Ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche, by Theme

[German, 1844 - 1900, Born at Röcken. Son of Lutheran pastor. Young professor of philology at University of Basel. Insane for the last ten years of his life.]

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1. Philosophy / A. Wisdom / 1. Nature of Wisdom
Wisdom prevents us from being ruled by the moment
Suffering is the meaning of existence
The highest wisdom has the guise of simplicity
But what is the reasoning of the body, that it requires the wisdom you seek?
'Wisdom' attempts to get beyond perspectives, which is hostile to life
Seeking wisdom beyond our different perspectives is decadent and anti-life
1. Philosophy / A. Wisdom / 2. Wise People
Don't use wisdom in order to become clever!
Unlike science, true wisdom involves good taste
The wisest man is full of contradictions, and attuned to other people, with occasional harmony
1. Philosophy / B. History of Ideas / 2. Ancient Thought
All intelligent Romans were Epicureans
1. Philosophy / B. History of Ideas / 4. Early European Thought
Judging by the positive forces, the Renaissance was the last great age
1. Philosophy / C. History of Philosophy / 2. Ancient Philosophy / b. Pre-Socratic philosophy
I revere Heraclitus
1. Philosophy / C. History of Philosophy / 2. Ancient Philosophy / c. Classical philosophy
Thucydides was the perfect anti-platonist sophist
1. Philosophy / C. History of Philosophy / 4. Later European Philosophy / d. Nineteenth century philosophy
Early 19th century German philosophers enjoyed concepts, rather than scientific explanations
Carlyle spent his life vainly trying to make reason appear romantic
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 1. Philosophy
Nietzsche thinks philosophy makes us more profound, but not better
Great philosophies are confessions by the author, growing out of moral intentions
Philosophy begins in the horror and absurdity of existence
Thinking has to be learned in the way dancing has to be learned
A warlike philosopher challenges problems to single combat
I don't want to persuade anyone to be a philosopher; they should be rare plants
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 2. Invocation to Philosophy
Philosophy ennobles the world, by producing an artistic conception of our knowledge
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 4. Aims of Philosophy / a. Philosophy as worldly
The first aim of a philosopher is a life, not some works
You should only develop a philosophy if you are willing to live by it
Philosophy is pointless if it does not advocate, and live, a new way of life
The main aim of philosophy must be to determine the order of rank among values
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 5. Hopes for Philosophy
Philosophy is more valuable than much of science, because of its beauty
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 6. Despair over Philosophy
It would better if there was no thought
Why do people want philosophers?
Philosophy is always secondary, because it cannot support a popular culture
Deep thinkers know that they are always wrong
What we think is totally dictated by the language available to express it
How many mediocre thinkers are occupied with influential problems!
Words such as 'I' and 'do' and 'done to' are placed at the point where our ignorance begins
Pessimism is laughable, because the world cannot be evaluated
Is a 'philosopher' now impossible, because knowledge is too vast for an overview?
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 7. Humour
Comedy is a transition from fear to exuberance
Reject wisdom that lacks laughter
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 2. Possibility of Metaphysics
Metaphysics divided the old unified Greek world into two
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 5. Metaphysics as Conceptual
Nietzsche has a metaphysics, as well as perspectives - the ontology is the perspectives
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 6. Against Metaphysics
Kant has undermined our belief in metaphysics
1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 2. Conceptual Analysis
Philosophers should create and fight for their concepts, not just clean and clarify them
1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 4. Ordinary Language
Grammar only reveals popular metaphysics
1. Philosophy / G. Scientific Philosophy / 3. Scientism
If philosophy controls science, then it has to determine its scope, and its value
Scientific knowledge is nothing without a prior philosophical 'faith'
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 5. Objectivity
Could not the objective character of things be merely a difference of degree within the subjective?
