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Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 5 Nov 1998

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Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (Oxford World's Classics) + On the Genealogy of Morals: A Polemic. By way of clarification and supplement to my last book Beyond Good and Evil (Oxford World's Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New edition edition (5 Nov. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192832638
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192832634
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 1 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,223,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was born in Prussia in 1844. After the death of his father, a Lutheran minister, Nietzsche was raised from the age of five by his mother in a household of women. In 1869 he was appointed Professor of Classical Philology at the University of Basel, where he taught until 1879 when poor health forced him to retire. He never recovered from a nervous breakdown in 1889 and died eleven years later.

Known for saying that "god is dead," Nietzsche propounded his metaphysical construct of the superiority of the disciplined individual (superman) living in the present over traditional values derived from Christianity and its emphasis on heavenly rewards. His ideas were appropriated by the Fascists, who turned his theories into social realities that he had never intended.

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About the Author

Marion Faber is Professor of German at Swathmore College, Pennsylvania. Robert C. Holub is Professor and Chair of the Department of German, University of California at Berkeley.

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THE will to truth, which will seduce us yet to many a risky venture, that famous truthfulness about which all philosophers to date have spoken with deference: what manner of questions has this will to truth presented for us! Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul Bowes TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
This is probably the best, though not the most famous, book Nietzsche wrote. As a highly readable starting point for the reader new to the author it can hardly be bettered, giving a taste of Nietzsche in both extended and aphoristic modes, written late enough to represent his mature thought, free of the rather artificial and now dated manner that Nietzsche deployed in 'Thus Spake Zarathustra', and offering examples of his thinking on major issues. The reader who is familiar with Camus, Foucault and other representatives of modern Continental thinking may be startled by how many anticipations and premonitions of these thinkers appear in this book.

This edition is a good modern translation (1998) with a useful introduction and notes by the translator.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ALyre on 4 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback
This edition is a must-have for anyone not fluent enough in German to conquer the original. The translation is clear and fiercely loyal to the German with minimal ambiguity. The explanatory notes at the back explain any word-play and translate Nietzsche's frequent segues into French, Latin, Greek etc. Couldn't recommend this copy more!
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By Lily on 24 Feb. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What is there to say on Nietzsche? Brilliantly clever, funny and frightening. Often hard to read, and very rarely does he say anything I agree with - but this is still a book which allows a look into the mind of a man who thought like no other. I'd recommend it to anyone who's already interested in philosophy, but would definitely suggest you don't start your journey into philosophy with it!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amy on 2 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I brought the book as I am studying it in college, it came in excellent condition and in the recommended time frame
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 77 reviews
194 of 207 people found the following review helpful
What to say about Nietzsche? 5 Sept. 2003
By A. Lowry - Published on
Format: Paperback
N. doesn't need my sales pitch, but anyway ...
First, if you're going to buy BG&E, go ahead & get the Modern Library "Basic Writings" in paperback---not a volume of snippets, but the complete text of N.'s two best books, BG&E and On the Genealogy of Morals, & some other works, for scarcely more than BG&E alone. If you don't like one book, try the other. N. says the same thing from different angles in his last 4 or 5 books. Anything after Zarathustra, except for Ecce Homo, is a good place to start.
Second, despite reading a translation, don't forget that N. is a clever, funny, & devilishly smart writer. Freud said no one before N. ever had as much self-knowledge. Read him with a sense of ironic humor. Too often N. is treated as some heavy thundering German, when if there's one thing that drove him up the wall, it was heavy thundering Germans.
Third, forgive his attitude problems about women. N.'s dad died when he was a kid; his mom & aunts raised him, got on his last nerve, & gave him a bad attitude towards women. Which, regrettably, was not exactly uncommon in the 19th c. BG&E includes his acknowledgement that his misogyny is a bedrock level of stupidity that he can't escape.
Fourth, if you're a Christian, there's a lot of N. that won't be acceptable to you. But learn what you can. A lot of so-called "Christianity" strongly resembles the "slave morality" that he describes.
This is an amazing book that I haven't even tried to describe, the book that made philosophy come alive for me with N.'s comment that, when wondering where the hell some metaphysician's notions came from, one should ask what morality the notions are aiming at. The book is full of great insights from a brilliant man. Read this, then the Genealogy, then Twilight of the Idols.
89 of 94 people found the following review helpful
there's no other possible rating but five stars for this book. 12 April 2006
By Lucius Schoenbaum - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you're new to Nietzsche, let me give you a quick overview I could have used when I started out. All philosophy aside, Nietzsche was, very long story short, basically a very smart guy who lived in Europe during the 19th century and who due to illness retired at the age of 35 from his university post as a professor (NOT of philosophy), with a cool six-year pension. He spent the next ten years of his life basically walking around in the mountains, and writing highly unorthodox and creative books that I guess you could call philosophy because that's what everyone calls them. I like the phrase "psychology of philosophy", but nothing could possibly sum it all up. And of course, after that he went nuts. Or more precisely, ten years later, in January of 1889, while his publisher was preparing the first editions of some of the four or five (marvelous, intricate, very widely studied) books he pumped out over the course of the previous year, he lost control of his mind, and a few months later, he was picked up at his mountain cottage, or whatever it was, and taken back to Germany and compassionately placed in an asylum by his family. And he died ten years later...but that's enough for an overview.

