overcoming, according to Berkowitz, "Nietzsche's teaching, at the climactic moment, shatters." Yet the intellectual conscience that drove Nietzsche to his chilling thought experiment is worthy of our emulation. We must come to terms with the "formidable challenge of his philosophical explorations." Berko-witz provides us with an admiring portrait of Nietzsche's thought without ever succumbing to the temptation of becoming a Nietzschean. "

http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft9602/reviews/nietzsch.html

Re: Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy
October 08, 2009, 06:13:25 PM
I am surprised that there hasnt been more interest in this thread here on the forum, especially since this website titles Nietzsche as one of its "heroes". Here are more challenges to anus' interpretation of Nietzsche:


"A consensus about the meaning of Nietzsche's philosophy continues to elude us. One might have thought, for example, that a man who praises cruelty, denounces pity, and entertains the idea of mass exterminations bears some responsibility for the triumphs of fascism after his death in 1900. Yet the grossly oversimplified idea of Nietzsche as Nazi soon brought on the titanic and successful efforts of Walter Kaufmann to portray him as a liberal with an excessive polemical zest. When I first began teaching Nietzsche, his strident bluster about male superiority quite rightly offended my sensitive female students, but of late feminism has transformed all too many women from his intelligent enemies into his stupid friends. The former darling of the right has become the present darling of the left because of his matchless knack for exposing the foibles of the bourgeoisie. Recently, postmodernists of various stripes have held sway, persuading many that Nietzsche had no positive teaching at all and certainly exposed all moral evaluations as untenable. Their Nietzsche has no truths to convey because there are none; there are merely slippery "takes" on an unknowable reality: perspectivity is all.

In a valiant attempt to halt this dreary march of nonsense, Peter Berkowitz takes the field with a bold and intriguing new reading. Nietzsche: The Ethics of an Immoralist is at its best when it challenges those dogmatic pieties of postmodernists that threaten to contaminate serious inquiry. Postmodernism has its roots in the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, whom Berkowitz correctly characterizes as both a great reader and misreader of Nietzsche. Heidegger's successors seem to have inherited only the misreading. Perspectivism even at its best narrows what one can learn from Nietzsche by concentrating on epistemological conundrums rather than on Nietzsche's subtle insight into the whole breadth of human life. At its worst it is simply incoherent, with its advocates dogmatically pronouncing the absolute truth that there is no absolute truth.

Today's fashionable writers on Nietzsche have also exempted themselves from the imperatives of "philosophical cleanliness" so dear to Nietzsche's heart. Convinced that all interpretation is arbitrary, they arbitrarily tear snippets of Nietzsche from their context and use them as inkblots in a Rorschach test. Unfortunately, Nietzsche's love of writing aphorisms encourages this practice, as does Heidegger's forceful but also willful reading of texts: today's critics of Nietzsche tend to be Heidegger-ians without Heidegger's genius.

By contrast, Peter Berkowitz is able to say something new about Nietzsche because he resorts to older ways of reading. He usually respects Nietzsche's intentions and he carefully considers a whole series of Nietzsche's books as wholes, concentrating on Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil, but picking out other crucial works, from the earliest Birth of Tragedy to the very late Antichrist.

The interpretation that emerges from Berkowitz's sensible and sensitive reading always commands respect and usually elicits agreement. As the subtitles suggest, he concentrates on Nietzsche's "reflections on the best life" and he articulates "the ethics of an immoralist." Nietzsche teaches us that the highest life is the life of human creativity, and that human excellence can be understood and communicated objectively.

Nietzsche's overwhelming concern with the best way to live puts him very much into the mainstream of the history of philosophy (notwithstanding his indisputable modernity) and even of the history of political philosophy (notwithstanding his contempt for, and denigration of, political life in the interest of the solitary creative individual). Berkowitz's Nietzsche believes in "right making based on right knowing"; his thought is strongly anchored in metaphysics and he is thus more than a bit of a Platonist. To be sure, he is also something more, or at least something else. One finds in Nietzsche's thought "the distinctive clash between ancient and modern." The latter element can be seen above all in his emphasis on an unbridled will that masters even necessity. Nietzsche seriously plays with the idea of self-deification: after the death of God, men must become gods. An abiding tension, an "unresolved antagonism," runs through Nietzsche's thinking. Because there can be no final overcoming of overcoming, according to Berkowitz, "Nietzsche's teaching, at the climactic moment, shatters." Yet the intellectual conscience that drove Nietzsche to his chilling thought experiment is worthy of our emulation. We must come to terms with the "formidable challenge of his philosophical explorations." Berko-witz provides us with an admiring portrait of Nietzsche's thought without ever succumbing to the temptation of becoming a Nietzschean. "

http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft9602/reviews/nietzsch.html

Not that I am one to speak for the site, but if you are under the impression that there are challenges present there, you must not have read this very in depth.