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 7. Status of Reason
Reason is a mere idiosyncrasy of a certain species of animal
Reason is just another organic drive, developing late, and fighting for equality
I want to understand the Socratic idea that 'reason equals virtue equals happiness'
The fanatical rationality of Greek philosophy shows that they were in a state of emergency
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 9. Limits of Reason
What can be 'demonstrated' is of little worth
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 3. Non-Contradiction
Our inability to both affirm and deny a single thing is merely an inability, not a 'necessity'
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 6. Ockham's Razor
Everything simple is merely imaginary
2. Reason / C. Styles of Reason / 1. Dialectic
With dialectics the rabble gets on top
2. Reason / D. Definition / 3. Types of Definition
Only that which has no history is definable
2. Reason / E. Argument / 6. Conclusive Proof
Anything which must first be proved is of little value
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 3. Value of Truth
Truth finds fewest champions not when it is dangerous, but when it is boring
Why should truth be omnipotent? It is enough that it is very powerful
Why do we want truth, rather than falsehood or ignorance? The value of truth is a problem
Truth was given value by morality, but eventually turned against its own source
One must never ask whether truth is useful
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 4. Uses of Truth
Like animals, we seek truth because we want safety
'Truth' is the will to be master over the multiplicity of sensations
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 7. Falsehood
To love truth, you must know how to lie
Only because there is thought is there untruth
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 8. Subjective Truth
True beliefs are those which augment one's power
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 9. Rejecting Truth
The truth is what gives us the minimum of spiritual effort, and avoids the exhaustion of lying
3. Truth / D. Coherence Truth / 1. Coherence Truth
Judgements can't be true and known in isolation; the only surety is in connections and relations
5. Theory of Logic / A. Overview of Logic / 3. Value of Logic
Logic is just slavery to language
Logic tries to understand the world according to a man-made scheme
Logic must falsely assume that identical cases exist
Logic is not driven by truth, but desire for a simple single viewpoint
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 3. Numbers / o. Units
We need 'unities' for reckoning, but that does not mean they exist
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 9. Fictional Mathematics
Logic and maths refer to fictitious entities which we have created
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / c. Becoming
We Germans value becoming and development more highly than mere being of what 'is'
Nietzsche resists nihilism through new values, for a world of becoming, without worship
The nature of being, of things, is much easier to understand than is becoming
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / e. Being and nothing
The 'real being' of things is a nothingness constructed from contradictions in the actual world
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / h. Dasein (being human)
We get the concept of 'being' from the concept of the 'ego'
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 6. Fundamentals / c. Monads
If some sort of experience is at the root of matter, then human knowledge is close to its essence
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 1. Realism
We can't be realists, because we don't know what being is
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 3. Anti-realism
The grounds for an assertion that the world is only apparent actually establish its reality
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 4. Naturalism
First see nature as non-human, then fits ourselves into this view of nature
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 7. Facts / d. Facts rejected
There are no facts in themselves, only interpretations
There are no 'facts-in-themselves', since a sense must be projected into them to make them 'facts'
7. Existence / E. Categories / 5. Category Anti-Realism
Categories are not metaphysical truths, but inventions in the service of needs
Philosophers find it particularly hard to shake off belief in necessary categories
Nihilism results from valuing the world by the 'categories of reason', because that is fiction
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 12. Denial of Properties
We realise that properties are sensations of the feeling subject, not part of the thing
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 1. Powers
Storms are wonderful expressions of free powers!
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 5. Powers and Properties
A thing has no properties if it has no effect on other 'things'
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 6. Nihilism about Objects
Maybe there are only subjects, and 'objects' result from relations between subjects
Counting needs unities, but that doesn't mean they exist; we borrowed it from the concept of 'I'
In language we treat 'ego' as a substance, and it is thus that we create the concept 'thing'
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 1. Unifying an Object / c. Unity as conceptual
We saw unity in things because our ego seemed unified (but now we doubt the ego!)
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 3. Individual Essences
We begin with concepts of kinds, from individuals; but that is not the essence of individuals
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 15. Against Essentialism
The essence of a thing is only an opinion about the 'thing'
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 2. Nature of Necessity
Something can be irrefutable; that doesn't make it true
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 11. Denial of Necessity
There are no necessary truths, but something must be held to be true
For me, a priori 'truths' are just provisional assumptions
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 1. Knowledge
We can't know whether there is knowledge if we don't know what it is
The strength of knowledge is not its truth, but its entrenchment in our culture
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 3. Value of Knowledge
Most people treat knowledge as a private possession
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 4. Belief / a. Beliefs
Belief matters more than knowledge, and only begins when knowledge ceases
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 4. Belief / c. Aim of beliefs
Every belief is a considering-something-true
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 5. Aiming at Truth
Philosophers have never asked why there is a will to truth in the first place
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 7. Knowledge First
We can't use our own self to criticise our own capacity for knowledge!
