Who was Friedrich Nietzsche? This lonely and chronically ill, yet passionate, daring, and complex man is perhaps the most mysterious and least understood of all contemporary philosophers. Why are his brilliant insights so relevant for today? How did he become the most misinterpreted and unfairly maligned intellectual figure of the last two centuries?
To provide shape to Nietzsche's thought, each of these 24 lectures focuses on specific ideas that preoccupied Nietzsche while tracing the profound themes that give meaning to his work. You'll get a chance to put Nietzsche's life and work in a larger historical and philosophical context. You'll explore the controversial philosopher's subtle, complex critique of both religious belief and Greek rationalism.
You'll also spend a wealth of time focusing on Nietzsche's famous writing style, which deftly combines the majesty of the prophet, the force of the Homeric warrior, and the lyricism of the poet - but which nonetheless is rife with inconsistencies, exaggerations, and personal attacks. And you'll get a better understanding of Nietzsche's complaints and criticisms of the intellectual currents of his time: Christian moralism, evolution, socialism, democracy, and nationalism.
As you make your way through these lectures, you'll discover that Nietzsche, even at his most polemical and offensive, exudes an unmistakable enthusiasm and love of life. In fact, you'll see that his exhortation to learn to love and accept one's own life, to make it better by becoming who one really is, forms the project that is the true core of his work.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©1999 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1999 The Great Courses
Thoughtful, but with much more of a focus on defending Nietszche from attacks than actually exploring his thought. We learn speculative theories, but relatively little about specific works.
This is a very comprehensive course on Nietzsche. Not just his works and his thoughts, but there is a rather helpful and contexualizing of his life as well.
It's a real pleasure to listen to lecturers who love their subject. A few, though by no means all, of these Courses series are taught by people who have a really selective preference for certain parts of what their teaching, but not all of it, and it shows.
Professors Higgins and Solomon are tremendous fans of Nietzsche's work; it comes through in their passion and enthusiasm for the topic and it makes some of the harder-to-grasp concepts presented much easier to take on board.
I also really appreciated some of the back and forth, dialogic style of the presentation. It made the apologetics more vibrant and fertile.
A different set of professors/lecturers would have been potentially better. Professor Solomon's and Higgins' interpretations of Nietzsche are sometimes highly suspect. I'm not a professional philosopher, but I have spent a fair amount of time studying and reflecting upon Nietzsche's works with the aid of secondary literature.
For example, early on in the lectures, Professor Solomon insists that Nietzsche isn't a moral relativist in the strictest sense. This is a very questionable reading of Nietzsche's moral philosophy. While I am aware that Nietzsche saw the rise of nihilism as a problem for humanity, the most plausible interpretation of his works clearly suggests that he was a moral anti-realist. For this reason, it seems as though Professor Solomon is trying to fit Nietzsche into his own worldview rather than representing the philosophy more objectively.
Not all of the lectures are as disappointing. The lectures on Amor Fati and Nietzsche's virtue ethics are interesting and on point for the most part.
My biggest complaint is Professor Solomon's narration style. It reminded me of why I often despise the lecture format for learning in general. It turns out that "how you say it" does indeed matter just as much as "what you say."
Very dull delivery.
If you're down with the ISTP then we can read Wikipedia together all night.
Very satisfying, will be listened to sever times to fully understand.
good balance of biography and analysis with extensive contextual education
world class expertise and passion for Nietzsche
I knew I was interested in Nietzsche, but I never knew I would adore his views this much
combine this book with some additional content to get a more rounded experience, a Nietzsche documentary or a read of his work (which is difficult to appreciate for me taken alone)
Thus is a Great Course . . . I learned a lot and will listen to it many more times in the future . . .
Great series and it helps immensely that it's in 30 min bite size chucks because it is nice to reflect on the subject matter immediately after a lecture.
This is a great course for anyone seeking to understand the basic philosophical frameworks of Nietzsche. I am a Master's student and used the lectures from this audio book to prepare for a course in sociology theory. I really enjoyed the content and found it to be extremely helpful in providing an overview for such an in depth subject. I liked the fact that the lecturers were husband and wife, and I especially enjoyed hearing a women's perspective on Nietzsche, who is often portrayed as misogynistic. They clarified the fundamental themes in Nietzsche's writings, and provided context that my college course did not.
