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.
Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.
©1999 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1999 The Great Courses
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.
I am very interested in the topic. But the delivery in this instance leaves much to be desired. He sounds asthmatic, and that almost entirely ruined the course before the end of the first lesson. Those shallow gasps for air make him very hard to listen to. Secondly he isn't very good at capturing or retaining attention. She's much easier to listen to, but by the point I gave up at she hadn't covered very many of the lectures. Thirdly, I bought this to learn about Nietzsche, and this course requires at least a beginners understanding of him and his works, preferably a misunderstanding as a number of the lectures are to clear up misunderstandings. I plan to buy another book on Nietzsche as I'm still interested, but not one that has me searching for an inhaler and a cup of coffee.
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 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.
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.
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.
No, not from these professors. It seems almost disingenuous to refer to them as professors. Having majored in philosophy in college, I have to say that so far I find them to be the worst philosophy professors I've ever had.
I've finished lecture five so far, and I have to agree with the other reviewer who quit listening at this stage. I will continue listening, however, and update my review or post a new one if it gets any better. At this stage, though, the lectures are very disappointing. The professors use "Nietzsche thought" virtually interchangeably with "I think," particularly the male professor. They seem to be defending Nietzsche more than explaining him or teaching what he wrote or thought, and incessantly seem to inject their own opinions and biases throughout. But, since they rarely back up their opinions and assertions with actual quotations from any of Nietzsche's writings, it becomes impossible to distinguish between what Nietzsche actually said vs. what these professors think about what he said, or even what the professors think regardless of what Nietzsche said.
Many times it sounds simply like the opinion of the professors themselves about a given subject. But, even that wouldn't be so bad if they were informed, well-reasoned, and substantiated opinions, but they're not. Generally, they erect a straw man mischaracterization of an idea, and then proceed to criticize that.
If the ideas presented are Nietzsche's, and not merely those of the professors, then I am thoroughly unimpressed with Nietzsche. Either Nietzsche argued poorly for his ideas, or the professors argue poorly for theirs.Tellingly, the professors even offer a defense of logical fallacies. This makes sense, of course, since they indulge in them so frequently.
A professor who could objectively explain the writings, reasonings, and philosophy of Nietzsche, backing up what they say with excerpts from the actual writings themselves rather than just talking about what THEY think Nietzsche meant....or worse, just talking about what THEY think about any given subject or idea. It's clear they agree with Nietzsche on a great many things....but I'm not interested in learning about these professors personal Nietzchean philosophies, I'm interested in NIETZCHE'S philosophy and writings.
Well, I supposed I learned more about Nietzsche than I knew beforehand...the problem is I don't know what is the true Nietzsche and what is simply the opinion or interpretation of the professors.
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)
It had many varieties of thots considering the two that wrote it were very much studiers of Nietzsche which made it interesting
Nietzshe is one of the most interesting philosophers of all time. There is so much to be revealed and think about when you read his writings
Some was too much opinion and not enough reading of the actual parts of the writings
It's good to hear another view, we all have our opinions and sometimes it is good to just take a Nietzshe book to a place that is quiet and read the intensity of it.
Geopolitics, history, and philosophy junkie. I love smoothly flowing prose that moves me effortlessly from one idea to the next.
I'm not a big fan of being uber harsh on teachers. They worked hard to learn their subject and take the time to present it for my education. However, since I'm paying for it...
There are great lecturers that entice and interest me in the subject. Then there are those that bore and repel me, this was the latter. I learned very little about Nietzsche that I didn't already know. An enlightened discussion about his philosophy it was not...or very little. Too bad, a missed opportunity in a very worthwhile subject.
After listening to a 100 books here on Audible, I have found it most important that the performance is better than or at least equal to the material being presented. If not, then it becomes laborious...
"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
"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.
"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.
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