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 1. Certainty
Being certain presumes that there are absolute truths, and means of arriving at them
A note for asses: What convinces is not necessarily true - it is merely convincing
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 6. Cogito Critique
Belief in the body is better established than belief in the mind
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 1. Perceptual Realism / b. Direct realism
It always remains possible that the world just is the way it appears
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 7. A Priori from Convention
The forms of 'knowledge' about logic which precede experience are actually regulations of belief
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 1. Perception
We became incresingly conscious of our sense impressions in order to communicate them
All sense perceptions are permeated with value judgements (useful or harmful)
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 5. Interpretation
Sense perceptions contain values (useful, so pleasant)
Pain shows the value of the damage, not what has been damaged
Perception is unconscious, and we are only conscious of processed perceptions
We see an approximation of a tree, not the full detail
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 6. Inference in Perception
The evidence of the senses is falsified by reason
12. Knowledge Sources / C. Rationalism / 1. Rationalism
The desire for a complete system requires making the weak parts look equal to the rest
Wanting a system in philosophy is a lack of integrity
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 5. Empiricism Critique
We can have two opposite sensations, like hard and soft, at the same time
12. Knowledge Sources / E. Direct Knowledge / 1. Intuition
Intuition only recognises what is possible, not what exists or is certain
12. Knowledge Sources / E. Direct Knowledge / 3. Memory
We may be unable to remember, but we may never actually forget
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 2. Pragmatic justification
We have no organ for knowledge or truth; we only 'know' what is useful to the human herd
We shouldn't object to a false judgement, if it enhances and preserves life
13. Knowledge Criteria / D. Scepticism / 1. Scepticism
Our knowledge is illogical, because it rests on false identities between things
The most extreme scepticism is when you even give up logic
Epicurus denied knowledge in order to retain morality or hedonism as the highest values
13. Knowledge Criteria / E. Relativism / 1. Relativism
We assume causes, geometry, motion, bodies etc to live, but they haven't been proved
There is only 'perspective' seeing and knowing, and so the best objectivity is multiple points of view
The extreme view is there are only perspectives, no true beliefs, because there is no true world
13. Knowledge Criteria / E. Relativism / 3. Subjectivism
Nietzsche's perspectivism says our worldview depends on our personality
Comprehending everything is impossible, because it abolishes perspectives
Is the perspectival part of the essence, or just a relation between beings?
'Subjectivity' is an interpretation, since subjects (and interpreters) are fictions
'Perspectivism': the world has no meaning, but various interpretations give it countless meanings
There are different eyes, so different 'truths', so there is no truth
13. Knowledge Criteria / E. Relativism / 4. Cultural relativism
Reality becomes a problem when we compare many moralities
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 1. Scientific Theory
There is no one scientific method; we must try many approaches, and many emotions
14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / b. Aims of explanation
Explanation is just showing the succession of things ever more clearly
14. Science / D. Explanation / 3. Best Explanation / b. Ultimate explanation
If we find a hypothesis that explains many things, we conclude that it explains everything
14. Science / D. Explanation / 4. Explanation Doubts / b. Rejecting explanation
Any explanation will be accepted as true if it gives pleasure and a feeling of power
15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 1. Mind / b. Purpose of mind
The intellect and senses are a simplifying apparatus
15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 5. Unity of Mind
With protoplasm ½+½=2, so the soul is not an indivisible monad
Unity is not in the conscious 'I', but in the organism, which uses the self as a tool
It is a major blunder to think of consciousness as a unity, and hence as an entity, a thing
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / d. Purpose of consciousness
Only the need for communication has led to consciousness developing
Consciousness exists to the extent that consciousness is useful
Consciousness is a 'tool' - just as the stomach is a tool
All of our normal mental life could be conducted without conscious
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / e. Cause of consciousness
Only our conscious thought is verbal, and this shows the origin of consciousness
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 2. Unconscious Mind
Most of our lives, even the important parts, take place outside of consciousness
Whatever moves into consciousness becomes thereby much more superficial
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 1. Faculties
Our primary faculty is perception of structure, as when looking in a mirror
Kant's only answer as to how synthetic a priori judgements are possible was that we have a 'faculty'!
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 3. Abstraction by mind
Leaves are unequal, but we form the concept 'leaf' by discarding their individual differences
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 5. Generalisation by mind
The 'highest' concepts are the most general and empty concepts
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 9. Perceiving Causation
We experience causation between willing and acting, and thereby explain conjunctions of changes
16. Persons / A. Concept of a Person / 1. Existence of Persons
There are no 'individual' persons; we are each the sum of humanity up to this moment
16. Persons / B. Concept of the Self / 1. Essential Self
The ranking of a person's innermost drives reveals their true nature
16. Persons / B. Concept of the Self / 6. Denial of the Self
The 'I' is a conceptual synthesis, not the governor of our being
The 'I' is a fiction used to make the world of becoming 'knowable'
Perhaps we are not single subjects, but a multiplicity of 'cells', interacting to create thought
16. Persons / C. Self-Awareness / 1. Introspection
We think each thought causes the next, unaware of the hidden struggle beneath
16. Persons / C. Self-Awareness / 2. Self-Knowledge
Just as skin hides the horrors of the body, vanity conceals the passions of the soul
Things are the boundaries of humanity, so all things must be known, for self-knowledge
Great self-examination is to become conscious of oneself not as an individual, but as mankind
16. Persons / C. Self-Awareness / 3. Undetectable Self
'Know thyself' is impossible and ridiculous
Our knowledge of the many drives that constitute us is hopelessly incomplete
16. Persons / D. Self and Body / 5. Role of the Body
Forget the word 'I'; 'I' is performed by the intelligence of your body
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 1. Free Will / c. Free will critique
Wanting 'freedom of will' is wanting to pull oneself into existence out of the swamp of nothingness by one's own hair
'Freedom of will' is the feeling of having a dominating force
Philosophers invented "free will" so that our virtues would be permanently interesting to the gods
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 2. Free Will Theories / a. Fate
People used to think that outcome's were from God, rather than consequences of acts
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 2. Free Will Theories / b. Determinism
A thought comes when 'it' wants, not when 'I' want
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 6. Epiphenomenalism
Consciousness is a terminal phenomenon, and causes nothing
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 8. Dualism of Mind Critique
It is just madness to think that the mind is supernatural (or even divine!)
