Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

We choose one philosophical book per month to read. Then we discuss it as a group.

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UPCOMING BOOK

June 2017: The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus


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
27%
4 stars - excellent, amazing
20
49%
 
Total votes : 41

Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#61  Postby L00KING » August 5th, 2013, 6:01 am

I think this is a wonderful book. I like Nietzche's sense of humor, parables, and the metaphors he uses to make this book digestible. He uses his wit and candor to point out the diffuse obstacles that may be in the way of discovering the truth of everything discussed in Philosophy. Nietzche not only points out obstacles that he sees, but, also sets a microscope on the works of others and even onto his own thinking. He plainly states that philosophy is so difficult that even the most persevering person might give up to find the truth behind/in our reality.

I like how Nietzche points out that the I is not the cause of thinking. I or the ego is as far as we know just a bunch of sensations, organs, and the mind put together. We don't even have proof of a soul yet. Humans reason, but, some humans may argue that so do animals. Artificial intelligence reasons out things too; but does that make it sentient being or give it a soul?

I agree with his thoughts in most of this book. Language and its limits are absurd to use to talk about truth. Even if we didn't have language as an obstacle there is always another to bar humans from truth. Nevertheless, we should and will, as human beings, always to seek the truth through philosophy.

I concur with Scott that Nietzche is not making a philosophical argument in this book in the modern way. I do believe that he is stating that modern philosophers will always critique their own work and their own religions but still keep to their theories and faiths. This is because we as modern philosophers know that we will never be totally correct in all the truth that we finally recognize. Modern philosophers require a bit of the illusion of the world in order to see the truth in anything. We require a sense of self which we create from all the things we have already experienced. We use this as a grounding instrument, or as our reality and from there walk to truth. We always need a starting point and a goal or some point at which to fix our gaze from a safe distance. I think this is necessary so that a person does not make him or herself go insane for trying to ponder everything that makes up the truth of our universe.

As far as the use of religion as a means to make people content, I have to argue that some modern philosophers, (in fact they may be the majority as far as I know) are atheists that see no need for religion to be content. Religion may be more useful to help the uneducated or controlled population feel content with their lot in life.

In thinking about this book after reading it I have to just laugh at it all and re-commence living and philosophizing. I think Nietzche is indeed mocking human beings and philosophy. Many a time I have laughed at myself because if I tried to understand everything in every moment in continuum, perfectly, I would be. I think that his conclusions would make great fortune cookies.

I want to point out that this book is made available by LibriVox.org as an audiobook for free. This is the only reason I was able to read it at this time since I am a tight budget right now. I am planning to buy this book when I have the money.
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil



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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#62  Postby Hereandnow » August 5th, 2013, 11:02 am

"He plainly states that philosophy is so difficult that even the most persevering person might give up to find the truth behind/in our reality."

But Nietzsche believed in none of this thinking that there is something behind reality, and those who can avoid the excesses of philosophy are better off for it; for there is nothing there to discover. So what do you think: Is the perspective of beyond good and evil right? That is, do you think that human values need to be grounded far away from the metaphysics that have characterized philosophy from Plato through Kant (excluding Aristotle, whom Nietzsche admired an thought was right)? It is not so easy, I think. After all, Nietzsche was a nihilist, and this kind of thinking is deeply disturbing since it recognizes no basis for morality beyond our own making.
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#63  Postby L00KING » August 5th, 2013, 5:24 pm

Hereandnow wrote:"He plainly states that philosophy is so difficult that even the most persevering person might give up to find the truth behind/in our reality."

But Nietzsche believed in none of this thinking that there is something behind reality, and those who can avoid the excesses of philosophy are better off for it; for there is nothing there to discover. So what do you think: Is the perspective of beyond good and evil right? That is, do you think that human values need to be grounded far away from the metaphysics that have characterized philosophy from Plato through Kant (excluding Aristotle, whom Nietzsche admired an thought was right)? It is not so easy, I think. After all, Nietzsche was a nihilist, and this kind of thinking is deeply disturbing since it recognizes no basis for morality beyond our own making.


