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Nietzsche's

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Nietzsche: His philosophy and “Beyond Good and Evil”
And
Marxists vs. Mill’s view of socialism

1- Describe Nietzsche’s basic philosophy and his “New Morality” as revealed in his “Gay Science”, “Twilight of the Idol’s” books. Then choose one of his writings in his book “Beyond Good and Evil” and describe the philosophy he attempts to reveal. Conclude with your opinion on his philosophy of religion and his view of the Cosmos.

Born on October 15, 1844 in the small town of Röcken, near Leipzig, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a German poet and philosopher, a classical philologist and a professor of Greek at the University of
Basle. He was the author of many works that talked about religion, morality, culture, philosophy, science using a unique style and radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth. In his writings,
Nietzsche called for revision of all values; he rejected organized religion attacking Christianity and other religious institutions as contributors to what he called “slave morality”. He was, also, equally critical of democratic institutions whose singular vision and courage, according to him, produce a “master morality” and he called the rule by mass mediocrity. Nietzsche also believed that European materialism have led to decadence and decline. He died on August 25, 1900.
In his works, he voiced the sentiments of radical moralists. He was deeply critical of his own times and he called for a revision of all values. The major enemy for him was the church and he attacked
Christianity and all religions because he believed that they formed a slave mentality. He wrote his books with such force that he said he writes with his own blood. He was reflecting the cynicism of the 19th century. His famous question was: “Is man a mistake of God or vice versa?” He also claimed that man is not developing into something better, stronger or higher; progress he believed was a modern idea but a false ideal. He believed that the Europeans of his time are vastly inferior in value to Europeans of the
Renaissance.Nietzsche’s philosophy was not based on destroying morality but on initiating a new evaluation of the Judeo-Christian world. He believed that morality exists, he did not deny its existence, but he believed it is misinterpreted and it needs reevaluations of existing values to improve moral standards for people to understand it better.
In his book “Gay Science”, there are many central themes of a joyful affirmation of life and of an immersion in a light-hearted scholarship that takes aesthetic pleasure in life. Nietzsche’s readings reflect his imagination and caustic wit. “I seek God! I seek God! As many of those who do not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter”: this is a quotation from his writing, “Gay
Science”, as an example, Nietzsche offers the doctrine of eternal recurrence, which ranks one’s life as the sole consideration when evaluating how one should act: “Why did he get lost? Did he lose his way like a child? Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us?” This contrasts with the Christian view of an afterlife which emphasizes later reward at the cost of one’s immediate happiness. The “Gay Science” became best known for the statement “God is dead” and the doctrine of eternal recurrence — a doctrine that attends to how people of different levels of health are likely to react to the prospect of an “eternal return” in which one is reborn, over and over again, to relive one's life exactly as before in every pleasurable and painful detail.
His expression: “God is dead” forms a part of his naturalistic and aesthetic alternative to tradition.
Nietzsche's atheism , his account of “God's murder”, was voiced in reaction to the conception of a single, ultimate, judgmental authority who is privy to everyone's hidden and personally embarrassing secrets; his atheism also aimed to redirect people's attention to their inherent freedom, the presently-existing world, and away from escapist, pain-relieving, heavenly other worlds. To a similar end, his doctrine of eternal recurrence serves to draw attention away from all worlds other than the one in which we presently live, since eternal recurrence precludes the possibility of any final escape from the present world. The doctrine also functions as a measure for judging someone's overall psychological strength and mental health, since
Nietzsche believed that the doctrine of eternal recurrence was the hardest world-view to affirm. In his book, he experiments with the notion of power: “You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.” In the reading 5.24, “Gay Science” entitled “The Madman”; he is depicting the parable of the madman who is searching for God. He accuses us all for being the murderers of God: “Whither is God?
He cried; I will tell you: we have killed him you and I. All of us are his murderers…”
