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

by Friedrich Nietzsche

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5,79238733 (3.89)54
Member:kingvonelk
Title:Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future
Authors:Friedrich Nietzsche
Info:Vintage (1989), Paperback, 288 pages
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Beyond good and evil : prelude to a philosophy of the future by Friedrich Nietzsche (1886)

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English (35)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  All languages (38)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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 |
(Disclaimer: I'm definitely not qualified to write this review.)

When I started secondary school, in our first history classes, every so often it would be mentioned that such and such a historical figure was racist, or sexist, or what have you. For a bunch of 12 year old girls, this was pretty shocking, and I remember my teacher having to silence us and remind us: "it's not fair to judge someone by the standards of our time".

I think there's a lot of sense in that idea, and this is what I tried to do with 'Beyond Good and Evil', but unfortunately, I found it impossible simply because Nietzsche's philosophy is deeply entrenched in 19th century European society -- remove that context and what he's saying won't make sense. And so, because a lot of his philosophy is deeply rooted in social hierarchy, misogyny and nationalism (even though I wouldn't say Nietzsche is hugely nationalistic himself by 19th century standards), 'Beyond Good and Evil' can be tasteless to someone with more contemporary values.

I don't doubt that Nietzsche was a genius, however. His deconstruction of Western philosophy is very impressive and he makes many valid criticisms of the likes of Descartes and Kant. I also can see that his work is incredibly influential, and (though I'm not well versed in philosophy) I gather that it's Nietzsche's influence that led to the more post-moral slant of modern philosophy.

Nietzsche brings forward a lot of excellent ideas, and is admirable in not shying away from controversy. He takes a more cynical view of human nature than (probably) was typical until that point, and this is seen in ideas such as the will to power and the notions of master and slave morality. However much or little we agree with these notions, they're daringly subversive, and I think that they've made their mark on contemporary thinking, on an everyday level as much as on a philosophical one.

Master and slave morality is itself one of the ideas that seems particularly tasteless to us, in spite of it having penetrated people's thinking -- we (hopefully!) don't see the world in terms of masters and slaves, or leaders and followers, or higher and lower anymore, at least not in the same way that Europe did in the 19th century. It's very unappealing to us to see the world in terms of noble versus downtrodden and victimised. At the same time, though, some of the ideas of master morality -- self-respect, self-righteousness, etc -- are widely accepted these days as positive ways of living.

I don't want to go on for too much longer, but I'll finish by saying that Nietzsche was a highly intelligent philosopher, and an astute observer of the world around him. I may be slightly unfair in criticising the tastelessness of his views, but I do think that his philosophy is inextricably linked with the attitudes of 19th century Europe. I did enjoy it on the whole, though, and in spite of the three-and-a-half stars, I think 'Beyond Good and Evil' is definitely a book worth reading and forming an opinion on!

And I'm sorry for this mess of a review. ( )
  Jane.Elinor | Feb 4, 2015 |
Such a wonderful book. Truly one that I find hard to put down. This is my night reader during a History MA, and it certainly keeps my mind busy and not worrying on about the day and its endless problems. The way Penguin have re-published the book is beautiful, and it really adds to the impact of the brain warming words within. A must read for anyone that enjoys philosophy, or just for something to put you to sleep at night. ( )
  Clancy.Coonradt | Jan 6, 2015 |
Walter Kaufmann's edition contained helpful notes on nearly every page, from translation issues and corrections, to references of Nietzsche's other work, to notes on relevant philosophers and cultural information, to explication of themes and common phrases. Based on the notes and corrections from earlier editions, I recommend this edition—the first translation of Beyond Good and Evil from a philosopher.

On the Prejudice of Philosophers

"They all pose as if they had discovered and reached their real opinions through the self-development of a cold, pure, divinely unconcerned dialectic (as opposed to the mystics of every rank, who are more honest and doltish—and talk of "inspiration"); while at bottom it is an assumption, a hunch, indeed a kind of "inspiration"—most often a desire of the heart that has been filtered and made abstract—that they defend with reasons they have sought after the fact. They are all advocates who resent that name, and for the most part even wily spokesmen for their prejudices which they baptize "truths"—and very far from having the courage of the conscience that admits this, precisely this, to itself; very far from having the good taste of the courage which also lets this be known, whether to warn an enemy of friend, or, from exuberance, to mock itself."