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 1. Thought
People who think in words are orators rather than thinkers, and think about facts instead of thinking facts
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 6. Rationality
Rationality is a scheme we cannot cast away
18. Thought / B. Mechanics of Thought / 1. Psychology
It is psychology which reveals the basic problems
19. Language / F. Communication / 1. Rhetoric
It is essential that wise people learn to express their wisdom, possibly even as foolishness
20. Action / A. Definition of Action / 1. Action Theory
It is a delusion to separate the man from the deed, like the flash from the lightning
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / a. Will to Act
The big error is to think the will is a faculty producing effects; in fact, it is just a word
The will is constantly frustrated by the past
The concept of the 'will' is just a false simplification by our understanding
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / b. Volitionism
There is no such things a pure 'willing' on its own; the aim must always be part of it
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / d. Weakness of will
There is no will; weakness of will is splitting of impulses, strong will is coordination under one impulse
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / b. Intellectualism
The 'motive' is superficial, and may even hide the antecedents of a deed
People always do what they think is right, according to the degree of their intellect
Our judgment seems to cause our nature, but actually judgment arises from our nature
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 4. Responsibility for Actions
Actions done for a purpose are least understood, because we complacently think it's obvious
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 2. Aesthetic Attitude
Experiencing a thing as beautiful is to experience it wrongly
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 3. Beauty
Beauty in art is the imitation of happiness
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 4. Natural Beauty
Beautiful never stands alone; it derives from man's pleasure in man
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 6. Taste
Why are the strong tastes of other people so contagious?
21. Aesthetics / B. Nature of Art / 5. Art as Expression
Artists are not especially passionate, but they pretend to be
21. Aesthetics / B. Nature of Art / 8. The Arts / a. Music
Without music life would be a mistake
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 1. Nature of Value / c. Means and ends
Knowledge, wisdom and goodness only have value relative to a goal
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 1. Nature of Value / e. Subjective value
All evaluation is from some perspective, and aims at survival
The ruling drives of our culture all want to be the highest court of our values
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / a. Valuing life
Value judgements about life can never be true
In every age the wisest people have judged life to be worthless
Human beings are not majestic, either through divine origins, or through grand aims
When we establish values, that is life itself establishing them, through us
A philosopher fails in wisdom if he thinks the value of life is a problem
The value of life cannot be estimated
To evaluate life one must know it, but also be situated outside of it
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / b. Altruism
No one has ever done anything that was entirely for other people
Altruism is praised by the egoism of the weak, who want everyone to be looked after
How can it be that I should prefer my neighbour to myself, but he should prefer me to himself?
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / c. Love
Fear reveals the natures of other people much more clearly than love does
We only really love children and work
Love is the spiritualisation of sensuality
Friendly chats undermine my philosophy; wanting to be right at the expense of love is folly
Simultaneous love and respect are impossible; love has no separation or rank, but respect admits power
Marriage is too serious to be permitted for people in love!
Marriage upholds the idea that love, though a passion, can endure
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / d. Fine deeds
We get enormous pleasure from tales of noble actions
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / e. Self interest
The distinction between egoistic and non-egoistic acts is absurd
A living being is totally 'egoistic'
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 1. Goodness / c. Right and good
Morality originally judged people, and actions only later on
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 1. Goodness / d. Good as virtue
A good human will be virtuous because they are happy
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 1. Goodness / g. Consequentialism
In the earliest phase of human history only consequences mattered
Utilitarians prefer consequences because intentions are unknowable - but so are consequences!
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 1. Goodness / i. Moral luck
Punishment has distorted the pure innocence of the contingency of outcomes
A bad result distorts one's judgement about the virtue of what one has done
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 2. Happiness / a. Nature of happiness
Modest people express happiness as 'Not bad'
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 2. Happiness / c. Value of happiness
It is a sign of degeneration when eudaimonistic values begin to prevail
I want my work, not happiness!
