Nietzsche

Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist (New in Paperback)

WALTER KAUFMANN
With a new foreword by Alexander Nehamas
Copyright Date: 1974
Edition: STU - Student edition
Pages: 560
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt4cg9cm
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    Nietzsche
    Book Description:

    This classic is the benchmark against which all modern books about Nietzsche are measured. When Walter Kaufmann wrote it in the immediate aftermath of World War II, most scholars outside Germany viewed Nietzsche as part madman, part proto-Nazi, and almost wholly unphilosophical. Kaufmann rehabilitated Nietzsche nearly single-handedly, presenting his works as one of the great achievements of Western philosophy.

    Responding to the powerful myths and countermyths that had sprung up around Nietzsche, Kaufmann offered a patient, evenhanded account of his life and works, and of the uses and abuses to which subsequent generations had put his ideas. Without ignoring or downplaying the ugliness of many of Nietzsche's proclamations, he set them in the context of his work as a whole and of the counterexamples yielded by a responsible reading of his books. More positively, he presented Nietzsche's ideas about power as one of the great accomplishments of modern philosophy, arguing that his conception of the "will to power" was not a crude apology for ruthless self-assertion but must be linked to Nietzsche's equally profound ideas about sublimation. He also presented Nietzsche as a pioneer of modern psychology and argued that a key to understanding his overall philosophy is to see it as a reaction against Christianity.

    Many scholars in the past half century have taken issue with some of Kaufmann's interpretations, but the book ranks as one of the most influential accounts ever written of any major Western thinker. Featuring a new foreword by Alexander Nehamas, this Princeton Classics edition of Nietzsche introduces a new generation of readers to one the most influential accounts ever written of any major Western thinker.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4922-2
    Subjects: Philosophy, History, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. FOREWORD
    (pp. v-x)
    Alexander Nehamas

    Enter almost any bookstore today, and you are likely to find its philosophy section crowded with Nietzsche’s works. That wasn’t always so. It is, in large part, the accomplishment of Walter Kaufmann’s Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist, whose first edition appeared in 1950, when its author was not yet thirty, and its fourth, which is being reissued here, in 1974. Kaufmann’s book brought about a radical reversal of the popular image of Nietzsche as a ranting, totalitarian anti-Semite and gradually made it possible for philosophers, who had long ago dismissed Nietzsche as a mere “poet” or “prophet,” to take him seriously...

  3. PREFACE TO THE FOURTH EDITION (1974)
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION (1968)
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  5. PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION (1956)
    (pp. xix-xx)
  6. PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION (1950)
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
  7. Table of Contents
    (pp. xxv-1)
  8. A NOTE ON THE CITATIONS
    (pp. 2-2)
  9. PROLOGUE: The Nietzsche Legend
    (pp. 3-18)

    Nietzsche became a myth even before he died in 1900, and today his ideas are overgrown and obscured by rank fiction. Divergent evaluations, of course, are not uncommon; but in Nietzsche’s case there is not even basic agreement about what he stood for: his admirers are as much at odds about this as his critics. It might seem that one cannot properly speak of a Nietzsche legend where so many different conceptions are current, but it is actually typical of the manner in which legend appropriates historical figures that it takes no offense at generating clearly incompatible accounts. This situation,...

  10. Part I: BACKGROUND

    • 1 NIETZSCHE’S LIFE AS BACKGROUND OF HIS THOUGHT
      (pp. 21-71)

      Nietzsche’s family background offers a striking contrast to his later thought. It is tempting to construe his philosophy as a reaction against his childhood: his attitudes toward nationalism, Luther, Christianity, small-town morals, and the Germans may seem easily explicable in such terms. Yet this approach, while frequently adopted, bars any adequate understanding of Nietzsche’s philosophy. The thought of a philosopher may be partly occasioned by early experiences, but the conception of strict causality is not applicable here. A problem, once suggested, carries its own impetus; and the thinker is driven on by it to new problems and solutions. To understand...

    • 2 NIETZSCHE’S METHOD
      (pp. 72-95)

      Nietzsche’s books are easier to read but harder to understand than those of almost any other thinker. If we ignore for the moment the symbolism of Zarathustra, we find that practically every sentence and every page of his writings presents far less trouble than the involved and technical periods of Kant, Hegel, and even Schopenhauer. Not even the British Empiricists would seem to have written more lucidly. Yet grave difficulties are encountered when one tries seriously to follow Nietzsche’s thought. As soon as one attempts to penetrate beyond the clever epigrams and well turned insults to grasp their consequences and...

