Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

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How do you rate Beyond Good and Evil?

1 star - poor, recommend against reading it
6
15%
2 stars - okay, fair
4
10%
3 stars - good, recommend it
11
28%
4 stars - excellent, amazing
19
48%
 
Total votes : 40

Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#1  Postby Scott » February 3rd, 2013, 1:58 pm

Please use this topic to discuss the February book of the month, Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche.

What do you think of the book? On what points in this book do you most agree with Nietzsche? On what points do you disagree and why?

Overall, I enjoy Nietzsche's writing. I think he is witty and original (for his time, now many of his ideas are cliche). But for a philosopher I find his writing disorganized and his arguments lacking. Here is a funny sentence about this and here is a witty original sentence expressing an idea about that. It's fun to read, but it isn't a philosophical argument. In my opinion, it shares more in common with modern day stand up comedy (which I love) than with modern day philosophy.

What do you think?
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#2  Postby Thatsage » February 5th, 2013, 4:33 pm

I'd like to ask if you have read later works by Nietzsche? Perhaps your opinion would've changed because BGE is indeed quite like a show really, but maybe his later works would be more "philosophical" to your taste?

BGE was pretty much the second "proper philosophical" book I've read, and it's rather dear to me. I loved the style, passion, and the "obscurity" and "secrecy" he lays down throughout the book (and it's a good thing only because he is such a good writer). It's just fascinating, and I think I have learned much from this work.

There's a fair bit I didn't quite understand, but I didn't find it to be lacking or disorganized, maybe because I haven't yet read much other philosophical books. I think much credit is also to be given to the translation, which I think is probably very good.
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#3  Postby Julio_sanchez » February 10th, 2013, 2:37 am

An interesting book to say the least. Excruciatingly messy, but I did enjoy some aspects of the book. It felt more like someone ranting and just saying whatever came to their mind at the time then real writing. I don't mind hearing what he has to say but I don't see myself reading anything else from Nietzsche. Interesting but no explanations.
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#4  Postby Damorobo » February 10th, 2013, 4:48 pm

I read this book for A level philosophy and I found large chunks of the writings esoteric or vague. However, I think one of the key points of the book was Nietzshe's critique of hitherto Western philosophy and its reliance upon the grammatical structure of language.

The best example of this was his critique of Descartes' 'I think, therefore I am'. I think that Descartes' was suggesting that the 'I' was the agent that gave rise to the thinking. However, Nietzsche suggests that it was the thinking that gave rise to the 'I' and that the only way to grammatically express a thought was to state 'I think'.

From this Nietzsche illustrates that Cartesian notions of human agency are derived from the grammatical structure of our language and are not necessarily representative of reality.

From this I learnt that language does not necessarily represent reality accurately and how the structure of our language can shape our perceptions of reality. Furthermore, I think this is an important critique of philosophy in general as much of our philosophical arguments are based upon an imperfect language and highlights the importance of not being mislead by our language.
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#5  Postby Fleetfootphil » February 14th, 2013, 10:36 pm

How the hell can you unsubscribe drom this place?
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#6  Postby DeeElf » February 19th, 2013, 5:09 pm

Scott wrote:

Overall, I enjoy Nietzsche's writing. I think he is witty and original (for his time, now many of his ideas are cliche). But for a philosopher I find his writing disorganized and his arguments lacking.


This is generally accurate but it also reflects his contempt for how decadent philsophy had become through its inststence on Organization and Argumention (in a sense, this makes him a pre-cursor to Wittgenstein and the pragamatists). So it's not really a criticism to say his arguments are lacking because he was constantly questioning the validity of organized argument.

However, he also made organized arguments when he judged them appropriate. For instance, you will find no better introduction to epistemology than in his early Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks (it's the one my professor started with), where we find a very organized analysis of the pre-Socratics culminating in his conclusion: the juxtaposing of Heraclitus and Parmenides, and the argument for why he thinks Heraclitus trumps Parmenides.