"[As soon as any philosophy begins to believe in itself] It always creates the world in its own image;it cannot do otherwise. Philosophy is this tyrannical drive itself, the most spiritual will to power, to the "creation of the world," to the *causa prima.*"

"The causa sui is the best self-contradiction that has been conceived so far. It is a sort of rape and perversion of logic. But the extravagant pride of man has managed to entangle itself profoundly and frightfully with just this nonsense. The desire for “freedom of the will” in the superlative metaphysical sense, which still holds sway, unfortunately, in the minds of the half-educated; the desire to bear the entire and ultimate responsibility for one’s actions oneself, and to absolve God, the world, ancestors, chance, and society involves nothing less than to be precisely this causa sui and, with more than Baron Münchhausen’s audacity, to pull oneself up into existence by the hair, out of the swamps of nothingness."

What is Religious

"It is the profound, suspicious fear of an incurable pessimism that forces whole millennia to bury their teeth in and cling to a religious interpretation of existence: the fear of that instinct which senses that on might get a hold of the truth *too soon*, before man has become strong enough, hard enough, artist enough."

"Perhaps nothing in Christianity or Buddhism is as venerable as their art of teaching even the lowliest how to place themselves through piety in an illusory higher order of things and thus to maintain their contentment with the real order, in which their life is hard enough—and precisely this hardness is necessary."

" . . . doesn't it seem that a single will dominated Europe for eighteen centuries—to turn man into a *sublime miscarriage*?"

Epigrams and Interludes

"The attraction of knowledge would be small if one did not have to overcome so much shame on the way."

"Sensuality often hastens the growth of love so much that the roots remain weak and are easily torn up."

"What a man *is* begins to betray itself when his talent decreases—when he stops showing what he *can do.* Talent, too, is finery; finery, too, is a hiding place."

"One seeks a midwife for his thoughts, another someone whom he can help: origin of a good conversation."

"The thought of suicide is a powerful comfort: it helps one through many a dreadful night."

We Scholars

"More and more it seems to me that the philosopher, being *of necessity* a man of tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, has always found himself, and *had* to find himself, in contradiction to his today: his enemy was ever the ideal of today."

Our Virtues

"The spirit's power to appropriate the foreign stands revealed in its inclination to assimilate the new to the old, to simplify the manifold and to overlook or repulse whatever is totally contradictory—just as it involuntarily emphasizes certain features and lines in what is foreign, in every piece of the "external world," retouching and falsifying the whole to suit itself."

What is Noble

"It is obvious that moral designations were everywhere first applied to *human beings* and later, derivatively, to actions. Therefore it is a gross mistake when historians of morality start from such questions as: why was the compassionate act praised?"

"The spiritual haughtiness and nausea of every man who has suffered profoundly—it almost determines the order of rank *how* profoundly human beings can suffer—his shuddering certainty, which permeates and colors him through and through, that by virtue of his suffering he *knows more* than the cleverest and wisest could possibly know, and that he knows his way and has once been "at home" in many distant, terrifying worlds of which "*you* know nothing"—this spiritual and silent haughtiness of the sufferer, this pride of the elect of knowledge, of the "initiated," of the almost sacrificed, finds all kinds of disguises necessary to protect itself against contact with obtrusive and pitying hands and altogether against everything that is not its equal in suffering." ( )
  gvenezia | Dec 26, 2014 |
One of the best audiobooks on Nietzsche I have ever come across. The author captures perfectly the wit, sarcasm and musicality of the writing. ( )
  byebyelibrary | Feb 26, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Friedrich Nietzscheprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Graftdijk, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaufmann, Walter ArnoldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Introduction:
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.
Preface:
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!
Quotations
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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Wikipedia in English (5)

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:34 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

"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)

(summary from another edition)

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