Table Of Contents
- About the author(s)/editor(s)
- About the book
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- I. The Revaluation of all Values
- 1. The origin of values
- 2. The hierarchy of values
- 3. The conflict of values
- II. The Axioclasm of Friedrich Nietzsche, or Creative Destruction
- 1. To philosophize with a hammer and sickle
- 2. The machine that produces glory
- 3. The sadism of Friedrich Nietzsche
- III. Friedrich Nietzsche: The Man of Resentment
- 1. The reversal of the evaluating gaze
- 2. The philosophy of a loser
- 3. The Germans are hell
- IV. Nihilism as Axiological Illness
- 1. The Savior as idiot
- 2. Blessed are those who are poor in spirit? An axiological interpretation of a mysterious expresion
- 3. Philosophy as convalescence treatise
- 4. Patients and physicians of culture
- V. The Interpretation of Values
- 1. Hermeneutic equity
- 2. Corruption and interpretation
- VI. Friedrich Nietzsche as Apostle of Arthur Schopenhauer
- 1. The church of Arthur Schopenhauer
- 2. The aura of Arthur Schopenhauer
- 3. Schopenhauer as Redeemer
- VII. Nietzsche’s Tyranny of Values
- 1. The new passion
- 2. Nietzsche, the death and the devil
- 3. The demonism of power
Despite a rich literature dedicated to the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, research on his axiology is still in its early stages. It is obvious that he did not develop a general theory of values, but it can be extracted with sufficient precision from his literary-philosophical discourse, because value is the preferred object of the philosophical reflections in all his work.
In his unmistakable style, Friedrich Nietzsche approached the issue of all classes of values, not only the moral ones. Vital and economic values, religious and political values, moral and aesthetic values and, in addition to all these, value in general, with all its implications for human life and humanity, became one by one the object of reflections so profound that it can be said that Friedrich Nietzsche was undoubtedly a philosopher of values par excellence. He had an instinct for value, a faculty for feeling the finest nuances of the phenomenon of value and a passion for knowing the axiological universe that were so extraordinary they have rarely been seen in the history of culture.
In this paper, I tried to a certain extent to apply Friedrich Nietzsche’s method to himself; I tried to be myself in relation to his work, a “subterrestrial at work, digging, mining, undermining”, as he said himself in the Preface of The Dawn of Day. Anyone who has the patience to read him lento and to dig inside his work and personality will still have much to discover. The Axiology of Friedrich Nietzsche is an attempt to highlight some unique aspects of a writer of whom it can be said, paradoxically, that the more you study him, the more unknown he seems.
Although he referred mainly to moral and religious values, Friedrich Nietzsche had in mind the entire axiological spectrum throughout his work. Typically, he meant by morality (Moral) a whole system of values, not only moral values in the strict sense of the word. Aesthetic values, theoretical values, economic values and other categories of values were, one by one, objects of reflection for an author who had without doubt a major role in the emergence of axiology as a general theory of values.
The problem of the origin of values is addressed in particular in On the Genealogy of Morals, but it is present episodically in most of the rest of his work. Friedrich Nietzsche’s thesis about the origin of spiritual values is well known: the highest values and ideals of humanity have their roots in the lower layers of human beings. Everything that is sublime comes from a terrible misery. Masterpieces, as things carrying spiritual values, originate from the beastly layers of the human being. Plato, for instance, “says, with an innocence for which one must be Greek and not ‘Christian’, that there would be no Platonic philosophy at all if Athens had not possessed such beautiful youths: it was the sight of them which first plunged the philosopher’s soul into an erotic whirl and allowed it no rest until it had implanted the seed of all high things into so beautiful a soil”.1
It is not only morality, in the strict sense of the term, but also all types of spiritual values that are simple masks by which man hides his basest instincts. This idea of Friedrich Nietzsche’s about the origin of values and especially moral values is not original; on the contrary, it was extensively circulated at that time by some “English psychologists”, despite the fact that he began the First Essay in On the Genealogy of Morals by combating them. Also, modern materialism and positivism were the inspiration for his conception of the origin of values. Friedrich Nietzsche’s contribution consisted in emphasizing the relative character of any moral and highlighting the fact ← 9 | 10 → that its origins are always suspect. In the Observation of the end of the First Essay, he raised a very subtle axiological problem, namely that “of the value of previous evaluations”,2 which also means implicitly putting the question of the evaluator’s value. And, given that “there is no such thing as moral phenomena, but only a moral interpretation of phenomena”,3 the problem of hermeneutic equity becomes capital in Friedrich Nietzsche’s axiology. He realized that neither the anthropological, historical and psychological information of that day nor his philological speculations were sufficient to provide a satisfactory answer to the question of the origin of values. This is why he made an appeal, quite unusual for his style, to the faculties of philology to promote historical study of morality and to collaborate with specialists in other fields to tackle this problem. “From now on, all disciplines have to prepare the future task of the philosophers: this task being understood as the solution of the problem of value, the determination of the hierarchy of values”.4
What seems to have been firmly established by Nietzsche himself about the birth of values is that they have dubious origins and that, despite their apparent brightness, values feed on a swamp, as he said in On the Genealogy of Morals. And yet, values would not lose their validity even if their miserable origin could be demonstrated with mathematical rigour. Could anyone challenge the beauty of the water lily just because it has its roots in a swamp? This observation was made as early as 1905, by Giovanni Papini in his paper The Twilight of the Philosophers.
- ISBN (PDF)
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- Publication date
- 2016 (June)
- Philosophy Axiological interpretation Revaluation of all values Hermeneutic equity
- Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2016. 114 pp.