Also, in his writing, “Twilight of the Idols”, Nietzsche elaborates some of the criticisms of the major philosophic figures. He says that nobody can estimate the value of life and that any judgment concerning it reveals only the judging person’s life-denying or life-affirming tendencies. He also addresses the art for art’s sake spirit of the late 19th C. and the fragile relationship between art and morality. In his book, he criticizes the German culture of his days as unsophisticated and the book also states the trans-valuation of all values. The book states the trans-valuation of all values as Nietzsche's final and most important project and he also shows a view of antiquity where in the Romans took precedence of ancient Greeks. His central concern is that he wants to affirm life and not deny it. He wants to say yes to life and oppose any philosophy that proposes the denial to the will to life. That’s what he calls the revaluation of values. For Nietzsche, man defines himself by the will to life as he says:
“liberation from the will”. For him, the will to life is what affirms a man’s identity. Man must say either
“yes’ or “no” to life, there is no middle path. If man refuses to step onto the rope, he is being intellectually dishonest. Man must take responsibility for his decisions. There is no way to evade personal responsibility. To explain the philosophies and new morality of the above two books, we should understand that he based the meaning of life insofar as it reflects the ‘will to power.’ The meaning of an individual's actions reflects the will that is placed in them. Judgments about the ‘value’ of human life can never be true, because man cannot be objective about the life in which he is a participant. The ‘will to life’ is a
‘will to power.’ The ‘will to power’ is a striving to gain mastery of the self and of existence. The ‘will to power’ is the striving to extend the self. Denial of the ‘will to life’ is a form of decadence, which reflects moral decay or degeneration. Denial of instinct is a denial of the ‘will to life.’ He disagrees with Socrates that self-knowledge is virtue, and that virtue is attained by knowledge of the self. He says that there is no basis for the equation of reason with virtue, or virtue with happiness. He describes Socratic rationalism as decadent, because it is a method of doubt, rather than an affirmation of the world of possibility. Reality is eternally changing, and not a constant, immutable state of being. It consists of plurality and change, rather than duration and unity. ‘Being’ is an empty fiction; ‘becoming’ is what is real. For him, reason is what distorts our perceptions of the world, because reason can falsify the evidence of our senses. The only
‘real’ world is the world which is apparent to our senses. The ideal world is a state of nonbeing or nothingness. Reason attempts to establish unity, as well as identity, duration, cause, materiality, and being. Reality, however, is a state of transformation, change, disunity, plurality, and becoming. Also, we are not responsible for the fact that we exist. He argues that we are not created by any divine will, or for any divine purpose. If we were created by God, then we would be accountable to God for the fact that we exist. If we were accountable to God, then God would be an objection or contradiction to our existence.
Thus, he argues that God does not exist. If we deny God, we deny accountability. By denying that we are accountable to God, we redeem ourselves. He also condemns Christianity, describing it as corrupt and decadent. For him, the Christian concept of God is a ‘will to nothingness.’ God is dead as is found in his book “Gay Science”, and we are the murderers of God. We cannot believe in God without denying the
‘will to life.’ The Christian concept of devotion, self-sacrifice, and self-renunciation is a denial of who we are as human beings. The true philosopher does not separate himself from life, but places himself within it. He strives for totality, and against the separation of reason, passion, feeling, and the will. The true philosopher affirms everything which is related to him, and thus has the faith that only what is separate and individual may be rejected. He freely creates himself, and thus has faith that in the totality of his freedom, everything is affirmed and redeemed. Many of Nietzsche’s statements in Twilight of the Idols are deliberately provocative and controversial.
Beyond Good and Evil is a comprehensive overview of Nietzsche's mature philosophy. The book consists of 296 aphorisms (truths or opinions), ranging in length from a few sentences to a few pages.
These aphorisms are grouped thematically into nine different chapters and are bookended by a preface and a poem. While each aphorism can stand on its own, there is also something of a linear progression between aphorisms within chapters and from one chapter to another. Nonetheless, each aphorism presents a distinctive point of view, and even the individual chapter summaries omit a great deal. In his book
“Beyond Good and Evil”, he tries to explain and describe a certain philosophy that man must see beyond good and evil, and must reject the illusion of moral judgment. Nietzsche contrasts the philosophers’ dogmatism with the "free spirit" that is not caught up in a particular point of view. He hopes the philosophers of the future will be characterized by such an experimental method, willing to try out any hypothesis, and follow any argument all the way to its conclusion.
After a discussion of the religious spirit, which he claims is a kind of dogmatism, Nietzsche

