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Transcript of Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche is one of the most influential thinkers of modern times.
He was born 1844. The date coincided with the 49th birthday of the Prussian King, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, after whom Nietzsche was named.
When Nietzsche was nearly 5 years old, his father, Karl Ludwig Nietzsche died from a brain ailment and the death of Nietzsche's two-year-old brother, Ludwig Joseph, traumatically followed six months later.
From the ages of 14 to 19 , Nietzsche attended a boarding school, where he prepared for university studies later.
After graduating, Nietzsche entered the University of Bonn in as a theology and philology student, and his interests soon gravitated more exclusively towards philology.
Nietzsche volunteered to serve as a medical orderly in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870
He returned after having contracted dysentery, diphtheria, and perhaps syphilis.
In the late 1870s, Nietzsche broke with Wagner whom Nietzsche admired for his musical genius and magnetic personality, became disgusted by the cult of personality surrounding Wagner as well as with Wagner’s German nationalism and anti-Semitism.
Nietzsche lived during a time of rising German nationalism. After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1, Germany was united for the first time as a single empire. The brutish nationalism and anti-Semitism that Nietzsche derides in his writings are precisely the sentiments that led Germany into two world wars.
Nietzsche also lived at a time when the scientific spirit was triumphant in the West. Physicists of the late nineteenth century were confident and the social sciences were coming into their own, and Darwin’s theory of evolution was making great waves in all variety of fields.
Much of his writing is concerned with this crisis in values that most of his contemporaries did not even recognize.
As a trained philologist, Nietzsche knew the Greek and Roman classics backward and forward. He rarely mentions Aristotle, and he is mostly contemptuous of Plato. His attitude toward Socrates is more complex but mostly negative.
Nietzsche first became fascinated by philosophy when he read Arthur Schopenhauer’s The World As Will and Representation.
While Nietzsche drew some influence from thinkers, such as Heraclitus and Schopenhauer, and drew much negative influence from many other thinkers, most notably Plato, Kant, and the Christian tradition, he does not belong to any tradition. Nietzsche is as much of an oddball as can be found among the great philosophers.
Nietzsche's key ideas consist of:
Nihilism and God is dead-Nihilism is the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more meaningful aspects of life. Nietzsche saw nihilism as the outcome of repeated frustrations in the search for meaning.
Christianity and Morality
Master morality and slave morality
Criticisms of anti semitism and nationality
Nietzsche's key texts include:
The Birth of Tragedy (1872)
The Gay Science (1882)
Beyond Good and Evil (1886)
The Case of Wagner (1888)
The Antichrist (1888)
Nietzsche contra Wagner (1888)