We have no more right to 'happiness' than worms
Only the English actually strive after happiness
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 2. Happiness / d. Routes to happiness
We can only achieve happy moments, not happy eras
The only happiness is happiness with illusion
The shortest path to happiness is forgetfulness, the path of animals (but of little value)
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 3. Pleasure / a. Nature of pleasure
Pleasure needs dissatisfaction, boundaries and resistances
Pleasure and pain are mere epiphenomena, and achievement requires that one desire both
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / a. Preconditions for ethics
Healthy morality is dominated by an instinct for life
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / b. Defining ethics
Morality is a system of values which accompanies a being's life
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / d. Ethical theory
The very idea of a critique of morality is regarded as immoral!
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / f. Ethical non-cognitivism
Morality is merely interpretations, which are extra-moral in origin
There are no moral phenomena, only interpretations, which have a non-moral basis
Philosophers hate values having an origin, and want values to be self-sufficient
There are no moral facts, and moralists believe in realities which do not exist
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / g. Moral responsibility
The doctrine of free will has been invented essentially in order to blame and punish people
None of the ancients had the courage to deny morality by denying free will
The history of morality rests on an error called 'responsibility', which rests on an error called 'free will'
Ceasing to believe in human responsibility is bitter, if you had based the nobility of humanity on it
It is absurd to blame nature and necessity; we should no more praise actions than we praise plants or artworks
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / h. Against ethics
We must question the very value of moral values
Morality prevents us from developing better customs
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / a. Idealistic ethics
The most boring and dangerous of all errors is Plato's invention of pure spirit and goodness
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / b. Rational ethics
Intellect is tied to morality, because it requires good memory and powerful imagination
Philosophy grasps the limits of human reason, and values are beyond it
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / c. Ethical intuitionism
Why do you listen to the voice of your conscience?
'Conscience' is invented to value actions by intention and conformity to 'law', rather than consequences
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / d. Biological ethics
We created meanings, to maintain ourselves
Our values express an earlier era's conditions for survival and growth
Values are innate and inherited
Nietzsche felt that Plato's views downgraded the human body and its brevity of life
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / e. Human nature
Each person has a fixed constitution, which makes them a particular type of person
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / f. Übermensch
Noble people feels themselves the determiners of values
Originally it was the rulers who requited good for good and evil for evil who were called 'good'
Higher human beings see and hear far more than others, and do it more thoughtfully
The noble man wants new virtues; the good man preserves what is old
The superman is a monstrous oddity, not a serious idea
Nietzsche's higher type of man is much more important than the idealised 'superman'
The concept of 'good' was created by aristocrats to describe their own actions
There is an extended logic to a great man's life, achieved by a sustained will
The highest man can endure and control the greatest combination of powerful drives
The highest man directs the values of the highest natures over millenia
Christianity is at war with the higher type of man, and excommunicates his basic instincts
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / g. Will to power
The 'will to power' is basically applied to drives and forces, not to people
All animals strive for the ideal conditions to express their power, and hate any hindrances
There is a conspiracy (a will to power) to make morality dominate other values, like knowledge and art
The basic tendency of the weak has always been to pull down the strong, using morality
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / h. Expressivism
Moral feelings are entirely different from the moral concepts used to judge actions
Treating morality as feelings is just obeying your ancestors
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / j. Ethics by convention
That which is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil
23. Ethics / A. Egoism / 1. Ethical Egoism
Egoism is inescapable, and when it grows weak, the power of love also grows weak
Nietzsche rejects impersonal morality, and asserts the idea of living well
The question about egoism is: what kind of ego? since not all egos are equal
The noble soul has reverence for itself
People do nothing for their real ego, but only for a phantom ego created by other people
Only the decline of aristocratic morality led to concerns about "egoism"
The ego is only a fiction, and doesn't exist at all
A wholly atruistic morality, with no egoism, is a thoroughly bad thing
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 1. Contractarianism
Basic justice is the negotiation of agreement among equals, and the imposition of agreement
A masterful and violent person need have nothing to do with contracts
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 2. Golden Rule
The Golden Rule prohibits harmful actions, with the premise that actions will be requited
If you feel to others as they feel to themselves, you must hate a self-hater
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / a. Nature of virtue
The great error is to think that happiness derives from virtue, which in turn derives from free will
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / b. Basis of virtue
First morality is force, then custom, then acceptance, then instinct, then a pleasure - and finally 'virtue'
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / c. Particularism
No two actions are the same
Moralities extravagantly address themselves to 'all', when they never generalise
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / d. Virtue theory critique
You are mastered by your own virtues, but you must master them, and turn them into tools
Many virtues are harmful traps, but that is why other people praise them
Virtue has been greatly harmed by the boringness of its advocates
Virtue is wasteful, as it reduces us all to being one another's nurse
Virtue for everyone removes its charm of being exceptional and aristocratic
Virtues must be highly personal; if not, it is merely respect for a concept
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / b. Living naturally
Nature is totally indifferent, so you should try to be different from it, not live by it
Not "return to nature", for there has never yet been a natural humanity.
