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On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life Paperback – June 1, 1980

ISBN-13: 978-0915144945 ISBN-10: 0915144948

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 70 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Pub Co (June 1, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0915144948
  • ISBN-13: 978-0915144945
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Robert Lawrence on January 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is different than Nietzsche's well-known major works. It does not explicitly examine the nature of morality, the master/slave relationship, or related questions. Instead, it questions the relationship of historical knowledge to life in the present. By "present", Nietzsche does not mean some specific century or decade, but rather the present we perpetually find ourselves in as human beings.
Nietzsche asks: given that we always live in such a present, why do we want or need historical knowledge? Animals live without a historical sense: they do not reflect on the past or contemplate their future -- they simply live from moment to moment in the eternal present that humans perpetually avoid. And generally, Nietzsche notes, animals seem happier than human beings: more spontaneous, more cheerful, less given to morbid and resentful states of mind.
Given these differences, should humans abandon the study of history and try to live in the present like animals? No, says Nietzsche, this relation to history is the true source of human uniqueness and achievement. The question is not "Should we study history?" but rather, "What history should we study, and in what amount?" The answer, says Nietzsche, is history that gives us a proper appreciation of life's difficulties and the struggles that have preceded us, but which nonetheless spurs us to creative action in the present. We should never study history for history's sake; rather, we should study it with a view to understanding and surpassing our present.
This is a short, powerful volume, dense with ideas but astoundingly clear.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By jafrank on March 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
Oh god this was fun. Nietzsche's confrontational writing style is such a breath of fresh air compared to so much of pre-20th century German philosophical writing. There are a lot of really good observations crammed into this small piece. The recognition that people often fetishize the past as a way of condemning the skills and talents of their own time, the ways that Christian millenarian beliefs stifle personal creativity and expression. But my favorite thing about this text is how he shows that a hyper-awareness of history more often then not leads to malaise and inaction rather then to some overly contrived idea of wisdom and fulfillment, (Dostoevsky's Underground Man, anyone?) If nothing else, its got more exclamation marks than any other philosophic text I've ever read. Highly recommended.
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By Jace L. on July 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An important consideration of the impact of Historicism. Nietzsche makes a clear case for the positive and negative aspects of the rise of historical consciousness and how men should behave in light of Post-Hegelian ideas.

I cannot speak to the quality of the translation, but the prose is accessible and the small size of the book makes it easy to carry around.
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Format: Paperback
Bought as a gift for my college-age grandson. I've heard this guy Nietzsche is good, though he could have made his name easier to spell.
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