    • 3 THE DEATH OF GOD AND THE REVALUATION
      (pp. 96-118)

      Nietzsche himself has characterized the situation in which his philosophic thinking started by giving it the name of nihilism. This feature of his age struck him as a challenge he meant to meet, and we must not ignore the historical juncture at which he enters the philosophic stage. Speculative philosophy seemed to have spent itself in the ambitious systems of Schelling, Hegel, and Schopenhauer; and Darwin’s doctrines were conquering the world. At the same time, Prussian arms established Germany’s political supremacy on the continent; science and technology were making the most spectacular advances; and optimism was common. Nietzsche, however, stigmatized...

  11. Part II: THE DEVELOPMENT OF NIETZSCHE’S THOUGHT

    • 4 ART AND HISTORY
      (pp. 121-156)

      The crown of Nietzsche’s philosophy is the dual vision of the overman and the eternal recurrence; its key conception is the will to power. After setting out to question all that could be doubted, Nietzsche wound up with these eminently questionable notions. One is therefore in danger of robbing Nietzsche’s ideas of all plausibility and relevance to contemporary thought—and one may indeed fail altogether to understand them correctly—if one ignores how Nietzsche came to think as he did. When it is shown, on the other hand, how Nietzsche came to invoke such extreme conceptions, it will appear that...

    • 5 EXISTENZ VERSUS THE STATE, DARWIN, AND ROUSSEAU
      (pp. 157-177)

      The third of the Untimely Meditations, though not as well known as the second and The Birth of Tragedy, represents nothing less than the consummation of Nietzsche’s early philosophy. As the essential sequence of his thought from book to book is often overlooked even where the organic unity of his work is granted in principle, it is significant to note that the major themes of his earlier publications are here taken up once more. In The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche had concerned himself with aesthetic values and tried to give a dialectical, yet naturalistic, account of them. In spite of...

    • 6 THE DISCOVERY OF THE WILL TO POWER
      (pp. 178-208)

      The basic difference between Nietzsche’s earlier and later theories is that his final philosophy is based on the assumption of a single basic principle, while the philosophy of his youth was marked by a cleft which all but broke it in two. When Nietzsche introduced the will to power into his thought, all the dualistic tendencies which had rent it previously could be reduced to mere manifestations of this basic drive. Thus a reconciliation was finally effected between Dionysus and Apollo, nature and value, wastefulness and purpose, empirical and true self, and physis and culture.

      While the study of Nietzsche’s...

  12. Part III: NIETZSCHE’S PHILOSOPHY OF POWER

    • 7 MORALITY AND SUBLIMATION
      (pp. 211-227)

      The central conception of Nietzsche’s later thought, the will to power, is introduced in Zarathustra’s speech “On the Thousand and One Goals”: “A table of virtues [eine Tafel der Gilter] hangs over every people. Behold, it is the table of its overcom-ings; behold, it is the voice of its will to power.“ This passage has already been considered in passing in the preceding chapter, but only now are we ready to consider some of its systematic implications—especially Nietzsche's conceptions of morality and of sublimation. These in turn will make possible a proper estimation of the rest of his philosophy...

    • 8 SUBLIMATION, GEIST, AND EROS
      (pp. 228-256)

      The first question about self-overcoming has now been answered: Nietzsche pictured the triumph over the impulses in terms of sublimation. Ultimate clarification, however, must depend upon the solution of the second question, now to be considered: how is sublimation possible within the framework of Nietzsche’s monism? If the assumption of two basic forces, one of which might overcome and sublimate the other, is rejected and we are faced literally with self-overcoming, it may seem that Nietzsche's conception is untenable. “Self-overcoming” is only a metaphor and involves two forces—and one may wonder whether Nietzsche was deceived by the word, or...

    • 9 POWER VERSUS PLEASURE
      (pp. 257-283)

      Nietzsche’s philosophy of power entails the repudiation of the pleasure principle as a moral standard: human actions are to be evaluated in terms of their conduciveness to power, or—the same in Nietzsche’s eyes-in terms of the power they manifest. For Nietzsche accepts the New Testament paradox: “whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance.” Those whose actions express great power will develop their power through these actions. Our analysis of Nietzsche’s conception of sublimation has shown that this does not mean that the “animalman” is glorified. Nietzsche's power standard may be illuminated further by...