'Love your enemy' is unnatural, for the natural law says 'love your neighbour and hate your enemy'
Be natural! But how, if one happens to be "unnatural"?
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / c. Motivation for virtue
The 'good' man does the moral thing as if by nature, easily and gladly, after a long inheritance
We would avoid a person who always needed reasons for remaining decent
Virtue is pursued from self-interest and prudence, and reduces people to non-entities
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / e. Character
What does not kill us makes us stronger
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / f. The Mean
The instinct of the herd, the majority, aims for the mean, in the middle
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / a. Virtues
Courage, compassion, insight, solitude are the virtues, with courtesy a necessary vice
Many virtues are merely restraints on the most creative qualities of a human being
All societies of good men give a priority to gratitude
Unlike us, the early Greeks thought envy was a good thing, and hope a bad thing
The Jews treated great anger as holy, and were in awe of those who expressed it
Christianity replaces rational philosophical virtues with great passions focused on God
Honesty is a new young virtue, and we can promote it, or not
Virtues can destroy one another, through jealousy
The cardinal virtues want us to be honest, brave, magnanimous and polite
A path to power: to introduce a new virtue under the name of an old one
The four virtues are courage, insight, sympathy, solitude
Modesty, industriousness, benevolence and temperance are the virtues of a good slave
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / c. Justice
Justice (fairness) originates among roughly equal powers (as the Melian dialogues show)
When powerless one desires freedom; if power is too weak, one desires equal power ('justice')
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / d. Courage
Cool courage and feverish bravery have one name, but are two very different virtues
Military idea: what does not kill me makes me stronger
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / e. Honour
The supposed great lovers of honour (Alexander etc) were actually great despisers of honour
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / f. Compassion
Plato, Spinoza and Kant are very different, but united in their low estimation of pity
Pity consoles those who suffer, because they see that they still have the power to hurt
Apart from philosophers, most people rightly have a low estimate of pity
The overcoming of pity I count among the noble virtues
You cannot advocate joyful wisdom while rejecting pity, because the two are complementary
Invalids are parasites
In ancient Rome pity was considered neither good nor bad
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 4. External Goods / c. Wealth
People now find both wealth and poverty too much of a burden
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 4. External Goods / d. Friendship
If you want friends, you must be a fighter
Many people are better at having good friends than being a good friend
Women can be friends with men, but some physical antipathy will maintain it
23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 1. Deontology
Each person should devise his own virtues and categorical imperative
Replace the categorical imperative by the natural imperative
23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 2. Duty
See duty as a burden makes it a bit cruel, and it can thus never become a habit
Guilt and obligation originated in the relationship of buying and selling, credit and debt
23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 3. Universalisability
The idea of the categorical imperative is just that we should all be very obedient
The categorical imperative needs either God behind it, or a metaphysic of the unity of reason
To see one's own judgement as a universal law is selfish
23. Ethics / E. Utilitarianism / 1. Utilitarianism
In Homer it is the contemptible person, not the harmful person, who is bad
23. Ethics / E. Utilitarianism / 3. Motivation for Altruism
Utilitarianism criticises the origins of morality, but still believes in it as much as Christians
The morality of slaves is the morality of utility
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 1. Existentialism
The greatest possibilities in man are still unexhausted
We could live more naturally, relishing the spectacle, and not thinking we are special
Nietzsche tried to lead a thought-provoking life
Not feeling harnessed to a system of 'ends' is a wonderful feeling of freedom
If faith is lost, people seek other authorities, in order to avoid the risk of willing personal goals
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 2. Nihilism
The greatest experience possible is contempt for your own happiness, reason and virtue
The ethical teacher exists to give purpose to what happens necessarily and without purpose
Initially nihilism was cosmic, but later Nietzsche saw it as a cultural matter
Nietzsche urges that nihilism be active, and will nothing itself
Nihilism results from measuring the world by our categories which are purely invented
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 3. Angst
The freedom of the subject means the collapse of moral certainty
The thought of suicide is a great reassurance on bad nights
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 4. Boredom
People do not experience boredom if they have never learned to work properly
To ward off boredom at any cost is vulgar
Flight from boredom leads to art
Plato is boring
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 5. Existence-Essence
It is absurd to think you can change your own essence, like a garment
Over huge periods of time human character would change endlessly
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 6. Authentic Self
By developing herd virtues man fixes what has up to now been the 'unfixed animal'
Virtues from outside are dangerous, and they should come from within
Virtuous people are inferior because they are not 'persons', but conform to a fixed pattern
Most people think they are already complete, but we can cultivate ourselves
We can cultivate our drives, of anger, pity, curiosity, vanity, like a gardener, with good or bad taste
Nietzsche thinks the human condition is to overcome and remake itself
Man is the animal whose nature has not yet been fixed
To become what you are you must have no self-awareness
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 7. Existential Action
Morality used to be for preservation, but now we can only experiment, giving ourselves moral goals
Nietzsche was fascinated by a will that can turn against itself
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 8. Eternal Recurrence
Eternal recurrence is the highest attainable affirmation
Reliving life countless times - this gives the value back to life which religion took away
The great person engages wholly with life, and is happy to endlessly relive the life they created
Existence without meaning or goal or end, eternally recurring, is a terrible thought
A terrible thought: that meaningless existence recurs eternally, without a finale in nothingness
Imagine if before each of your actions you had to accept repeating the action over and over again
Nietzsche says facing up to the eternal return of meaninglessness is the response to nihilism
24. Applied Ethics / B. Moral Rights / 2. Sexual Morality
Man and woman are deeply strange to one another!