embarks on a series of epigrams, most of which highlight our bizarre psychological make-up. Next, he

looks at the long history of moral systems as a set of different attempts at self- overcoming. He speaks out

strongly against the morality of the "herd" that encourages a dull mediocrity in all. He finds such a

mediocrity in modern scholarship, which is overly concerned with digging up dry, dull facts. Nietzsche's

ideal philosopher creates meaning and values, and does not simply deal with empty facts.

Nietzsche asserts that there is an "order of rank" according to which the spiritual strength of all people can

be measured. Because of this difference between people, it would be absurd to apply one moral code to all

people. Nietzsche suggests that the strongest people are marked by a cruelty to themselves, according to

which they mercilessly expose their every prejudice and assumption in order to dig more deeply into

themselves. At bottom, however, everyone has prejudices. To prove this point, Nietzsche launches an

eight-page tirade against women. Next, he addresses the question of nationalities and nationalism,

drawing on a kind of Lamarckism that sees different nationalities or "races" as inherently having certain

characteristics. Among other things, Nietzsche attacks anti- Semitism, criticizes the English, and advances

the concept of the "good European," who rises above nationalist sentiment to find true individuality. The book also reflect, finally, Nietzsche's conception of "what is noble": a solitary, suffering soul, who has

risen so far above the common rabble as to be unrecognizable and totally misunderstood by them.

In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche attacks past philosophers for their alleged lack of critical

sense and their blind acceptance of Christian premises in their consideration of morality. The work moves

into the realm "beyond good and evil" in the sense of leaving behind the traditional morality which

Nietzsche subjects to a destructive critique in favor of what he regards as an affirmative approach that

fearlessly confronts the perspective nature of knowledge and the perilous condition of the modern

individual.There are no moral facts, only moral interpretations of facts. Morality interprets phenomena,

but actually misinterprets them. The means by which morality is enforced are actually immoral. Morality

attempts to ‘improve’ human beings by weakening and subjugating them. Morality is only useful as a

form of sign-language to describe the realities of culture and psychology. He defines freedom as the will

to affirm and to be responsible for one self. Freedom requires struggle against hardship. Freedom is

gained by accepting and by affirming life, despite life’s pain and suffering. Freedom is also gained by

mastery of the instinct for ‘happiness.’ Freedom does not mean the denial of one’s impulses and instincts,

but neither does it mean having to rely on them. It is measured by the resistance that has to be overcome,

and by the effort it takes, to make choices and be responsible for them. In the "pre-moral period of

mankind", actions were judged by their consequences. Over the past years, a morality has developed

where actions are judged by their origins (their motivations) not their consequences. This morality of

intentions is, according to Nietzsche, a "prejudice" and "something provisional [...] that must be

overcome". Nietzsche criticizes "unegoistic morality" and demands that "Moralities must first of all be

forced to bow before order of rank". Every "high culture" begins by recognizing "the pathos of distance".