You'll also find organized arguments against Plato, Kant, and democracy in his late Twilight of the Idols and The Anti-Christ.
"Arguments seldom make converts in matters philosophical." -W. James, Principles, Vol. 1, p. 468

"Argument is propaganda for one observer, the essence of human discourse for another." -Feyerabend, Against Method, p. 236 (2010)
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#7  Postby Comrade Collie » February 22nd, 2013, 1:25 am

Beyond Good and Evil belongs to Nietzsche's aphoristic period. For various reasons , both personal and stylistic, Nietzsche choose not to set forth his ideas in this book in a complex and systematic way, as noted in the post above.
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#8  Postby Cinman » February 23rd, 2013, 2:57 pm

One should try reading Jenseits von Gut und Bose auf Deutsche instead of the usual antiquated Kaufmann translations because of Nietzsche's creative use of semantics. BGE Nietzsche I believe is first to question the value of our will to truth and shows that this will is not as objective as we believe. We are all too human and seek escape beyond this "paltry world" into the timelessness of Being, God, or whatever else. The prejudice of all philosophers and men in general is the we cannot see the world as it is but must find some category, some inner essence, som timeless Being to skip into. Here Nietzsche lays the foundation for critical existentialism and clear thinking. Van Keister
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#9  Postby Pastabake » February 28th, 2013, 7:53 am

That you could describe Nietzsche's BGE as clichéd is actually a compelling reason to read it, unless you only like reading obscure uninfluential philosophers.
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#10  Postby Mark J Windle » March 6th, 2013, 3:07 pm

Scott wrote:Please use this topic to discuss the February book of the month, Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche.

What do you think of the book? On what points in this book do you most agree with Nietzsche? On what points do you disagree and why?

Overall, I enjoy Nietzsche's writing. I think he is witty and original (for his time, now many of his ideas are cliche). But for a philosopher I find his writing disorganized and his arguments lacking. Here is a funny sentence about this and here is a witty original sentence expressing an idea about that. It's fun to read, but it isn't a philosophical argument. In my opinion, it shares more in common with modern day stand up comedy (which I love) than with modern day philosophy.

What do you think?


I notice that Beyond Good and Evil is February's book of the month (in which case, I just missed it). Nevertheless, your post inspired in me the following observation/question.

When you say of Beyond Good Evil that 'it isn't philosophical argument', it seems to me that you have concluded that 'philosophy' resides in argument and cannot be of any other form. Would this be a fair description of your thinking?

If it is a fair description, then your true interest here, Scott, is 'philosophical argument' and not, in fact, philosophy. Again, would you consider that a fair description of your thinking?

(I've just joined the site and this is the first thread I've looked at. If my observations/questions belong elsewhere, so be it; I'll soon learn.)
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#11  Postby Markb287 » March 16th, 2013, 11:23 am

I wish I had seen this sooner. Beyond Good and Evil is one of my favorite philosophy books and I find myself returning to it every few months or so to refresh to it.

Beyond Good and Evil is not simply a rant against current philosophy. It's a critical text on what philosophers do when they philosophize. Nietzsche is focused on uncovering the prejudices, assumptions, and values that motivate the argumentation and understandings philosophers use. This is why Nietzsche isn't so much worried about presenting arguments against philosophers as he is about simply pointing out where philosophers are making leaps, hiding certain motives, universalizing, and excluding or marginalizing certain thoughts.

The most important and influential insight that Nietzsche unveils in this text is that the crux of Western philosophy, from Plato to Hegel, is predicated on the unconscious (and, for Nietzsche, false) belief in the power of language to "reveal" or give the truth. Language cannot give the truth of anything. Language is simply a convenient system we use to produce understanding through images. However, Western philosophers have been seduced into believing that language can do much more than this, and all their philosophies (which, for Nietzsche, are misunderstandings) basically come down to this false belief.

The philosophy of the future, for Nietzsche, depends upon our ability to rid ourselves of this prejudice of language.
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#12  Postby Cinman » March 16th, 2013, 8:23 pm

It is impossible to reduce Nietzsche to a nutshell, but he means more than just ridding ourselves of the prejudice of language. It runs deeper into our nature desire to see the good in everything as philosophers are prejudiced in that their ultimate premises leading to the neverland of the absolute are mere projections. Nietzsche is ultimately saying in BGE is that all we have concerning a rationalistic philosophy of the word is mere projections, wishful thinking, and pie in the sky. BGE lead up to his masterpiece, "The Will to Power."
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#13  Postby Wayne92587 » March 24th, 2013, 12:10 pm

Damorobo wrote;

“The best example of this was his critique of Descartes' 'I think, therefore I am'. I think that Descartes' was suggesting that the 'I' was the agent that gave rise to the thinking. However, Nietzsche suggests that it was the thinking that gave rise to the 'I' and that the only way to grammatically express a thought was to state 'I think'.”