24. Applied Ethics / B. Moral Rights / 3. Animal Rights
Protest against vivisection - living things should not become objects of scientific investigation
24. Applied Ethics / C. Death Issues / 1. Death
Most dying people have probably lost more important things than what they are about to lose
24. Applied Ethics / C. Death Issues / 4. Suicide
Sometimes it is an error to have been born - but we can rectify it
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 1. A People / a. Human distinctiveness
Man is above all a judging animal
An enduring people needs its own individual values
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 4. Natural Rights / a. Natural rights
If self-defence is moral, than so are most expressions of 'immoral' egoism
25. Society / B. The State / 1. Purpose of a State
The state aims to protect individuals from one another
Individual development is more important than the states, but a community is necessary
25. Society / B. The State / 2. State Legitimacy / c. Natural authority
The state begins with brutal conquest of a disorganised people, not with a 'contract'
25. Society / B. The State / 3. Constitutions
The state coldly claims that it is the people, but that is a lie
25. Society / B. The State / 4. Citizenship
Nietzsche thinks we should joing a society, in order to criticise, heal and renew it
25. Society / B. The State / 5. Leaders / c. Despotism
No authority ever willingly accepts criticism
25. Society / B. The State / 5. Leaders / d. Elites
Only aristocratic societies can elevate the human species
A healthy aristocracy has no qualms about using multitudes of men as instruments
25. Society / B. The State / 6. Government / a. Government
People govern for the pleasure of it, or just to avoid being governed
25. Society / B. The State / 7. Changing the State / a. Centralisation
The upholding of the military state is needed to maintain the strong human type
25. Society / B. The State / 7. Changing the State / c. Revolution
The French Revolution gave trusting Europe the false delusion of instant recovery
25. Society / B. The State / 8. Culture
Culture cannot do without passions and vices
Every culture loses its identity and power if it lacks a major myth
The high points of culture and civilization do not coincide
25. Society / C. Political Doctrines / 5. Democracy / a. Nature of democracy
Democracy is organisational power in decline
25. Society / C. Political Doctrines / 5. Democracy / b. Consultation
If we want the good life for the greatest number, we must let them decide on the good life
25. Society / C. Political Doctrines / 6. Liberalism
The creation of institutions needs a determination which is necessarily anti-liberal
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 1. Legal Rights / a. Basis of rights
Rights arise out of contracts, which need a balance of power
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 2. Social Freedom / a. Slavery
Slavery cannot be judged by our standards, because the sense of justice was then less developed
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 2. Social Freedom / e. Freedom of lifestyle
Saints want to live as they desire, or not to live at all
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 3. Social Equality / a. Grounds of equality
True justice is equality for equals and inequality for unequals
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 3. Social Equality / b. Political equality
In modern society virtue is 'equal rights', but only because everyone is zero, so it is a sum of zeroes
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 4. Right to Punish / a. Right to punish
Get rid of the idea of punishment! It is a noxious weed!
Execution is worse than murder, because we are using the victim, and really we are the guilty
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 4. Right to Punish / b. Retribution for crime
Whenever we have seen suffering, we have wanted the revenge of punishment
25. Society / E. State Functions / 2. The Law / a. Legal system
Laws that are well thought out, or laws that are easy to understand?
25. Society / E. State Functions / 5. Education / a. Education principles
Education is contrary to human nature
Education in large states is mediocre, like cooking in large kitchens
Teach youth to respect people who differ with them, not people who agree with them
Interest in education gains strength when we lose interest in God
25. Society / E. State Functions / 5. Education / b. Aims of education
Don't crush girls with dull Gymnasium education, the way we have crushed boys!
