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A Beginner's Guide to Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil

ISBN: 978-1-4051-6004-9
232 pages
January 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
A Beginner
A concise and very readable summary of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, geared toward students embarking on their studies and general readers. It is an ideal companion for those new to the study of this challenging and often misunderstood classic.
  • Offers clear explanations of the central themes and ideas, terminology, and arguments
  • Includes a glossary of difficult terms as well as helpful biographical and historical information
  • Illustrates arguments and ideas with useful tables, diagrams, and images; and includes references to further readings
  • Forms part of a series of Guides designed specifically for A-level philosophy students by an experienced teacher and founder of the popular website Philosophy Online

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    List of Illustrations vii

    Acknowledgements viii

    Introduction x

    Chapter 1: Background 1

    Life of Nietzsche 1

    Nineteenth-century Europe 8

    Romanticism and German Idealism 9

    Pessimism 9

    German Politics 11

    The Text 12

    Chapter 2: Explanation and Summary of the Main Arguments 14

    Introduction 14

    Preface 14

    Part One: On the Prejudices of Philosophers 16

    Part Two: The Free Spirit 34

    Part Three: The Religious Nature 44

    Part Four: Maxims and Interludes 52

    Part Five: On the Natural History of Morals 55

    Part Six: We Scholars 63

    Part Seven: Our Virtues 68

    Part Eight: Peoples and Fatherlands 81

    Part Nine: What is Noble? 88

    From High Mountains: Epode 103

    Chapter 3: Critical Themes 105

    Introduction 105

    Reality, Truth and Philosophical Prejudice 106

    Philosophical prejudices 106

    1. The will to truth 108

    2. Faith in antithetical values 110

    3. Distinction between appearance and reality 112

    4. Atomism 115

    5. Teleological explanation 120

    6. Immediate certainty 124

    7. Causa sui 129

    8. Reification 133

    Nietzsche’s anti-realism 135

    God, Religion and the Saint 137

    The question of God’s existence 137

    Religious neurosis and the saint 142

    Beyond pessimism: the Übermensch and the eternal return 144

    Morality, Ressentiment and the Will to Power 149

    Ethical naturalism 149

    A natural history of morality 151

    Ressentiment 152

    Will to power 155

    Appendix: Overview of Beyond Good and Evil 161

    Notes 169

    Glossary 181

    Bibliography and Suggested Reading 206

    Index 210

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    Gareth Southwell taught at Swansea College of Further Education between 1998 and 2005, where he also developed online learning materials and educational websites. In his spare time, he developed PhilosophyOnline, the popular resource for both teachers and students. A graduate in English and Philosophy from Swansea University, Southwell is an assistant examiner for AQA, and has recently completed a PhD in philosophy at the University of Newport. He also works as a freelance illustrator and has regularly published caricatures in The Philosophers' Magazine.
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    • Provides a concise, readable summary of the text
    • Offers clear explanations of the central themes and ideas, terminology, and arguments
    • Includes a glossary of difficult terms as well as helpful biographical and historical information
    • Illustrates arguments and ideas with useful tables, diagrams, and images and includes references to further readings
    • Forms part of a series of Guides designed specifically for A-level philosophy students by an experienced teacher and founder of the popular website Philosophy Online
    See More
    "Anyone teaching Beyond Good and Evil will want to keep a copy of this close to hand. For those who are familiar with the texts it will help to reinvogorate their approach and for those teaching the text for the first time it will provide an excellent guide to the complexities of Nietzsche's ideas." George McWilliams, Head of Philosophy and Ethics, Ullswater Community College

    "Gareth Southwell’s Beginner’s Guide is an outstanding introduction to Nietzsche’s text: lively and approachable in tone, yet rigorous and insightful in its handling of the material. A comprehensive and well-informed treatment, this book judiciously blends detailed analysis and illuminating explanation with more wide-ranging discussion. It has some stand-out features that make it extremely helpful for the student, and represents an excellent guide not only to the text and its contexts, but more broadly to the terms and techniques of philosophical debate." Duncan Large, Swansea University and the Friedrich Nietzsche Society

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