In your approach, take everybody's advice with a grain of salt. He's a very personal writer, who deserves a very personal read. You can start anywhere you want, but Nietzsche is like a christmas tree that you can just keep reaching under and pull out more presents that have your name on the tag, so don't ever walk away feeling like you've earned the I've-read-Nietzsche badge. His more literary stuff is in The Gay Science and in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. This one, Beyond Good and Evil, is incredibly good and should be read. My personal favorite is Ecce Homo because it's so odd and outrageous. It's one of the late works, the so-called "books of the collapse". You can go all over the place with Nietzsche. He was a genius, it's even possible that he was everything he claimed he was. But then again, he claimed he was the most important man in history, so, hmm.

Feel free to laugh, object, draw offense, be provoked, be awed, be terrified. The best thing about Nietzsche is that he understood that philosophy ought to be READABLE, that it should emotionally engage, in the same way as art.

Because personally, if you ask me, this [...] just ain't as serious as some people make it out to be. :-))) ----LTS
58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
In At The Deep End: The Best Introduction To Nietzsche. 14 April 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
"Beyond Good And Evil" was written immediately after Nietzsche's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" and contains none of its elaborate metaphors and imagery. "Zarathustra" was literature compared to this book. This is mature Nietzsche, the philosopher, at his most witty, most serious, and most perpetually devastating.
All of the classic Nietzsche themes are present here; most notably and consummately the Will To Power. Chapter 4 consists of 122 razor-edged aphorisms, each only one or two sentences in length, which slice through the skin of human ulterior motive and the flesh of psychology, right down to the bones of mankind. Other chapters deal with the prejudices of philosophers, history of morals, people and nations, religion and "free-spirits" with the same healthy scepticism.
Nietzsche never entangles the reader in nets of abstract philosophical systems or lengthy and boring dissertation as most philosophers are compelled to do. "Beyond Good And Evil" is always to the point and the density of the language is far outweighed by the prolific content and profundity of thought. What at first glance may seem to be lead is revealed as pure gold with a scratch to the surface. For the uninitiated reader, all it takes is a little patience, (and perhaps, occasionally, a dictionary!) to unlock the books undeniable value for those "philosophers of the future" to whom "Beyond Good And Evil" is dedicated.
Nietzsche went on to outline his philosophy further in other truly great books, but "Beyond Good And Evil" represents a pinnacle in his work and is the best introduction to his philosophy. Nietzsche challenges his readers; he does not command but bids us to take a look through different eyes, and then to view ourselves, our wise men, and the world. And, above all, enquire.
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Nietzsche Against the Grain 30 Sept. 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Beyond Good And Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future represented a shift in Nietzsche's basic goals as an author. "After the Yes-saying part of my task had been solved, the turn had come for the No-saying, No-doing part: the revaluation of our values so far, the great war..."
Nietzsche goes on to describe Beyond Good and Evil as a "critique of modernity." The modernity attacked includes culture broadly construed; but Nietzsche appears to be especially concerned with the direction of philosophy and its role in future history. Indeed, the subtitle is "Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future." The book opens with a Preface and first section that are often witty in criticizing traditional philosophy and its presuppositions. After the famous opening line about truth being a woman, Nietzsche asks, "Are there not grounds for the suspicion that all philosophers, insofar as they were dogmatists, have been very inexpert about women?"
Nietzsche attacks particularly the dogmatism of philosophers. Philosophers have typically regarded themselves as seekers of truth--but from the book's beginning, Nietzsche casts suspicion on their motives. Philosophers, he argues, have simply assumed that truth is valuable, without inquiring as to whether this is so. They have posed their conclusions as objective, while in fact "every great philosophy so far has been...the personal confession of its author and a kind of involuntary and unconscious memoir." Unwittingly, philosophers have sought to impose their own moral outlook on nature itself, and read into it what they have wanted to find.
Nietzsche proposes a reassessment of the way philosophy has been practiced in physiological and psychological terms, recognizing how much against the grain his approach will seem.
Nietzsche proposes a new direction for philosophy, and a different kind of person as philosopher. Philosophers, according to this view, should be free spirits and great experimentalists, as opposed to the mere "philosophical laborers" that are often thought to be the true philosophers. The philosopher has "the most comprehensive responsibility" and "the conscience for the over-all development of man," and should utilize religion, education and political suggestions, although it is more concerned to propose a type of political arrangement (like Plato advocating philosopher-kings) than to argue for specific policies.