25. Society / E. State Functions / 5. Education / c. Teaching
There is a need for educators who are themselves educated
One repays a teacher badly if one remains only a pupil
Teachers only gather knowledge for their pupils, and can't be serious about themselves
25. Society / E. State Functions / 5. Education / d. History study
We should evaluate the past morally
History does not concern what really happened, but supposed events, which have all the influence
25. Society / E. State Functions / 6. War
To renounce war is to renounce the grand life
People will enthusiastically pursue an unwanted war, once sacrifices have been made
Modern wars arise from the study of history
26. Natural Theory / A. Heart of Nature / 2. Natural Purpose
'Purpose' is just a human fiction
The end need not be the goal, as in the playing of a melody (and yet it must be completed)
If the world aimed at an end, it would have reached it by now
'Purpose' is like the sun, where most heat is wasted, and a tiny part has 'purpose'
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 1. Causation / c. Final causes
We do not know the nature of one single causality
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 1. Causation / g. Eliminating causation
Science has taken the meaning out of causation; cause and effect are two equal sides of an equation
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 2. Particular Causation / a. Observation of causation
We derive the popular belief in cause and effect from our belief that our free will causes things
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 1. Laws of Nature
In religious thought nature is a complex of arbitrary acts by conscious beings
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 4. Regularities / a. Regularity theory
Laws of nature are merely complex networks of relations
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / c. Essence and laws
Things are strong or weak, and do not behave regularly or according to rules or compulsions
Chemical 'laws' are merely the establishment of power relations between weaker and stronger
All motions and 'laws' are symptoms of inner events, traceable to the will to power
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 12. Against Laws of Nature
Modern man wants laws of nature in order to submit to them
27. Natural Reality / C. Biology / 3. Evolution
Enquirers think finding our origin is salvation, but it turns out to be dull
Survival might undermine an individual's value, or prevent its evolution
A 'species' is a stable phase of evolution, implying the false notion that evolution has a goal
The utility of an organ does not explain its origin, on the contrary!
Darwin overestimates the influence of 'external circumstances'
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 1. God
The concept of 'God' represents a turning away from life, and a critique of life
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 2. Divine Nature
Remove goodness and wisdom from our concept of God. Being the highest power is enough!
A combination of great power and goodness would mean the disastrous abolition of evil
A God who cures us of a head cold at the right moment is a total absurdity
I can only believe in a God who can dance
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 5. Divine Morality / a. Divine morality
Those who have abandoned God cling that much more firmly to the faith in morality
Morality kills religion, because a Christian-moral God is unbelievable
It is dishonest to invent a being containing our greatest values, thus ignoring why they exist and are valuable
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 5. Divine Morality / d. God decrees morality
Morality can only be upheld by belief in God and a 'hereafter'
Morality cannot survive when the God who sanctions it is missing
28. God / B. Proving God / 2. Fideism
'Faith' means not wanting to know what is true
'I believe because it is absurd' - but how about 'I believe because I am absurd'
28. God / C. Proofs of Reason / 2. Ontological Proof critique
The supreme general but empty concepts must be compatible, and hence we get 'God'
28. God / E. Attitudes to God / 4. Atheism
Homer so enjoys the company of the gods that he must have been deeply irreligious
By denying God we deny human accountability, and thus we redeem the world
I am not an atheist because of reasoning or evidence, but because of instinct
Not being a god is insupportable, so there are no gods!
God is dead, and we have killed him
29. Religion / A. Religious Thought / 1. Religious Belief
The truly great haters in world history have always been priests
Religion is tempting if your life is boring, but you can't therefore impose it on the busy people
29. Religion / B. Polytheistic Religion / 2. Paganism
The Greeks saw the gods not as their masters, but as idealised versions of themselves
Paganism is a form of thanking and affirming life?
The Greeks lack a normative theology: each person has their own poetic view of things
29. Religion / C. Monotheistic Religion / 3. Christianity / a. Christianity
Science rejecting the teaching of Christianity in favour of Epicurus shows the superiority of the latter
The Sermon on the Mount is vanity - praying to one part of oneself, and demonising the rest
Christ seems warm hearted, and suppressed intellect in favour of the intellectually weak
Christ was the noblest human being
Christianity hoped for a short cut to perfection, that skipped the hard labour of morality
Christianity was successful because of its heathen rituals
Christian belief is kept alive because it is soothing - the proof based on pleasure
Primitive Christianity is abolition of the state; it is opposed to defence, justice, patriotism and class
Christianity is a revolt of things crawling on the ground against elevated things
How could the Church intelligently fight against passion if it preferred poorness of spirit to intelligence?
Christianity is Platonism for the people
Christians believe that only God can know what is good for man
29. Religion / C. Monotheistic Religion / 4. Bible
The story in Genesis is the story of God's fear of science
29. Religion / E. Immortality / 1. Immortality
The great lie of immortality destroys rationality and natural instinct
29. Religion / E. Immortality / 2. Soul
The easy and graceful aspects of a person are called 'soul', and inner awkwardness is called 'soulless'
29. Religion / E. Immortality / 4. Heaven
Heaven was invented by the sick and the dying
We don't want heaven; now that we are men, we want the kingdom of earth
In heaven all the interesting men are missing
People who disparage actual life avenge themselves by imagining a better one