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Croatian Journal of Philosophy

Volume 5, Issue 1, 2005

Jacob Golomb
Pages 121-137

The Non-Viability of Nietzsche’s Highest Ideals

This essay deals critically with Nietzsche’s anthropological typology of the “free spirit par excellence”, “we spirits”, persons endowed with positive as against negative power patterns, and the ideal of the Übermensch. The conclusions are twofold. The first is that actually it was not Nietzsche’s ideal of the Overman that was the pinnacle of his anthropological philosophy, but the even more ideal type of the “free spirit par excellence”. The second conclusion is that it is impossible to envisage a society consisting of such “free spirits”. This thesis is highlighted by contrasting the society of Übermenchen, who, according to Nietzsche, might live in society and even need it as a sine qua non for their cultivation, with free spirits par excellence, who are by definition free from any social ethos, and hence impossible within its framework. However, I argue that, on Nietzsche’s terms, the ideal of the Übermench is also not viable in society. Hence this essay points to an inherent flaw ofNietzsche’s existential philosophy -- the non-viability of its most sublime ideals.

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