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Beyond Good and Evil Paperback – December 18, 2008
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Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900) had studied theology (which he didn't finish) and philology (the study of language in written historical scources); he became a professor of philology at the university of Basel in 1869, but had to resign in 1879 due to ill health. Nietzsche collapsed in 1889, causing him to become mentally ill, and needed to be cared for until his death in 1900. It has been thought that his collapse was caused by syphilis, but this diagnosis is no longer believed to be correct. The cause of his illness is not known.
In this work Nietzsche critises old philosophers and some of their views on 'free will', knowledge, truth, etc. He felt that the philosophers in the past had not been critical enough about morality, accepting the Chistian views on this theme without questioning those views. Nietzsche tells in this book what qualities philosophers should have, he believed philosophers should move on, into the area 'beyond good and evil'.
I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in modern philosophy, this book will make you think about some of your ideas about good and bad. You don't have to agree with him to gain new insight from this book. Nietzsche was a great writer, his works are written in a lively way. For Nietzsche rhetoric was more important than logic. As a sample of his way of writing I copy a few lines from this volume at the bottom of this review. This book was translated in the 19th century, so the language is a bit dated.
The work consists of 296 numbered sections and the poem "From High Mountains". The sections are organized into nine parts, the contents of this book:
BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL
CHAPTER I: PREJUDICES OF PHILOSOPHERS
CHAPTER II: THE FREE SPIRIT
CHAPTER III: THE RELIGIOUS MOOD
CHAPTER IV: APOPHTHEGMS AND INTERLUDES
CHAPTER V: THE NATURAL HISTORY OF MORALS
CHAPTER VI: WE SCHOLARS
CHAPTER VII: OUR VIRTUES
CHAPTER VIII: PEOPLES AND COUNTRIES
CHAPTER IX: WHAT IS NOBLE?
FROM THE HEIGHTS (POEM TRANSLATED BY L.A. MAGNUS)
From chapter 7, section 214 (page 70/location 1505):
214. OUR Virtues?--It is probable that we, too, have still our virtues,
although naturally they are not those sincere and massive virtues on
account of which we hold our grandfathers in esteem and also at a little
distance from us. We Europeans of the day after tomorrow, we firstlings
of the twentieth century--with all our dangerous curiosity, our
multifariousness and art of disguising, our mellow and seemingly
sweetened cruelty in sense and spirit--we shall presumably, IF we must
have virtues, have those only which have come to agreement with our most
secret and heartfelt inclinations, with our most ardent requirements:
well, then, let us look for them in our labyrinths!--where, as we know,
so many things lose themselves, so many things get quite lost! And is
there anything finer than to SEARCH for one's own virtues? [...]
Additionally, the two versions I refer to use ALL CAPS instead of italics. Nietzsche loves his italics, especially in BGE. It's like he's screaming every other sentence.
Good words, bad publisher.