Adam Grant

Friedrich Nietzsche

Famous and Influential German Philosopher


Friedrich Nietzsche was born in Röcken, German, a small town outside of Leipzig, on October 15th, 1844. He was born the son of a pastor. His father died when he was 5 years of age and then moved to Naumburg with his mother, his sisters, his grandmother and his fathers unmarried sisters. Many critics of Nietzsche claim his bias' about gender come from being raised in a female run household. He served in the Prussian military as a medical technician as well as taught at a few universities.

The Philosophy of Nietzsche

Nietzsche was very interested in the will to power. He stated that every persons actions were done to exercise ones own power. He stated that there were different types of people of different castes. These were not like castes in an Indian society, but more like those who have the motivation to better themselves and those who are content. Nietzsche says we should never be content and never be satisfied. There is always something we can do to strive to better ourselves. We should strive to become the übermensch, or the over man. A super man as some would translate it. The best possible forms of ourselves. He said that no one can become the übermensch, but we should still be trying to.

One of the most controversial statements ever made by any philosopher comes from the mind of Nietzsche. God Is Dead. He did not mean that there was an actual God who had reached the end of his time or suffered a tragic misfortune in his life. What he meant was that the growth of secularism in Europe was leading everyone to think in different ways, diversifying peoples morals, ethics and metaphysical beliefs. Even though people still go to church, that doesn't mean that they all believe the same thing or act Christian.

Many called Nietzsche a Nazi. Even though some of his philosophy seems very pro-German people, stating that they are supreme to the rest of the world, he is not a Nazi. There are many parts of his books that state the German people are superior to the rest of the world, but he was not antisemetic. He actually wasn't fond of any people that claim to be apart of a religion. One of his sisters actually married a man who was apart of the antisemetic movement, and had written some very nasty things in the letters to his sister. Sometimes a majority of the letters were just criticizing her husband.

His Writings

28 - 1872 The Birth Of Tragedy.

29 - 1873 Untimely Meditations I: David Strauss: the Confessor and the Writer.

30 - 1874 Untimely Meditations II: On the Use and Abuse of History for Life.

30 - 1874 Untimely Meditations III: Schopenhauer as Educator.

32 - 1876 Untimely Meditations IV: Richard Wagner in Bayreuth.

34 - 1877 Human, All Too Human.

34 - 1877 Mixed Opinions and Maxims.

35 - 1879 The Wanderer and His Shadow.

36 - 1880 The Dawn.

37 - 1881 The Cheerful Science.

39 - 1882-85 Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

42 - 1886 Beyond Good and Evil.

43 - 1887 On the Genealogy of Morals.

44 - 1888 The Case of Wagner.

44 - 1888 Twilight of the Idols. (Published January 24, 1889.)

44 - 1888 Nietzsche contra Wagner. (Published February 1889.)

44 - 1888 The Antichrist. (Published November 1894.)

44 - 1888 Ecce Homo. (Published April 1908.)

41-44 - 1901 The Will to Power. (Notes selected and published by Nietzsche's sister)

His Death

One of the most tragic things about Nietzsche was his death. Even though there is no definite answer as to how he died, many suspect it was because of syphilis. Which he contracted when he was younger from the only sexual partner he had mentioned. The story goes, he lost his virginity to a woman, contracted syphilis, and never was with another woman for the rest of his life.

German Terms

übermensch - over man or super man

wille zur macht - will to power

Works Cited

ger/101/2010/fall/adam_grant.txt · Last modified: 2010/10/28 21:39 (external edit)
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