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Beyond Good and Evil – Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Beyond Good and Evil – Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (German: Jenseits von Gut und Böse: Vorspiel einer Philosophie der Zukunft) is a book by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche that expands the ideas of his previous work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, with a more critical and polemical approach. It was first published in 1886.

In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche accuses past philosophers of lacking critical sense and blindly accepting dogmatic premises in their consideration of morality. Specifically, he accuses them of founding grand metaphysical systems upon the faith that the good man is the opposite of the evil man, rather than just a different expression of the same basic impulses that find more direct expression in the evil man. The work moves into the realm “beyond good and evil” in the sense of leaving behind the traditional morality which Nietzsche subjects to a destructive critique in favour of what he regards as an affirmative approach that fearlessly confronts the perspectival nature of knowledge and the perilous condition of the modern individual.

Structure of the work

The work consists of 296 numbered sections and an “epode” (or “aftersong”) entitled “From High Mountains”. The sections are organized into nine parts:

Part One: On the Prejudices of Philosophers

Part Two: The Free Spirit

Part Three: The Religious Essence

Part Four: Maxims and Interludes

Part Five: On the Natural History of Morals

Part Six: We Scholars

Part Seven: Our Virtues

Part Eight: Peoples and Fatherlands

Part Nine: What is Noble?

Editorial Reviews

Beyond Good and Evil is a book by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche that expands the ideas of his previous work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, with a more critical and polemical approach. It was first published in 1886. In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche accuses past philosophers of lacking critical sense and blindly accepting dogmatic premises in their consideration of morality. Specifically, he accuses them of founding grand metaphysical systems upon the faith that the good man is the opposite of the evil man, rather than just a different expression of the same basic impulses that find more direct expression in the evil man. The work moves into the realm “beyond good and evil” in the sense of leaving behind the traditional morality which Nietzsche subjects to a destructive critique in favour of what he regards as an affirmative approach that fearlessly confronts the perspectival nature of knowledge and the perilous condition of the modern individual. Of the four “late-period” writings of Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil most closely resembles the aphoristic style of his middle period. In it he exposes the deficiencies of those usually called “philosophers” and identifies the qualities of the “new philosophers”: imagination, self-assertion, danger, originality, and the “creation of values.” He then contests some of the key presuppositions of the old philosophic tradition like “self-consciousness,” “knowledge,” “truth,” and “free will,” explaining them as inventions of the moral consciousness. In their place, he offers the “will to power” as an explanation of all behavior; this ties into his “perspective of life,” which he regards as “beyond good and evil,” denying a universal morality for all human beings. Religion and the master and slave moralities feature prominently as Nietzsche re-evaluates deeply held humanistic beliefs, portraying even domination, appropriation and injury to the weak as not universally objectionable.

About the Author

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (/ˈniːtʃə/; German: [ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈvɪlhɛlm ˈniːtʃə] (About this sound listen); 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, poet, philologist, and Latin and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on Western philosophy and modern intellectual history. He began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. He became the youngest ever to hold the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel in 1869 at the age of 24.

He resigned in 1879 due to health problems that plagued him most of his life, and he completed much of his core writing in the following decade. In 1889, at age 44, he suffered a collapse and a complete loss of his mental faculties. He lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until her death in 1897, and then with his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, and died in 1900

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Beyond Good and Evil
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