Julio_sanchez wrote;

“It felt more like someone ranting and just saying whatever came to their mind at the time then real writing. “

wayne wrote;

With what little I have read, more like heard, about Nietzsche and what has been said about Nietzsche in the discussion of Beyond Good and Evil, I would say that Nietzsche was a Space-Cadet. Wayne Wrote;

I Think is not why I am, I Am because I think that I am more than a mere animal, that I am God Like, All Knowing, resulting in my being a Know-It-All; Everything coming to mind being the absolute truth, fact, Reality; I to include my world of Reality being born of my own Imagination; which I prefer over the Material, Physical World of Reality as experienced by the senses of the Flesh Body, My living in a Spiritual, the Immaterial Reality of My own Mind, Thought..

Know one thing;, living in your thoughts, Imagination, will cause the Mind to whirl, with the possibility of One becoming a Space-Cadet.

No doubt, being all knowing, who ever I am, I am an original product of my own mind, thoughts, Imagination: I am my own Creation, created in the Image of a God; I being All Knowing, a Know-It-All, I having a serious Ego Problem; I not existing as Material, Physical, Reality, I simply existing as my own Consciousness, as a Spiritual Being.


All this confusion as to who and what I am being caused by my eating of the Fruit, my consumption, of Knowledge that has a dual quality, Absolutely Bad Knowledge, the Knowledge of Good and Evil born of mine own Imagination.

The Knowledge of Good and Evil being born of a Single Source, being Absolutely Bad Knowledge, Knowledge not born of the Experience of the Flesh but instead Knowledge having a Dual Quality, Absolutely Bad Knowledge mistaken to be Absolutely Good Knowledge, the Knowledge of Good and Evil being born of the Mind, Man’s Illusionary World of Reality.

A philosopher, living in his imagination, is an inventor, a creator, of Ideas, thought; thoughts that are incomplete, being based upon a pittance of Reality that comes to mind in a Flash of Insight; thought coming to mind as nothing more than a half Truth.

The problem with an organize argument is that you can have an organized argument that is completely the wrong argument.

Your argument can not be proven wrong if your argument is never organized so as to come to a Logical conclusion; in fact more likely than not a philosophical Argument has no logical conclusion, philosophical thoughts not being based upon Empirical Fact, being illusionary.

Thoughts made manifest Reality by the All-Knowing, a Know-It-All, being little more that a half-truth; Knowledge having a dual quality, Absolutely Bad Knowledge born of thought leaves the existence or non-existence of the Knowledge of Good and Evil Uncertain; Absolutely Bad Knowledge being mistaken to be Absolutely Good Knowledge, having a dual quality, exists as the Knowledge of Good and Evil. There is a beyond Good and Evil; Get ride of Absolutely Bad Knowledge, Knowledge born of a Single Source. Knowledge having a dual quality, get ride of Half-Truths born of incomplete thought, the Imagination, born of the mind, the Imagination.
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#14  Postby MazerRackhem » March 31st, 2013, 11:28 pm

I agree that the prose is rather wandering and I wish there was a bit more organization to it, though I understand that it is rather characteristic of Nietzsche. I would say I enjoyed BGE, though in the manner one enjoys a book in which nuggets of truth or interesting thought are found midst the noise of the rest. While I found BGE's prose to be more straight forward and compact I personally liked Thus Spoke Zarathustra a bit better. Though the prose was a bit more drawn out and the points the author was trying to get at a bit harder to pull apart I found the style somewhat more appealing on the whole than BGE.
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#15  Postby Wayne92587 » April 1st, 2013, 1:56 pm

The only reason to read Nietzsche is if you are curious as to why a screwball can be so famous.
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