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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 84, Issue 2, Spring 2010
Friedrich Nietzsche

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1. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 84 > Issue: 2
Charles Bambach Introduction
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2. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 84 > Issue: 2
Gary Shapiro Nietzsche’s Unmodern Thinking: Globalization, the End of History, and “Great Events”
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In his four Unmodern Observations (Unzeitmässige Betrachtungen) of the 1870s, Nietzsche confronted early philosophical versions of positions more recentlydiscussed under such rubrics as globalization and the end of history. What he intended by marking these essays as “unmodern” or “untimely” was to designatetheir critical stance toward both the philistine self-congratulation of the era and the Hegelian philosophy with which it explained and justified itself. Basic to thisHegelian conception of history is a concept of the world-historical “great event,” a turning point that manifests itself in the world of political states. The Unmodernseries broke off with Nietzsche’s essay on Wagner, where he attempted to articulate his own non-statist version of a great event. The current essay diagnoses theinterruption of this project as a failure to fully abandon Hegelian thinking, and outlines a reading of Nietzsche’s later, more compelling (and unHegelian) conceptof the great event.
3. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 84 > Issue: 2
Babette Babich Ex aliquo nihil: Nietzsche on Science, Anarchy, and Democratic Nihilism
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This essay explores the nihilistic coincidence of the ascetic ideal and Nietzsche’s localization of science in the conceptual world of anarchic socialismas Nietzsche indicts the uncritical convictions of modern science by way of a critique of the causa sui, questioning both religion and the enlightenment as well asboth free and unfree will and condemning the “poor philology” enshrined in the language of the “laws” of nature. Reviewing the history of philosophical nihilismin the context of Nietzsche’s “tragic knowledge” along with political readings of nihilism, willing nothing rather than not willing at all, today’s this-worldly and very planetary nihilism includes the virtual loci of technological desire (literally willing nothing) as well as the perpetual and consequently pointless threat of nuclear annihilation and the routine or ordinary annihilation of plant and animal life as of inorganic nature.
4. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 84 > Issue: 2
Dale Wilkerson A “Dictatorship of Relativism” and the Specter of Nietzsche: Between Heidegger and Fink
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What contemporary social and political significance, if any, can we draw from Nietzsche’s philosophy? The present essay looks into this question by first examining the broader debate regarding anti-foundational tendencies in post-Nietzschean discourses and their alleged threat to liberal democracies. Thatthese tendencies can indeed be traced back to Nietzsche, specifically through Martin Heidegger’s problematic transmission, will then be discussed along withthe more general theme of how metaphysics stands in socio-political practices and why metaphysics should be overcome. The sorts of problems stemming fromHeidegger’s transmission of Nietzsche are philosophical and historical in nature, both of which make the contemporary socio-political significance of Nietzsche’sphilosophy difficult to discern. The essay examines some of these problems through a discussion of an historical encounter between Heidegger and Eugen Fink. The essay concludes with the thought that despite the various ways in which the name of Nietzsche haunts contemporary discourses, a promise for liberal democracy is also contained therein.
5. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 84 > Issue: 2
Keith Ansell-Pearson In Search of Authenticity and Personality: Nietzsche on the Purifications of Philosophy
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Throughout Nietzsche’s writings we find discussion of various human maladies and sicknesses, such as the historical malady and decadence, along withvarious conceptions of a possible cure or therapy. In this essay I argue that Nietzsche’s conception of philosophy’s therapeutic role centres on the protection and promotion of authenticity and explore his preoccupation with authentic existence in each one of his three main intellectual periods. After an opening section on therapeia and paideia in Nietzsche, I focus first on writings from his early period, notably the untimelies on history and Schopenhauer; in the next main section I select Dawn from the middle period as a text that highlights Nietzsche’s continued preoccupation with authenticity; and in the final main section I focus on the late Nietzsche and note the continuities in his lifelong project of self-cultivation and emphasis on the goals of culture.
6. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 84 > Issue: 2
James I. Porter Theater of the Absurd: Nietzsche’s Genealogy as Cultural Critique
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The paper seeks to demystify Nietzsche’s concept of genealogy. Genealogy tells the story of historical origins in the form of a myth that is betrayed fromwithin, while readers have naively assumed it tells a story that Nietzsche endorses—whether of history or naturalized origins. Looked at more closely, genealogy,I claim, tells the story of human consciousness and its extraordinary fallibility. It relates the conditions and limits of consciousness and how these are activelyavoided and forgotten, for the most part in vain. The lessons are these: there is no human time before consciousness; no unconscious activity that is uncontaminated by consciousness or culture; no period of prehistory that isn’t already historical or historicized, hence subject to dehistoricization (for prehistory, Urzeit, always comes after history, in the form of a myth); no primordial “innocence of becoming,” let alone any future condition free of these same constraints. Genealogy is the critique of the myth of knowing critique.
7. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 84 > Issue: 2
Holger Zaborowski From Modesty to Dynamite, from Socrates to Dionysus: Friedrich Nietzsche on “Intellectual Honesty”
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This paper examines Nietzsche’s philosophical self-understanding and focuses particularly on the concept of intellectual honesty. It discusses, first, thewritings of his middle period, particularly Human, All Too Human, Daybreak, and The Gay Science, and analyses Nietzsche’s critique of religion, Christianity, andWestern philosophy and science. In so doing, it introduces his (Socratic) emphasis on the role of modesty and intellectual honesty as a key to understanding his(early and) middle philosophy. The paper then moves on to show that and why his later philosophical works express less of a concern for intellectual honesty thanhis earlier works. It examines the radical (Dionysian) character of Nietzsche’s later philosophy and draws attention to the intrinsic paradoxes of his later thought. Itthus discusses an important development in Nietzsche’s philosophy and dialectic within modern thought that deserves close attention if an adequate understanding of the course of modern thought is at stake.
8. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 84 > Issue: 2
Robert E. Wood High and Low in Nietzsche’s Zarathustra
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Contrary to wide-spread caricatures of Nietzsche, he has definite standards of value that are largely defensible, though on another basis than he provides. Thenadir is the Last Man; the zenith is the Overman. Contrary to the otherworldliness of Plato and the Christian tradition, Nietzsche demands fidelity to the earth anda love of the body. The modern virtue of truthfulness dissolved the tradition, but eventuated in the Last Man who lives in “wretched contentment.” The Overmanrequires organizing the chaos of one’s life and submission to centuries-long practices without contempt for the earth. He demands the unity of conscious and unconscious, sensitivity to beauty, love of each individual thing and the love of eternity. He seeks broad vision grounding the unity of humankind in which each individual can find his or her highest potential. All these are eminently defensible values.
9. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 84 > Issue: 2
Philippe Gagnon Nietzsche between the Eternal Return to Humanity and the Voice of the Many
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Thus Spoke Zarathustra expresses a revolt against the quest for “afterworlds.” Nietzsche is seen transferring rationality to the body, welcoming the many in akingdom of the un-unified multiple, with a burst of enthusiasm at the figure of recurrence. At first, he values an acceptation of suffering through reconciliation with time, and puts the onus on the divine to refute the dismembering of the oneness of meaning and unity of the soul’s quest for joy in eternity. Then confrontingChristianity, he sees its refusal to sacrifice anyone, at the cost of making all sick with a unique healer, and rejects it as incompatible with his ideal of plenitude. Inthe absence of an ontology of the person, the affirmation of the individual and his value, opposed to the antagonistic affirmation of the many put in front of theone God and destroyed by him, ends up dislocating the reality of the self. The Nietzschean option resisted any leveling down—this is its merit—yet the mysteryof the Trinity needs to be brought into the reflection to respect Nietzsche’s own terms in defining the final problem which is also the one option: Dionysus orthe Crucified?
10. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 84 > Issue: 2
Chad Engelland Teleology, Purpose, and Power in Nietzsche
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Nietzsche subjects traditional philosophical causality to a skeptical critique. With the moderns, he rejects form as superficial. Against the moderns, he findsphysical laws and their ground in a free consciousness equally superficial, and he thinks that the principle of utility is ultimately life denying. However, Nietzscheis not a skeptic, and he has his own doctrine of causality centered on the noble power of the philosopher. The philosopher has the ability to impose new purposes, and this power is the culmination of nature and history. The philosopher believes himself to be a kind of exemplar cause, the consummation of the whole. His is not an instrumental good but one sought for its own sake.