When Professor Anderson of Berkeley's History 5 (European history from 1453 until today) reached the 19th century and held a lecture about Romanticism, there was a short address for Friedrich Nietzsche also. For one who has never read Nietzsche and only vaguely knows what his writings are about, Anderson's representation may easily cause a dismissal. Nietzsche seems a self-obsessed, indulging and contrary thinker and most of all, some kind of fad the Germans got infatuated with way in the past. If one takes on philosophy podcasts, the impression should arise Nietzsche is still very relevant today, if alone because there is ample attention.
Another course on Berkeley, Hubert Dreyfus's Philosophy 7 (Existentialism in Literature and Film), has Nietzsche dominantly figuring. Dreyfus is more inclined to follow the likes of Kierkegaard, but Nietzsche is not to be dismissed. If this course is a little hard to follow, as far as Nietzsche is concerned, as usual, Philosophy Bites brings relief. There were two issues recently: Nietzsche on Morality and Nietzsche on Art and Truth both of which give a very clear and succinct access to the philosopher's works and thinking. One can also listen on podcast to Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil on Librivox (feed).
Even if Nietzsche continues to come across as indulging and contrary, one comes to understand his literary qualities and the immense impact, if importance, of his contrary thinking. It is not the one philosophical concept of his, but rather his style, his method and the effect it results that continues to influence modern thinking. There is no one stand to be discovered in his writings, but he does question the most fundamental truisms of our culture in such a provocative way, one must react. Listen to Nietzsche on Morality on Philosophy Bites and confront for example the proposition that morality is an invention of the weak and therefore of low value. How can one shrug at this? Even if you are not a philosopher and maybe not pondering, even for a moment, there might be some merit in this idea, you will feel pressed to counter it.
(Picture: The ill Nietzsche by Hans Olde - Wikimedia commons)
More Philosophy Bites
Life on the Scales,
The History of Holland.
More Philosophy 7
Hiroshima mon amour,