"A sanitised one-sided diet of opinion"
First and foremost, a confession that the views stated here reflect the lecturers' opinions, but are not to be considered THE truth of the matter. I have listened to other 'Great Courses', and I've found the lecturers to be generally balanced and eager to state that 'there are two sides, and I think this, but others disagree'. This is what you expect in an 'introductory' course. Here, we have an outrageously skewed attempt to defend Nietzsche against any who dislike him, for whatever reason. Yes, Nietzsche has been dealt with as an absurd straw man by many idiots over the years, but those can be dismissed fairly rapidly. We don't need an entire course saying: 'he wasn't as bad as you've heard!'
Secondly, some (at least SOME) coverage of the alternative interpretations. Not only of Nietzsche and his work, but also of the many other philosophers (covered in this course) to whom Nietzsche was responding. For example (this one really made me mad), the treatment of Hegel here is outrageously 'revised', when there is a genuinely 50/50 disagreement in academic philosophy between 'revised' Hegel and 'traditional' Hegel... I'm not saying the lecturers shouldn't argue their case, but they should at least acknowledge that there's some genuine interpretative disagreement here, and provide the listener with some informative stuff about each side. More importantly, the traditional Hegel interpretation is almost certainly closer to the one that Nietzsche was responding to, so it's borderline disingenuous - and, frankly, dishonest - to present Hegel in this modern way in the context of a Nietzsche introduction.
Thirdly, what they've made of Nietzsche's work... This process of defending him against all criticism, against all sensitive sensibilities, ends up stripping his work of the larger part of its power. It is meant, at times, to be upsetting, shocking, etc. That's part of the point. This sanitised 'nicey-nicey' version ends up looking like a shallow self-help system. The listener would be forgiven for thinking, on the basis of this introduction, that Nietzsche was just a misunderstood hippy.
Irritation, disappointment, frustration. I appreciate that I'm in a slightly different position to most listeners, in that I'm pretty well-versed in this stuff (PhD Philosophy, university philosophy lecturer who teaches Nietzsche), but I was hoping this would have some interesting discussion and interpretation, some different points of views or ways of putting/explaining things, some interesting facts that I hadn't heard before, just as I've found in other 'great courses'. But this was really lousy! I'm annoyed that there are now a load of people in the world who've heard this course and probably think Nietzsche was essentially a misunderstood hippy...! I found myself constantly wanting to say: 'Seriously, you're not going to mention THAT?!' Or: 'Seriously, you're going to leave it at THAT, and not mention the (sometimes dominant) view to contrary?!'
It's also rather US-centric. (Emerson gets some focus, but no Dostoevsky?!) Most of the 'up-to-date-real-life examples' are cringingly #firstworldproblems.
In conclusion, I'm left with this strange feeling that they've somehow insulted Nietzsche in this... They've tried to fit him and his work into anything that would feel comfortable for them. They've turned Nietzsche into a 'Last Man' version of Nietzschean philosophy. I think he'd be appalled.
"Just what I wanted"
Great level, lots of background into the man and enough depth to make me feel I have a bit more than an overview of the subject
I have finally found a comprehensive beginning to fascinating thinker.
This book examines and disects Nietzsche against other powerful thinkers of Existentialism.
"A deep and detailed analysis of Nietzche"
I haven't read the print version but this is very easy to listen to. The narrators are great and they obviously love Nietzsche but also have a good understanding of him and attempt to be fair.
It is very revealing and talks in a more fair way about a complex man rather than just presenting him as one sentence that is the usual way of presenting him.
Many of the deep philosophical studies made me see the world differently and gain a better understanding of life.
It would make a boring film and is much more suited to this type of media, or even as a written book.
If you want to know about Nietzsche this is a great introduction to his life and his works, so you not only get an understanding of what he wrote and thought, but also maybe why he wrote it and thought it that way.
"interesting as always"
Plenty to think about!.
[The space left can be ignored as I don't need 20 words to give my opinion]
Very interesting and well presented by the two lecturers. I would definitely recommend this course.
"A good synopsis of Nietschze thinking"
A series of lectures which sometimes fracture the continuity but very good with that proviso
"Nietzsche is king!"
goes over the most essential parts of Nietzsches philosophy without being pompous or meandering! no high level abstract crap but only trying to explain practically. VERY interesting!
"A really great series of lectures, a great listen"
A useful, immersing take on the beautiful philosophical questions and answers of one of the world's most maligned and misunderstood thinkers. They had me grinning and laughing and truly moved in equal measure. Worth noting that the format is very much that of lectures rather than a read written work.
I will be listening to it again soon.
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