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Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits (Texts in German Philosophy) Hardcover – September 26, 1986

4.3 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Hardcover, September 26, 1986

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Editorial Reviews


"Offers dazzling observations of human psychology, social interaction, esthetics, and religion. The book is one of the best examples of Nietzsche's ability to unmask the essence of social reality and expose the origins of our illustrations." -New York Times Book Review (New York Times Book Review )<br /><br />"An excellent [translation]-accurate, lively, and in places even elegant. Here his style as an epigrammist comes to full bloom. This book is not just for Nietzsche students and buffs; perceptive and intelligent readers of all sorts can relate to his unencumbered and oft acerbic analysis." --Choice --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation)

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Product Details

  • Series: Texts in German Philosophy
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (September 26, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521265436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521265430
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,444,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas Amorde on September 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
I feel obligated to correct a distortion suggested by `unraveler' below. It is popular to suggest Nietzsche was an anti-semite, but this is a rather lazy habit. Nietzsche's remark on `the youthful stock-exchange Jew' was mentioned. Here it is in its proper environment:

. . . the entire problem of the Jews exists only within national states, inasmuch as it is here that their energy and higher intelligence, their capital in will and spirit accumulated from generation to generation in a long school of suffering, must come to preponderate to a degree calculated to arouse envy and and hatred, so that in almost every nation . . . there is gaining ground the literary indecency of leading the Jews to the sacrificial slaughter as scapegoats for every possible public or private misfortune. As soon as it is no longer a question of the conserving of nations but of the production of the strongest possible European mixed race, the Jew will be just as usable and desirable as an ingredient of it as any other national residue. Every nation, every man, possesses unpleasant, indeed dangerous qualities: it is cruel to demand that the Jew should constitute an exception. In him these qualities may even be dangerous and repellent to an exceptional degree; and perhaps the youthful stock-exchange Jew is the most repulsive invention of the entire human race. Nonetheless I should like to know how much must, in a total accounting, be forgiven a people who, not without us all being to blame, have had the most grief-laden history of any people and whom we have to thank for the noblest human being (Christ), the purest sage (Spinoza), the mightiest book and the most efficacious moral code in the world. . . .

Is this anti-semitism???
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By A Customer on September 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
Nietzsche is often said to have entered a new period with the publication of Human All Too Human and the book is considerably more positivistic than his earlier writings. It aims at debunking unwarranted assumptions more than at defending a grand interpretation of its own, and it marks the high point of Nietzsche's interest in, and applause for, natural science.
Nietzsche describes what he means by "free spirits" in the preface to the second edition of Human All Too Human. Free spirits contrast with the typical human being of his era, who was, as the title suggests, all too human. Free spirits in contrast, are ideal companions that do not yet exist but may appear in the future. They are those who have freed themselves from the chains of the dominant culture, even from the bonds of reverence for those things they once found most praiseworthy. The dangerous period of the free spirit is introduced by the desire to flee whatever has been one's previous spiritual world, a desire that leads to a reconsideration of matters that previously had been taken for granted. The ultimate aim of this liberation is independent self-mastery and supreme health in a life of continual experimentation and adventure.
Human All Too Human is the first published work in which Nietzsche defends his famed perspectivism, the view that truths are one and all interpretations are thus formulated from particular perspectives. This perspectivism figures importantly in his debunking critique of morality which is first presented in Human All Too Human. Nietzsche denies that morality is anything but perspectival. Contrary to the claims of moralists, morality is not inherent in or determined by reality. It is, in fact, the invention of human beings.
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Format: Paperback
In this book, actually an anthology of three books, Nietzsche anticipates and comments upon social, cultural, political and psychological issues most of which are still current and troubling. A central theme is the human tendency to look for comfort, stability, and easy answers. He seemed to foresee that this tendency would become even more maladaptive as the pace of change increased, than it was in his own time. He offers an analysis of its causes, and a treatment, in the form of a relentless series of verbal shock-treatments, delivered in one-half to one page essays. The reader is constantly stimulated to take another look at issues that he thought he had settled.
Another issue for Nietzsche is the examination of the appropriate roles for science and art in human development. Anticipating contemporary thinking,he proposes that the brain has two competing/complementary functions. One, whose main product is science, brings an immediate sense of power to be able to understand what was not understood before, and what is not understood by many others. As an after-effect, however, it brings a sense of despair and depression, that previously-held illusions have been destroyed. The other half of the brain, the artistic sense, which he also calls the will to falsehood (not in a negative sense)presents possibilities, creative syntheses, or holistic images.
For Nietszche,human evolution proceeds by each individual maximizing the potential of each part of his brain, constantly generating new creative ideas, and then subjecting them to relentless analysis and criticism. This is the method Nietszche himself uses. He warns, however, that it requires incredible energy and strength to constantly be aware of and examine one's basic assumptions.
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