Nietzsche contrasts southern (Catholic) and northern (Protestant) Christianity; northern Europeans have

much less "talent for religion" and lack "southern delicatezza". As elsewhere, Nietzsche praises the Old

Testament while disparaging the New one. In his book, he talks about philosophy and philosophers, the

free spirit, maxims and interlude, religion, the natural history of morals and many others ... Religion has

always been connected to "three dangerous dietary prescriptions: solitude, fasting and sexual abstinence", and has exerted cruelty through demanding sacrifice according to a "ladder" with different rungs of

cruelty, which has ultimately caused God Himself to be sacrificed. Christianity, "the most fatal kind of

self-presumption ever", has beaten everything joyful, assertive and autocratic out of man and turned him

into a "sublime abortion”. If, unlike past philosophers such as Schopenhauer, we really want to tackle the

problems of morality, we must "compare many moralities" and "prepare a typology of morals". He says

that Christianity is a faith of sacrifice; sacrifice of all freedom, pride, self-confidence, and enslavement,

self-mockery and self-mutilation. It has never been faith but always freedom from faith, that half-stoical

and smiling unconcern with the seriousness of faith, that has enraged slaves in their masters and against

their masters, leaving them enraged at the aristocratic morality which seems to deny suffering, and which

itself was a cause of the last great slave revolt which began with the French Revolution. The passion for

God: there is the true-hearted peasant kind.
Nietzsche also discusses the complexities of the German soul, praises the Jews and heavily criticizes the trend of German anti-Semitism . He praises France as "the seat of Europe's most spiritual and refined culture and the leading school of taste". He finds the English coarse, gloomy, more brutal even than the Germans, and declares that "they are no philosophical race", singling out Bacon, Hobbes,
Hume and Locke as representing a "debasement and devaluation of the concept 'philosopher' for more than a century". Nietzsche also touches on problems of translation and the leaden quality of the German language. Here he is talking about the nations, people and culture. In a prophetic statement, Nietzsche proclaims that "The time for petty politics is past: the very next century will bring with it the struggle for mastery over the whole earth".
Finally, in my opinion, I believe that his philosophy remains controversial and that his contribution to philosophy was in the sphere of ethics. His opinions are vehemently radical and show him to be an extremist because he believes we live in an empty meaningless cosmos which is not completely true. There are some meaningful things in life which are necessary for human beings. It is true that at the end we are all going to die but we have to enjoy life and benefit from its advantages and beautiful things it provides. If it is meaningless and empty then people will never experience a happy moment; they will always stay bored and sad with nothing to do. He attacks democracy, socialism, women, Christianity,
Judaism, Hinduism, rationalism, and altruism. His opposition to any concept of moral fact is a result of his opposition to any universal principle of morality. He does not argue that moral value does not exist, but that it has been misinterpreted and misunderstood. He says that morality is false if it supposes that there are moral truths or values which are universal, or which are independent of the particular situations in which morality is applied. Nietzsche’s criticism of morality is particularly sharp and penetrating. He shows that the morality of self-negation and self-denial may become an instrument of subjugation and oppression. His total rejection of traditional morality is an important demonstration that principles of traditional morality require a better foundation. In my opinion, the pros of his philosophy about religion and cosmos are the following: happiness, altruism and selflessness, equality and pity/compassion. On the other hand, the cons are suffering, self-love or self-interest, inequality and indifference to the suffering.

2- Compare the Marxist view of Socialism with that of John Mill and assess their ideas in light if today Capitalism. Give several examples and quotations. Make a general personal conclusion.

