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Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a…

Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (1886)

by Friedrich Nietzsche

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7,36452803 (3.89)61
Nietzsche's mature masterpiece, Beyond Good and Evil considers the origins and nature of Judeo-Christian morality; the end of philosophical dogmatism and beginning of perspectivism; the questionable virtues of science and scholarship; liberal democracy, nationalism, and women's emancipation. A superb new translation by Marion Faber, this highly annotated edition is complemented by a lucid introduction by one of the most eminent of Nietzsche scholars, Robert C. Holub.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
The more one reads Nietzsche, the more one realizes that you can take out of it almost anything. And that is also the case with this book.

Of course, those who dedicate their lives or careers to study this critic (is there anything other than critiques in Nietzsche’s work?) will present a very voluminous defense about the direction one finds in this and other texts. As for my reading, I find the opposite. Not only the text follows whatever whims Nietzsche was under at the moment of writing, his pretentious outlook sometimes gets one too tired; the same with this arrogance or his know it all attitude.

Nevertheless, this, as other of his works, is a book that is worth its reading. Some of the insights contained here and there on this book (and elsewhere) make you understand why Nietzsche is such a powerful figure in philosophy and as a social critic. In case of doubt, give it a try. ( )
  adsicuidade | Sep 8, 2018 |
The other evening, a few pages from the end of this work, I fell asleep listening to Alan Watts lecturing on virtues. I find it difficult to articulate the connection to Nietzsche, but what I comprehended as I awoke, while being in a state not dissimilar to that of Debussy's faun, was this rough recollection: You cannot be virtuous. If you become virtuous and you are aware of being virtuous, then you are prideful and thus no longer virtuous. Virtues are not self-conscious, and you cannot consciously be virtuous. Breathing is a virtue. You don't think about it, you are not responsible for it, it happens 'un-self-consciously'. That is virtue. I understand that Alan Watts was discussing elements of Eastern philosophy, but Nietzsche mentions Eastern philosophy numerous times. Following Mortimer Adler's guidance in How to Read a Book, I now take notes in pencil in the margins of my books. This rather short book is full of notations; Latin, French, Greek, German, and Italian words and phrases; class consciousness, waiting too long to display one's genius, "the herd"; the Will to Power; morality; and so on. Too much to summarise here appropriately. But I read in Nietzsche a critique of mediocrity, and it provides me with an awakening to the class-based cringe that has been highlighted by my reading and study over the years. Alan Watts said something like being self-conscious won't help one to be virtuous. Benjamin Franklin wrote that although he worked to consciously improve himself, using his 13-week virtues checklist, he was aware that he could never be perfect. If I take into account Nietzsche's critique of the herd morality and religion, and the privilege of rank and the position adopted by others in relation to my lowly class-based existence (which doesn't manifest itself in any meaningful way outside my own head), then the idea of "beyond good and evil" makes some intuitive sense. Nonetheless, I am far from articulating Nietzsche's ideas beyond what I can grasp from a handful of his work. I may take some solace in that Franklin couldn't be virtuous, that Adler tells me there is nothing wrong with interpreting my reading without the aid of others, that Nietzsche writes much like La Rochefoucauld, and that he thought the Stoics were wrong. This is interesting because the Stoics advocated "living according to one's nature". As it is so natural, then how can one "will" oneself to live in a way that is predestined? This is one of the most helpful explanations of the deductive method! On flicking back through my notes, two things are noticeable. First, the race elements the Nazis picked up on (thanks to Nietzsche's sister, I believe). This is no worse than Jack London, writing not that long after Nietzsche and I encountered parts that wouldn't fit with Nazism. Second, the attitude towards women. This was written before universal suffrage, but clearly, Nietzsche was no John Stuart Mill. Indeed, Nietzsche was a critic of utilitarianism. I will finish with this quote on scholars and artists (I had heavily underlined it while reading - there is always a pencil on hand these days), one that brings together in Nietzsche's words what I felt in my "faunish" moment while listening to Alan Watts (pp. 142-3):One finds nowadays among artists and scholars plenty of those who betray by their works that a profound longing for nobleness impels them; but this very need of nobleness is radically different from the needs of the noble soul itself, and is in fact the eloquent and dangerous sign of the lack thereof. It is not the works, but the belief which is here decisive and determines the order of rank - to employ once more an old religious formula with a new and deeper meaning - it is some fundamental certainty which a noble soul has about itself, something which is not to be sought, is not to be found, and perhaps, also, is not to be lost. -The noble soul has reverence for itself. It would seem that it is "beyond good and evil". ( )
  madepercy | Feb 28, 2018 |
As that it is Nietzsche writing, my opinions no doubt conflict with his philosophy, perhaps because I write in the relative safety of the twenty-first century. That said, I found Beyond Good and Evil as Nietzsche at his most palpable, and least offensive. While this is also Nietzsche's most refined work, and perhaps his shortest published book, Beyond Good and Evil lives up to the terms of its title; aside from perhaps The Genealogy of Morals, this comprises the most direct accusation of morality from Nietzsche.