    • 10 THE MASTER RACE
      (pp. 284-306)

      It is well known that Nietzsche did not consider the Germans a master race and that the following comment on the Poles represented his view of that people:

      The Poles I considered the most gifted and gallant among the Slavic people; and the giftedness of the Slavs seemed greater to me than that of the Germans—yes, I thought that the Germans had entered the line of gifted nations only through a strong mixture with Slavic blood [Xl, 300].

      If this note is representative of Nietzsche’s views, it would seem that he favored race mixture—and that the assertion, sometimes...

    • 11 OVERMAN AND ETERNAL RECURRENCE
      (pp. 307-334)

      Nietzsche’s philosophy of power culminates in the dual Vision of the overman and the eternal recurrence. The two conceptions have seemed contradictory to many readers, and most interpreters of Nietzsche's thought have simply disregarded the recurrence. In view of Nietzsche's own conviction that the two ideas belonged closely together and that the doctrine of recurrence was the climax of his whole philosophy, the usual approach must be considered perilous. The present exposition of Nietzsche’s philosophy, on the other hand, allows for an understanding of both conceptions in their intimate relation, and it obviates any lengthy argument: for the two ideas...

  13. Part IV: SYNOPSIS

    • 12 NIETZSCHE’S REPUDIATION OF CHRIST
      (pp. 337-390)

      In a now famous conversation, Goethe retorted: “I pagan? Well, after all I let Gretchen be executed and Ottilie [in the Elective Affinities] starve to death; don’t people find that Christian enough? What do they want that would be more Christian?” ¹ The sarcasm of this brief rebuttal crystallizes—more clearly than Nietzsche’s excessive polemics—the contrast between the original “glad tidings” (evangel) and the resentful bourgeois morality that purports to be Christian even while it insists on throwing the first stone.

      Nietzsche’s repudiation of Christ cannot be understood—any more than can Kierkegaard’s Attack on Christendom—unless one distinguishes...

    • 13 NIETZSCHE’S ATTITUDE TOWARD SOCRATES
      (pp. 391-411)

      Nietzsche’s attitude toward Socrates is a focal point of his thought and reflects his views of reason and morality as well as the image of man he envisaged. His critics and interpreters have been persistently preoccupied with his critique of Socrates, and it has become a dogma, unquestioned and unexamined, that Nietzsche repudiated Socrates. At best, it is admitted that his attitude was “ambiguous.” What is needed is an examination of all passages in which Nietzsche discusses Socrates as well as some in which Socrates is not named outright. Such a study leads to a new understanding of The Birth...

  14. EPILOGUE: Nietzsche’s Heritage
    (pp. 412-423)

    Nietzsche is perhaps best known as the prophet of great wars and power politics and as an opponent of political liberalism and democracy. That is the idol of the “tough Nietzscheans” and the whipping boy of many a critic. The “tender Nietzscheans,” on the other hand, insist—quite rightly—that Nietzsche scorned totalitarianism, denounced the State as “The New Idol” (Z Ill), and was himself a kindly and charitable person; but some of them infer falsely that he must therefore have been a liberal and a democrat, or a socialist. We have tried to show that Nietzsche opposed both the...

  15. APPENDIX: Nietzsche’s “Suppressed” Manuscripts
    (pp. 424-458)
  16. FOUR LETTERS: Commentary and Facsimile Pages
    (pp. 459-482)

    Nietzsche’s life and character have probably excited more interest than those of any other philosopher. Thomas Mann drew inspiration from both for his Doctor Faustus, André Malraux embodied an episode from Nietzsche’s life in La Lutte avec l’ange, and Stefan George, Christian Morgenstern, and Gottfried Benn each wrote more than one poem on him.

    Hence a good deal of attention has always been focused on Nietzsche’s letters, although they contain scarcely any philosophy. The various German collections of the letters are spread over fifteen volumes, but many letters still await publication. In the following pages I want to illuminate...

  17. BIBLIOGRAPHY and Key to Abbreviations
    (pp. 483-510)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 511-532)