Central to the agenda of Nietzsche's future philosophers is a reconsideration of the value of conventional morality from a physio-psychological perspective. For the first time, in Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche proposes to develop "a natural history of morals." He implies with this formulation that morality can be naturalistically described, that it is not a revelation from another, divine level of reality.
Nietzsche goes so far in employing naturalistic terms in his analysis that he describes the morality of his tradition as a "herd morality." In other words, people follow the same direction as others for the same reason that cows and sheep follow other cows and sheep. Nietzsche surely recognizes that many readers will find comparison between their moral beliefs and animal behavior offensive.
Nietzsche also suggests that multiple moralities have existed at the same time, and that they reveal their adherent's psychological perspective, which can be either healthy or not healthy. In particular, he suggests that master morality and slave morality are radically different in outlook. Master morality, typified by those in positions of power, involves a primary judgment of oneself as good, and a judgment of others in reference to one's own traits. Slave morality, by contrast, as the moral outlook of those who are oppressed, is primarily concerned with the reactions those in power might have to any contemplated act. Although slaves hate the master and everything the master represents, they still refer their behavior primarily to their master. Judging the master with hostility, they come to see him as evil, and only then come to judge themselves as relatively good. Nietzsche develops this account of master and slave morality much more thoroughly in Toward the Genealogy of Morals.
The concept of will to power appears prominently in Beyond Good and Evil. Again, Nietzsche takes issue with Schopenhauer's emphasis on will to life: "A living thing seeks above all to discharge its strength--life itself is will to power; self preservation is only one of the direct and frequent results." Although emphatic in stressing will, Nietzsche is equally emphatic in denying freedom of the will. In fact, he considers the defense of freedom of will to be simply a manifestation of the asserters desire for power.
Will to power is also enlisted as a potential basis for explaining physiology and physiologically grounded behavior. Significantly, however, as in many other instances Nietzsche poses this "reduction" as a thought experiment.
Nietzsche's perspectivism, however, is discussed in more psychological terms elsewhere in Beyond Good and Evil. Nietzsche suggests that the perspective different individuals have of human reality depends on their relative stature as human beings. Nietzsche frequently adopts the image of height, describing those who see others from a higher vantage as having a more comprehensive view that is incommensurable with the perspective of those below them. Nietzsche emphasizes the importance of this order of rank, and he often claims that the human species consists of a proliferation of types, some of which are more valuable (or higher) than others. Of greatest importance for Nietzsche is the individual genius, upon whom culture most depends. Nietzsche's view on this matter is unrepentantly elitist: "For every high world one must be born; or to speak more clearly, one must be cultivated for it: a right to philosophy--taking that word in its great sense--one has by only virtue of one's origins; one's ancestors, one's 'blood' decide here, too."
76 of 90 people found the following review helpful
Newbies, Start With This One! 19 July 2000
By Hapworth - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a newbie to Nietzsche's works, though I'd come to Beyond Good and Evil through the proverbial back door. After having read prominent 20th century texts from Camus to Derrida, I figured it was time to read something by Nietzsche, perhaps the most famous first figure to doubt what was "knowable." Nietzsche, anticipating the cynicism and angst that would become the hallmark of existential texts, was equally scornful of religion AND science (both, which he argued, were reductionist and misleading). The ultimate skeptic, Nietzsche warned readers about believing to deeply in "certain truths" often framed within the dichotomy of binary opposites (good vs. evil, black vs. white, heaven vs. hell; in short, everything the Western world bases its moral framework on).
I've given Beyond Good and Evil five stars, but there are some problems with the book that the unintiated may want to know. First, although this is the most straight-forward and accessible of Nietzsche's works, it's still a difficult read. Second, although Nietzsche's writing style is full of verve and gusto (or, to use N's own word, "brio") and although this style makes for delightful anti-philosophic reading, his points do become burdensome after a while. After reading the introduction and the first 30 pages or so, I found myself saying, "Okay, okay, I got it." Nietzsche's misogyny, his failure to provide concrete examples (occassionally) and his belief in a human two-level caste system (" itself in its essence means appropriating, injuring, overpowering those who are foreign and weaker" (152-153)) may challenge (or turn off) some readers. Neverhtheless, at 180 slim pages, Beyond Good and Evil accomplishes its task before it becomes tiresome.
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