Most philosophical reading is in the eyes of the reader. For instance, I like the writing styles of Marx and Rousseau, since they are far more specific, and Nietzsche is deliberately rebelling against this writing style. Because of Nietzsche's continuous logical inconsistency, and aphoristic writing style, I sometimes have to force myself to read through Nietzsche. Even so, Beyond Good and Evil was at times an entertaining read. If you're trying to understand the whole Nietzsche, this book ALONE wont' suffice, but I found it to be more palpable than some of his other works. ( )
  MarchingBandMan | Nov 14, 2017 |
Not exactly the best introduction to the work of Nietzsche.

This text is a set of nine chapters subdivided into 290 sections with various pontifications by the noted German philosopher. I did not detect a lot of coherence throughout. I get that Nietzsche has strong opinions. I get that he is not a fan of the British. I get he would not be a fan of all that feminism has wrought.

Apparently, in the midst of all of these declarations and many more, Nietzsche is critiquing the basis of all modern morality and exposing it all as the Will to Power; he takes down the philosophers; he overthrows religion, condemning its love of suffering, considering the OT of greater value than the NT; having little love for the ethos of Jesus. At the very end he confesses his great love for Dionysus and all he represents.

He found value in the Jews and condemned antisemitism...all the more ironic since the Nazis found plenty to love in Nietzsche's philosophy in general.

If this is representative of Nietzschean thought...man, the guy needed an editor. Unless, of course, clearly set forth and coherently argued premises is also something he's against. Wouldn't surprise me. ( )
  deusvitae | Sep 30, 2017 |
Least of the three most important Nietzsche works the advantage is the ability to add notes and annotations.
  gmicksmith | Mar 19, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (249 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Friedrich Nietzscheprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cowan, MarianneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gebhard, WalterAfterword, Chronology, Bibliographysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graftdijk, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaufmann, Walter ArnoldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zimmern, HelenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Beyond Good and Evil is one of the greatest books by a very great thinker, and like all such books it is very difficult, all the more so for not seeming to be.
Supposing that Truth is a woman—what then? (Zimmern trans.)
1. The Will to Truth, which is to tempt us to many a hazardous enterprise, the famous Truthfulness of which all philosophers have hitherto spoken with respect, what questions has this Will to Truth not laid before us!
Introduction (Cowan ed.): Nietzsche has always been more popular with ordinary people than with professional philosophers and among ordinary people it has been chiefly the young who kept his memory alive.
Preface (Cowan trans.): Supposing that Truth is a woman—well, now, is there not some foundation for suspecting that all philosophers, insofar as they were dogmatists, have not known how to handle women?
Digressions, objections, delight in mockery, carefree mistrust are signs of health; everything unconditional belongs in pathology.
Poets are shameless with their experiences: they exploit them.
He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil.
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The original German title is “Jenseits von Gut und Böse; Vorspiel einer Philosophie der Zukunft’.
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Friedrich Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, first published in 1886, presents a scathing critique of traditional morality and attacks previous philosophers for their blind acceptance of Christian ideals of virtue. As an alternative to what he viewed as the illogical and irrelevant philosophy of the nineteenth century, Nietzsche argues for the importance of imagination, self-assertion, danger, and originality for genuine philosophy. He furthermore denies the existence of a universal system of morality and instead offers a framework in which social roles and power dynamics dictate what is appropriate. A culmination of Nietzsche's mature philosophy, Beyond Good and Evil is a classic of moral thought and one of the foundations of existentialism. This edition is the translation by Helen Zimmern.
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