Socialism was a response to the horrible working and living conditions of the early industrial revolution. It was highly idealistic, drawing inspiration from a tradition of early Christian communal societies. In fact, it was often too idealistic and democratic, which doomed many early socialist communal experiments, such as one in New Harmony, Indiana, to failure. The term Marxist refers to the group of people who followed the German theorist, Karl Marx, who made the “Communist Manifesto”.
They agreed with the socialists that bourgeois capitalism corrupted humanity. They believe that there will be no change unless people revolt violently and apply the social system to everyone; they demand force to change and they also believe in liberating people from obstacles. While early socialists tried to build a new order within the existing one, Marx believed the present order must first be destroyed by revolution before a truly socialist society could evolve. They believed in revolution to change existing structure for the better. Their goal was to establish a new society over the old one. They regarded capitalism as a system that puts wealth in the hands of very few people creating a society that is oppressed and poor.
That’s why they believed there were deep psychological effects affecting the working class. That is why they believed that the workers will revolt to take the tools of protection and abolish private property. They drew lot of attention on the role of economics and materialism in people’s life and they stressed on the fact that what determined the aspects in life was earning a living. Marxists believed in Hegel and the dialectic. However, Marxism is more than just a revolutionary call to arms for the working class. It is an entire system of thought with its own all encompassing view of society, economics, and history.
To start with, Marx believed in economic determinism, the idea that how a society produces and distributes its wealth will determine its social and political structure, laws, and even religion. Therefore, he saw history as a series of class struggles as humanity evolved through five basic stages of society: primitive hunting and gathering societies, slave societies, feudal societies, capitalist societies and socialist society. Marx saw each type of society as a necessary stage in the evolution toward the socialist society.
Likewise, he saw the capitalist society of his own time as self destructive and moving inevitably toward socialist revolution. This largely hinged on his labor theory of value. This stated that any product was only worth as much the workers were paid to make it. Anything a capitalist charged beyond this amount was called surplus value. And it was here that Marx saw the beginning of the fatal cycle that would destroy capitalism.
For example, if capitalists charged more for a product than their workers were paid to make it, not everyone could sell their goods because, among other things, the workers would not be paid enough to buy them. This would drive some owners out of business and create a smaller business class, although individually they each would be richer. However, to stay competitive, they would have to invest in more efficient, and expensive, machinery, thus lying off workers in the process. Since they would still overcharge for their products and there were now even fewer workers to buy them, more owners would be driven from business and the cycle would repeat. However, this cycle could not continue indefinitely, since each time around there would be a growing gap between the fabulously rich and desperately poor.
Eventually, this would trigger a revolution that would destroy the capitalist order. The triumphant workers would then build a society where people as a whole owned everything in common. Private property would disappear, and with it social classes, conflict over property, and any need for government, family, and religion, which were all seen as instruments of bourgeois oppression. There would be no rich or poor, thus allowing each individual to find true fulfillment. However, for all of this to happen, an intermediate stage of government would be necessary to guide the revolution to this workers' utopia. Marxists found the complex in the world itself and the ideas came out from the conflict; they were result of the conflict and not the cause. They believed that the main conflicts in the world were social ones and will finally produce a synthesis where no more conflicts are left and history becomes to an end. This will lead to the dissolution of the state. Marx also realized that divine rights (kings) at the time of France and England, were replaced by human rights (rights of man). Also, reason replaced tradition.
He learnt many things from the French revolution; what he saw in this revolution was that the thesis and antithesis is a struggle between social classes. Marxists also believed that people’s motives, attitudes, and actions are determined by economic positions and interests and also by class position. On the other hand, John Stuart Mill, a British philosopher, political economist, civil servant and
Member of Parliament, was an influential liberal thinker of the 19th century. He was an exponent of utilitarianism, an ethical theory developed by Jeremy Bentham, although his conception of it was very different from Bentham's. He was educated by his father and his school traditions were empiricism, utilitarianism and liberalism. His main interests were political philosophy, ethics, economics and inductive knowledge. His notable ideas are the public/private sphere, hierarchy of pleasures in utilitarianism, liberalism, early liberal feminism and the first system of inductive knowledge. He was influenced by many people such as Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, and Locke… and he influenced many philosophers after him such as William James, Karl Popper… He was married to Harriet Taylor and he died in Avignon, France in 1873 and is buried alongside his wife.
Mill had several works and he talked about the theory of liberty, social liberty, religion, non secular governance and atheism, human rights and slavery, utilitarianism, and provided an economic philosophy. In his theory of social liberalism Mill believes that “the struggle between Liberty and
