The Greatest Danger?

Ruth Abbey

in Nietzsche's Middle Period

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780195134087
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199785766 | DOI:
 The Greatest Danger?

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Just as he points to the power of egoism, so Friedrich Nietzsche is notorious for being a critic of pity. This chapter explores the dangers he detects in pity and its cognate emotions such as sympathy, empathy, and benevolence, in the middle period writings. The commonplace view that Nietzsche holds all such drives in contempt is questioned by a careful study of the middle period’s more nuanced portrayals of these emotions. While Nietzsche condemns the Christian-inspired morality of pity, he does not see all manifestations of fellow-feeling as base or spurious. The influence of La Rochefoucauld’s analysis of pity is discussed, and Nietzsche’s reflections of how to react to the suffering of a friend are also explored.

Keywords: Nietzsche; egoism; pity; sympathy; empathy; benevolence; La Rochefoucauld; suffering

Chapter.  7535 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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