Article

Friedrich Nietzsche

Brian Leiter

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online May 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0081
Friedrich Nietzsche

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Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) is one of the major figures of 19th-century European philosophy, whose influence on 20th-century thought was rivaled only by Marx. Trained as a classical scholar of antiquity, he was forced by ill health into an early retirement from his academic career while still in his thirties. Until his mental and physical collapse in early 1889, he spent his time writing his most celebrated works (including Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil, and On the Genealogy of Morality) while living in various inns in Italy, France, and Switzerland. Little recognized during his productive lifetime, by the time of his death in 1900 he was quickly becoming the most influential figure in European intellectual life. His scathing attack on morality, his penetrating psychological insights into human behavior, and his startling views about truth and knowledge, all presented in some of the most brilliant and memorable prose ever written by a philosopher, made Nietzsche one of the most important intellectual forces with which to be reckoned at the dawn of the 20th century. Freud, Hesse, Gide, Mann, and Heidegger were among his admirers, and political movements of every stripe—anarchist, socialist, and fascist—all claimed the mantle of his influence. The political triumph of Nazism, and the efforts of his proto-Nazi sister to align him with its cause, tainted his reputation: illiberal and anti-egalitarian, to be sure, Nietzsche was also an enemy of nationalism and capitalism, which he saw as fatal obstacles to the realization of human genius and cultural excellence. In the post-World War II era, Nietzsche gradually reemerged as a thinker of profound importance, read variously as a forerunner of existentialism, post-structuralism, and philosophical naturalism, among other philosophical movements.

Article.  7537 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

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