Philosophy | Introduction to Philosophy and Art
P246 | 3388 | Eisenberg


Topic: Nietzsche and Nietzscheaisms

Note: This section is open to Honors students only.  Authorization
required from Honors College.

Nietzsche (1844-1900) has been one of the most influential
philosophers of the recent period.  His influence has been discerned
not only in various twentieth-century philosophies, but also in some
of its poliltical movements and in many of the most important works of
art, in various media, produced in this century.  I plan to spend
approximately the first half of this course reading and discussing
with the students various works by Nietzsche  himself, so that we can,
as a group, become pretty clear about what Nietzsche did or did not
stand for.

In the second half of the course I shall examine in fiarly close
detail some examples of the (ostensible) Nietzscheanism in others'
workds.  Partly in an attempt to demonstrate the extent of real or
apparent Nietzscheanisms in late nineteenth- or twentieth-century
culture and partly in an attempt to give the students a suitable
diversity of models for their own subsequent analyses.  I propose to
examine (1) selected non-literary works of art (for exmaple, Richard
Strauss' tone poem "Also Sprach Zarathustra"), (2) Shaw's "Man and
Superman" and (3) extracts from the propagandistic and
quasi-philosophical writings of certain Nazis.

The large questions to be broached in these latter investigations
include, among others: (a) What are the conditions which must be met
for it to be true that someone has INFLUENCED someone else in the
latter's creative work? (b) in particular, must someone's (apparentlly
sincere) claim that s/he has been influenced by someone else always be
taken at fact value? (c) How can non-verbal works of art to said to
express philosophical ideas?  Naturally, the more particular questions
to be investigated will concern the reality (vs. the mere appearance)
of genuinely Nietzschean elements in the works discussed, and the
importance or the extent of the Nietzscheanisms in them.

All students will work with me on examples of real or ostensible
Nietzscheanisms llisted above.  Additionally, I shall assign each
student the task of reading (or, in the case of the non-literary works
involved, listening to or otherwise observing) one more example.  The
stusdent's final project will be to write an approximately
fifteen-page paper, discussing the real or the merely apparent
Nietzscheanism(s) in the work or works which they have selected.  In
addition to that project, there will be a required mid-semester exam
and a final exam, both of the essay type.