In my view nihilism is positive because it makes me feel free to create and experience and tear down and re-create. I do not feel burdened by the moral perspectives and judgments of other people. That this experience of living has no intrinsic value overall does not mean that it has no purpose for each one of us. We create the purpose for ourselves. I consider myself a moral person and upstanding citizen because of the respect I have for others. The awe that is inspired in me from the contemplation of things other than self makes me want to cherish all other than self for what it is. Morals have been pressed on me but I don't believe that without society I would be without respect for things other than myself. Self still creates the morals though. This is not negative to me and does not disturb me in the least. Why does it disturb you [addressed to anyone]?
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#64  Postby Hereandnow » August 6th, 2013, 7:20 am

Looking said: In my view nihilism is positive because it makes me feel free to create and experience and tear down and re-create. I do not feel burdened by the moral perspectives and judgments of other people. That this experience of living has no intrinsic value overall does not mean that it has no purpose for each one of us. We create the purpose for ourselves. I consider myself a moral person and upstanding citizen because of the respect I have for others. The awe that is inspired in me from the contemplation of things other than self makes me want to cherish all other than self for what it is. Morals have been pressed on me but I don't believe that without society I would be without respect for things other than myself. Self still creates the morals though. This is not negative to me and does not disturb me in the least. Why does it disturb you [addressed to anyone]?


Well, without society I dare say you would be no self at all since there would be no language, no objective social construct to have as a model to internalize to give you a structured ego. But anyway, you can be all the things you mention above independently of taking on the issue of nihilism. Note that the same applies to all morally repellent conditions: Ignore them and they are irrelevant. The rub lies in the thinking awareness when moral issues are taken to their foundation. At this level, one is asked to examine suffering morally. Nietzsche thinks we made it all up and that we have all been dupes to Christian/ Platonistic metaphysics. But he does this at the risk of endorsing nihilism. This is not so easy to live with if you think about it. It means that all human (animal) suffering is for nothing; that Being decided to torture itself through us, through the beautiful people of the world, and for nothing, for no redeeming reason. If you think about this seriously, it is a moral crisis that cannot stand; it is moraly impossible, notwithstanding Camus. And this consitutes an argument for a qualified theism.
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#65  Postby My Socks Smell » August 7th, 2013, 8:55 am

I appreciate Dewey's comments on good and evil.

The worse or evil is a rejected good. In deliberation and before choice no evil presents itself as evil. The worse or evil is a rejected good. In deliberation and before choice, no evil presents itself as evil. Until it is rejected, it is a competing good. After rejection, it figures not as lesser good, but as the bad of that situation. ~ Human Nature and Conduct, in The Middle Words of John Dewey 1983.

Goodness is not remoteness from badness. In one sense, goodness is based upon badness; that is, good action is always based upon action good once, but bad if persisted in under changing circumstances. ~ Outlines of a Critical Theory of Ethics, The Early Works of John Dewey.

-- Updated August 7th, 2013, 9:54 am to add the following --

The view that there is no such thing as a hypostatic realm of eternal things or ideas is not the same as claiming that everything is already destroyed. Just because things exist conditionally and impermanently does not mean they don't exist in any way whatsoever. To say that a cup was broken even before you dropped it is nihilism. To appreciate each unique cup for what it is while it lasts is something else. Which of these was Nietzsche's view?
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#66  Postby Windhorse » August 9th, 2013, 8:13 pm

My personal opinion of Beyond Good and Evil is that it is (brilliant, stimulating) dangerous nonsense, which is preferable to dull nonsense, but irritating and scary, non the less. His belief that self-assertion, imagination, and originality are the qualities that separate genuine philosophy from dusty scholarship assumes humans are free and capable of choice, which flies in the face of the materialism he uses to criticize theology. You can't have it both ways. Either the materialist assumption is wrong, or there is mechanism but also some force capable of striking through mechanism, endowing free will (which would, by definition, be transcendental). That he seemed comfortable with exploitation, domination, and injury to the weak, that he seemed to designate a series of moralities in an order of rank, ascending from the plebeian to the noble, and that he felt what counted as legitimate action depended on what kind of person one was--weaker or more powerful--is the stuff of Nazi ideology. Of course, this is overly simplified. His ubermensch, his idea of the superior man, has also been compared to the Buddhist idea of the enlightened being, and there do seem to be some legitimate parallels. The real problem is that Nietzsche himself never adequately distinguished between the ubermensch as truly noble, and the ubermensch as brown shirt thug, which, to my mind makes BG&E dangerous nonsense.
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Re: Discuss Beyond Good and Evil

Post Number:#67  Postby Universal Knowledge » December 4th, 2013, 11:55 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.
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