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Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy…

Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (original 1886; edition 1989)

by Friedrich Nietzsche

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Title:Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future
Authors:Friedrich Nietzsche
Info:Vintage (1989), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

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


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Least of the three most important Nietzsche works the advantage is the ability to add notes and annotations.
  gmicksmith | Mar 19, 2016 |
With a philosopher nothing at all is impersonal.
As an armchair Platonist, I had a personal aversion to Nietzsche, whose whole purpose in life seemed to be to overthrow Platonism. After reading "Beyond Good and Evil", however, my attitude changed from aversion to pity, that is, pity in the Nietzschean sense.

To illustrate what I think of Nietzsche and his relation to Plato, let me introduce a Chinese fictional/mythical character, Sun Wukong (孙悟空), also known as the Monkey King. The Monkey King challenged the authority of the gods, stormed their dwelling, The Heavenly Palace, and proclaimed himself an equal of the gods. They appealed to the Buddha for help, after repeatedly failing to subdue the Monkey King. The Buddha made a wager with the Monkey King, who could travel 108,000 miles with one somersault, that the latter could not jump out of the former's palm. In order to prove his power, the Monkey King traveled as far as he could, and reached what he thought were the Five Pillars of Heaven. When he returned to confront the Buddha, he learned, to his chagrin, that those pillars were actually the Buddha's fingers. He lost and was imprisoned by the Buddha under a mountain for 500 years.

An attentive reader would have no difficulty guessing at my meaning: Nietzsche was the Monkey King, Plato the Buddha.

Firstly, Plato derived the notion of an eternal cyclic nature of the universe long before Nietzsche stumbled upon it and gave it a different name, "eternal recurrence". Apparently, like the Monkey King, Nietzsche was not immune to self-deception and illusions of grandeur, when he claimed that his philosophy was new and free of metaphysical presumptions.

Secondly, there is nothing new to the idea of "order of rank" either. Plato made a division of classes in his Republic. Nietzsche seems to share Plato's contempt for democracy, which is based on the assumption of equality among man. Both would assert that some men are fit to rule and others to be ruled.

Thirdly, Christianity has long inculcated the notion that suffering is necessary for the character development of human beings. Nietzsche borrowed the idea again, without acknowledging the source.

Fourthly, Nietzsche's philosophy is not grounded in biological facts, but rather, it is another subjective interpretation with assumptions and leaps. To use his own simile, the text may have disappeared under the interpretation, but it is still there, and each interpretation shall be evaluated according to its relation to the original. The philosopher can no more place himself above the standard of good and evil, than a translator can place himself above the original.

Fifthly, the ancient Greek philosophers believed that the ultimate purpose of philosophy is the attainment of the Good and the True. Nietzsche rejected the notion as utilitarian and ignoble. What noble value did he create by will to power that would set him above those philosophers he satirized? None. ( )
  booksontrial | Oct 13, 2015 |
Two hundred pages of drivel, a rant against the establishment. Doesn't make a single assertion, only breaks out the glass in the five thousand year building of assertions. Then a wonderful closing chapter, "What is Noble," which might as well be called "The Virtue of Selfishness: A Prelude to [b:Ayn Rand|731031|Letters of Ayn Rand|Ayn Rand|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1387705805s/731031.jpg|717225]." I see a lot of inspiration there. ( )
  Victor_A_Davis | Sep 18, 2015 |
required reading in college. I got ignored by the professor as I ignored N as a blathering anti-semite. Little did I know how to read anti-jewishness as an intellectual category and a tool for analysis of a cultural trend. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
The book pretty much does what the title says, it does take you beyond good and evil, it does wash those dirty ideas ingrained in the mind since childhood. I can summarize the core of this work as "there is no good nor evil, only rules". ( )
  JorgeCarvajal | Feb 13, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Friedrich Nietzscheprimary authorall editionscalculated
Graftdijk, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaufmann, Walter ArnoldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
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!
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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Book description
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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679724656, Paperback)

Represents Nietzsche's attempt to sum up his philosophy. In nine parts the book is designed to give the reader a comprehensive idea of Nietzche's thought and style. With an inclusive index of subjects and persons.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:41 -0400)

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"Beyond Good and Evil is one of the most scathing and powerful critiques of philosophy, religion, science, politics, and ethics ever written. In it, Nietzsche presents a set of problems, criticisms, and philosophical challenges that continue both to inspire and to trouble contemporary thought. In addition, he offers his most subtle, detailed, and sophisticated account of the virtues, ideas, and practices which will characterize philosophy and philosophers of the future. With his relentlessly energetic style and tirelessly probing manner, Nietzsche embodies the type of thought he wants to foster, while defining its historical role and determining its agenda. This edition offers a new and readable translation, by Judith Norman, of one of the most influential texts in the history of philosophy, together with an introduction by Rolf-Peter Horstmann that sets it in its historical and philosophical context."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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