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on 24 September 2015
What can one say about Nietzsche that hasn't already been said; the man himself would probably tell you. Brilliant piece of writing.
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on 12 March 2013
In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche accuses past philosophers of lacking critical sense and blindly accepting dogmatic premises in their consideration of morality. Specifically, he accuses them of founding grand metaphysical systems upon the faith that the good man is the opposite of the evil man, rather than just a different expression of the same basic impulses that find more direct expression in the evil man.
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on 5 November 2014
Very helpful if you do A2 ethics, easy and somewhat persuasive read, good place to start with Nietzsche
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on 23 January 2015
At the time a little bit over my head. Could do with a re-read.
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on 21 January 2014
This is philosophy from an era when Napoleon Bonapart could be considered the example of the perfect man - because he had the free will to rise above petty societal norms and forge his own view of the world. History has judged differently. Nietzsche is an entertaining writer, if difficult to follow, but slightly unhinged and a bigot to boot.

I've given this book 4/10 or 2 stars but I could just as easily have given it 10/10 and 5 stars. I don't say Nietzsche is a genius but he is an extremely interesting writer, both for his intellectual insights and the very high quality of his prose. On the other hand this is a densely written work that requires a high level of concentration - not because of the difficulty of the message but because Nietzsche is a compulsive rambler who makes Proust look succinct. Moreover it is necessary to be familiar with the history and period in which he is writing to understand many of the references since he constantly invokes his contemporaries - either to criticise or applaud them - as well as figures from recent European history, notably Goethe and Napoleon. In fact, it's almost unreadable without significant background and I would strongly recommend instead a modern Nietzsche primer before reading this volume. Even if you do decide to take him on in the original form then this is not the book to start with, since Thus Spoke Zarathstra is considered the key work in the Nietzsche canon and was written three years before, so you will be reading in the wrong order.

His philosophy today looks a little bit old fashioned and parts of it could be construed as dangerous at worst and offensive at best.

He starts by rejecting the idea that philosophy is about truth and says instead that philosophy is about how we react to facts. In other words we all have our own philosophy coloured by our nature and background. Since many people have similar backgrounds - they are German or Christian for example, lots of people have similar philosophies and outlooks and these norms have come to be seen as truths. Nietzsche suggests that it would be theoretically possible to have a Superman who rises above these conditioned norms to reinterpret facts as the Superman sees best. The Superman's behaviour would not be bound by societal norms of good and bad and he would act according to his own interpretation of the world, to be judged by history.

Thus in one breath (well 223 pages) he permits Nelson Mandela, Florence Nightingale and Mahatma Ghandi but he also allows for Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, and Ghengis Khan. In fact he allows us all to behave as we like according to our own morality - Napoleon, who completely rode roughshod over Europe, is his perfect man.

Actually this seems pretty much the conclusion that much of modern society has arrived at - where we hear as much talk about `My Rights and Entitlements' as about `My Responsibilities'.

Along the way Nietzsche takes a swipe at Christians - whom he derides, women - who have no place in philosophical thought - and Jews - where there's a distinct (but cleverly worded so you can't quite catch him red handed) whiff of anti semitism.

For all that, he's not boring and quite a lot of what he says made me laugh or engaged my brain box in a new way. If I was a script writer I would be plundering this book for off beat dialogue.

It's a fantastic translation by R J Hollingdale but the introduction by Michael Tanner is too uncritical and too academic for the casual reader.
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on 15 July 2014
This was the first book I read of Nietzsche and I was very impressed by it.

I am a bit angry with myself for not reading him earlier.

For anyone with a interest in philosophy it is definitely a must.
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Nietzsche divorced society surrendering social contact but meanwhile carefully plotted its downfall. Not with the nihilistic fervor of Gabril Princeps. Nietzsche did not want to destroy the Austrian monarchy. He wanted to do something much more grandiose, much more extreme than simple assassination. He wanted to change the thoughts inside the head.

Just as Christianity had programmed the world for two thousand years with its doctrines of sin and salvation, capturing the dreamworlds of a populace born into submission, Nietzsche wanted to find the key to liberation. Merely throwing Molotov Cocktails or firing pistols or detonating bombs was never enough. He knew that words and thoughts had a far greater impact than any form of incendiary detonation.

This book is verbal dynamite sparking off reams of emotional powerful light beams of right and left but never the centre. Nietzsche was all about extremes. The old gentlemanly strolls across the lawn reciting Homer, reading Aristophanes, Euripedes, Aristotle, Plato, Socrates and the New Testament is torn asunder by a verbal shoulder charge.

The New Testament and its adherents are shredded one by one in a police line up where each are denounded as the greatest hypocritical monsters since the last saviour of souls. Interestingly he is kind to Jesus but severe on the prophets. God of course is dead and so is the morality play built up his hallucinated appearance. Once disposed of then morality collapses as there can be no appeal to a higher authority if he no longer exists. This leads to the existential crisis bridged by the over man who transcends disbelief through application of the will.

Good and Evil are the twin polarities of the morality show. Fred moves beyond this duality shredding it with the verve of Stirner a predecessor. When it collapses everything is allowed. The only limits are those imposed by the self. Nothing else exists apart from being able to vent individual strength as the man of power moves beyond the confines of the "herd." This is the group that binds the man to current beliefs.

The language is haughty irreverent, full of right wing zeal and left iconoclasm. Fred cares little for belief systems as his aim was to smash and resurrect a life of poetic abandon based not on himself but an alter ego. The colussus who could bestride the stage exuding his self conscious genius.

It can be hard going for those newly accustomed as his conceptual apparatus is dismantling everything that preceded him. Once this is understood the metaphors flow easier. Few can agree with everything he says because he is contradictory, human all too human, but you can glean and prise the juicy morsels and saviour them before either swallowing or spitting them out.

At least you can say you have tasted something which changes the inner nature rather than putting something in the mouth which travels straight through into the cistern without providing a shred of nourishment.
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on 3 October 2013
It's great book, I was glad to find it as I needed it for college in my a2 philosophy class
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on 24 June 2015
very good
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on 29 November 2012
Item arrived promptly, neatly folded in package. A few mishandling slides but not visible unless looked out for and has fresh scent of a new book.

Very happy customer.
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