Authority is the most conspicuous feature in the portions of history.” For him, liberty in antiquity was a
“contest... between subjects, or some classes of subjects, and the government". By liberty, he meant protection against the tyranny of the political rulers” and he calls it “social liberty.” He introduces different tyrannies such as social tyranny, and the tyranny of the majority. Social Liberty for Mill was to put limits on the ruler’s power so that he would not be able to use his power on his own wishes and make every kind of decision which could harm society; in other words, people should have the right to a say in the government’s decisions. He said that social liberty was “the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual”. It was attempted in two ways: first, by obtaining recognition of certain immunities, called political liberties or rights; second, by establishment of a system of "constitutional checks". However, limiting the power of government is not enough. "Society can and does execute its own mandates: and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself.”“The rulers should be identified with the people; that their interest and will should be the interest and will of the nation. The nation did not need to be protected against its own will.” By will of nation, he means the will of “the most active part of people [and] the majority.”“The people, consequently, may desire to oppress a part of their number; and precautions are as much needed against this, as against any other abuse of power.” He calls this type of power the “tyranny of majority” when the majority oppresses the minority by their decisions which could be harmful and wrong sometimes. As he writes, that tyranny of majority
“is still vulgarly, held in dread, chiefly as operating through the acts of the public authorities.”
His theory frees people from government actions and states that freedom is available for all people. Governors or rulers would not be able to use their power on their own wishes and make a decision which could harm society. People will have the right to be their own rulers and government (they say what they like and what they don’t); limitations of the power and people will have political liberties. The ruler’s interests will be that of the general will. The interest of the whole public and the majority and not for the sake of one single person or a group of people, and the majority or the more wealthy people won’t impose anything on the minority and each one has his own rights living freely and doing what’s good for him and for the nation’s will. Freedom is vitally important in many ways. But on the other hand, liberty would become a disadvantage if it is misused and/or lost because once people get their liberty they should keep it and not lose it. If people get much more liberty than they should get they will lose control and use it in negative way for their own purposes and chaos will rule. Therefore, there should be partial freedom
(social liberty but with limits).Also, applying social liberty and providing equality to all people will be a problem because it is not easy to apply it. Social Liberty should be used for the will of the majority and not each individual otherwise there will be chaos.
In my opinion, Marxism had both its good points and its problems. First of all, it was valuable for pointing out the importance of economics and class struggle in history. On the other hand, it failed to account for the role of individual genius, stupidity, and especially greed in human affairs, assuming that everyone would voluntarily give up all individual possessions for the common good. Also, Marx assumed his socialist revolution would take place in industrialized countries, when in fact it actually occurred in pre-industrial societies such as Russia, China, and Cuba. This was largely because, by Marx's death in 1883, conditions for industrial workers were starting to improve, thus undercutting any appeal socialist revolution might have for them. However, many subsequent social reforms, both in countries that hated and feared Marxism as well as ones that followed it, could trace their existence back to Karl
Marx. The theory had many misconceptions and misperceptions because it took one single example and it generalized it and Marxists looks at what we consider to be primitive capitalism and therefore they based their theory on what they saw and considered to be primitive capitalism. Also, strikes, unions and cooperatives were created for improvement and not revolution. Also, the revolution Marxists believed were the result of changing order was not; they were a result of overpopulation and starvation. The theory also shows us the psychology of man: “Man by nature is capitalistic, greedy and he is not ready to share.” On the other hand, when it comes to Mill, I believe there should be social liberty but within limits which means partial social liberty. The ruler and people should have their own freedom. The ruler should not use his power and freedom in an oppressive way towards his people or make them feel as slaves for him. And on the other hand, the people should use their freedom in a limited way and not trespass others freedom or impose their ideas on them. Each one should use his social liberty in the service of the general will or the majority and not for oneself because if each person seeks his own liberty and goals there will be chaos since every person is unique and each one have different goals and aims to reach. But if people’s freedom was used for the sake of the general will and majority, this they will be benefiting themselves and others at the same time without a superior role for anyone. If people do not want to live within a nation according to the general will then they take freedom to leave it as Rousseau says. By this way no body rules (people rule themselves by themselves) and all people will have equality and liberty and the will of the majority will be accomplished for the best of all.…...

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