The aim of this module is to provide an advanced introduction to Nietzsche and a rich appreciation of aspects of his intellectual development and core ideas. To aid the inquiry the module draws upon the best recent and current Anglo-American research on Nietzsche, as well as making use where relevant of seminal texts from within the history of Nietzsche-reception. Typically, there is a focus on one of Nietzsche’s main periods of intellectual development: early (1872-6), middle (1878-82) and late (1886-8).
The focus will be on one of Nietzsche’s most fertile but neglected texts from his middle period, namely, Dawn: Thoughts on the Presumptions of Morality (1881). The text is a path breaking work and an exercise in modern emancipation—from fear, superstition, hatred of the self and the body, the short cuts of religion, and the presumptions of morality. However, it is no exaggeration to claim that for the greater part of Nietzsche-reception, Dawn has been the most neglected text in Nietzsche’s corpus, and perhaps for the following reasons: it deploys no master concept, it does not seek an ultimate solution to the riddles of existence, (indeed, it warns against such a strategy), its presentation of themes and problems is highly non-linear, and it states its case for the future subtly and delicately. But it is a text that has hidden riches, a text that has to be read between the lines. Although there is no master concept at work in Dawn, and no overarching method (but a plurality of methods that add up to an experimental philosophy), the text may be better for their absence, helping to constitute one of Nietzsche’s most subtle and delicate experiments at writing and thinking. In this module we undertake a close and sustained reading of the text.
Nietzsche, Dawn, (Stanford University Press): read a selection of aphorisms, e.g. see Nietzsche
on the nature of the book in aphorism 454.
R. Safranski, Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography, chapter nine.
P. Franco, Nietzsche’s Enlightenment: The Free-Spirit Trilogy of the Middle Period, chapter two.
This module is worth 20 or 30 CATS depending on your programme of study.