Re: Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy
October 08, 2009, 06:31:00 PM
I think the site speaks for itself:

http://www.anus.com/zine/db/friedrich_nietzsche/

"He died convinced that he had left the world in a different state than it was before, and he was right: through his astounding legacy of poetry, philosophical aphorisms, music and letters, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche had declared war against an entire modern world, shaking its very foundations to tear down everything sacred and holy, restoring ancient order and urging the future generations to live with courage and honour. "

Is that really the essence of Nietzsche? A declaration of war against the modern world? to restore an "ancient order"???

I give this site credit for writing on Nietzsche but I think the page should be updated to include links to more reputable mainstream interpretation as a means to encourage further reflection, as have unsuccessfully tried to do.

I am tired of all these self proclaimed little elitist Nietzscheans running around in the metal community: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0HjfpXyl6U

However, if you can mention any insightful parallels between Nietzsche and metal, anus etc I am  more than willing to hear them, since I am on this forum to talk after all.






Re: Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy
October 08, 2009, 09:10:28 PM
However, if you can mention any insightful parallels between Nietzsche and metal, anus etc I am  more than willing to hear them, since I am on this forum to talk after all.

Post-morality and death metal are a match.
”The Revolution ends by devouring its own children” – Jacques Mallet du Pan, 1793

Re: Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy
October 09, 2009, 01:35:57 AM
However, if you can mention any insightful parallels between Nietzsche and metal, anus etc I am  more than willing to hear them, since I am on this forum to talk after all.

Post-morality and death metal are a match.

ah, never thought about it in that simple and strong terms.

Re: Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy
October 09, 2009, 01:37:27 PM

"He died convinced that he had left the world in a different state than it was before, and he was right: through his astounding legacy of poetry, philosophical aphorisms, music and letters, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche had declared war against an entire modern world, shaking its very foundations to tear down everything sacred and holy, restoring ancient order and urging the future generations to live with courage and honour. "


I see nothing wrong with this interpretation, since one can find many instances where he addresses "modern" ideas and "modern" spirits (just like that, with quotes) in disparaging terms. It is also known that he praised the advent of nihilism and, quite literally, he rushed its acceptance as a disturbing reality. He was very much against the modern world, but I'll give you credit in that I don't remember reading about the "ancient order" he would like restored, yet this does not say much about Nietzsche as it says about the writer's Evolian influences.

Yes, Nietzsche is at times paradoxical and sometimes at odds with the ANUS dogma, but you're forgetting this is an organization committed first of all to social change, not to emulate or further Nietzsche's thought. Languishing in states of confusion or wonder is more proper for the novices or the mystical philosopher, but this ideology is clear-cut, and, quite frankly, their pragmatism is welcomed in an ever less discerning modern world.

Btw, I am not into the ANUS stuff, this is just an outsider perspective.

In your big-ass quote, there are mentions of perspectivism and the supposed demise of his thought : "Because there can be no final overcoming of overcoming, according to Berkowitz, "Nietzsche's teaching, at the climactic moment, shatters." ". First of all, perspectivism might destroy criteria for objectivity, but on the whole, I see it as a more honest approach to knowledge, recognizing that it is both creation, invention, lies, and also a necessary risk of interpreting the reality we experience, without which we could not function at all. But, perhaps more importantly, the transcendent character of most of Nietzsche's rhetoric is seen when he praises the individual will: he sees it as someting which thrives through insatisfaction, whose constant aim is to move forward at all times, to absorb and conquer all obstacles. That is why I do not see it as possible to infer the weakness of his philosophy through its paradoxical nature of the pointlessness of overcoming, since, for Nietzsche, meaninglessness is just the first step to take in the re-valuation of the world: http://killian.com/earl/ThusSpokeZarathustra.html#onthethreemetamorphoses



Re: Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy
October 09, 2009, 03:59:20 PM
In reference to Nietzsche wanting to restore ancient order:

Although i do not have my copy of the "Anti-christ" handy i am fairly certain that Nietzsche explicitly advocates the Caste system, and seems to hint that the goal for man should be to develop higher castes.......

This certainly seems like Ancient order to me......
"  Jesus Christ Submitted To The Roman Emperor At His Birth And At His Death: Jesus Christ Never Submitted to Man-Made Modern Democracy! "

Re: Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy
October 09, 2009, 05:58:34 PM
Although Nietzsche's illiberal attitudes (for example, about human equality) are apparent, there are no grounds for ascribing to him a political philosophy, since he has no systematic (or even partly systematic) views about the nature of state and society.

I disagree with the assertion that every political philosophy lacks a germinal core from which its other attributes sprout. Philosophies aren't random.