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The Axiology of Friedrich Nietzsche

Nicolae Râmbu

In his unmistakable style, Friedrich Nietzsche approached the issue of all classes of values, not only the moral ones. The author presents Nietzsche as a philosopher of values par excellence by analysing 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. Nietzsche 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. These were extraordinary and have rarely been seen in the history of culture.
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I. The Revaluation of all Values


1. The origin of values

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

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