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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Autobiography of a mind
Forget Nietzsche the philosopher. As he himself said, 'Before you ask what a philosopher thinks, find out what he wants' (or something to that effect), and, as Freud said, "He had a sharper understanding of himself than any man in recent history." You could blow holes in the logical validity of his arguments, but he has never been about logic; all of his texts...
Published on April 28 2004 by Henry Platte

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a less-fragmented look at Nietzsche's philosophy...
After reading "Thus Spoke Zarathstra", i was pleasantly suprised to find that Nietzsche had gotten over his exhausting obsession with the eternal return-- or at least for long enough to write "Beyond Good and Evil"--or at least enough so that he didn't feel the need to write about it. In this book, Nietzsche challenges some of the most fundamental...
Published on Feb. 15 2001 by timmyjones


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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Autobiography of a mind, April 28 2004
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Ce commentaire est de: Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (Paperback)
Forget Nietzsche the philosopher. As he himself said, 'Before you ask what a philosopher thinks, find out what he wants' (or something to that effect), and, as Freud said, "He had a sharper understanding of himself than any man in recent history." You could blow holes in the logical validity of his arguments, but he has never been about logic; all of his texts are deeply personal, and show an outstandingly intelligent and sensitive man grappling with the same issues that plague most people. Although he often has a reputation as arrogant and self-centered, he was often more tenuous about his ideas than other philosophers, advancing an idea by a series of partly related statements, sometime changing his mind or pausing to restate his position in different terms. You can see his ideas evolving over the course of this book alone. There are also some solid and entertaining insights here, and the aphorisms are highly quotable, but I think its greatest value is as a glimpse into a human soul.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What to say about Nietzsche?, Sept. 4 2003
By 
A. Lowry (Madison, MS United States) - See all my reviews
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Ce commentaire est de: Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (Paperback)
N. doesn't need my sales pitch, but anyway ...
First, if you're going to buy BG&E, go ahead & get the Modern Library "Basic Writings" in paperback---not a volume of snippets, but the complete text of N.'s two best books, BG&E and On the Genealogy of Morals, & some other works, for scarcely more than BG&E alone. If you don't like one book, try the other. N. says the same thing from different angles in his last 4 or 5 books. Anything after Zarathustra, except for Ecce Homo, is a good place to start.
Second, despite reading a translation, don't forget that N. is a clever, funny, & devilishly smart writer. Freud said no one before N. ever had as much self-knowledge. Read him with a sense of ironic humor. Too often N. is treated as some heavy thundering German, when if there's one thing that drove him up the wall, it was heavy thundering Germans.
Third, forgive his attitude problems about women. N.'s dad died when he was a kid; his mom & aunts raised him, got on his last nerve, & gave him a bad attitude towards women. Which, regrettably, was not exactly uncommon in the 19th c. BG&E includes his acknowledgement that his misogyny is a bedrock level of stupidity that he can't escape.
Fourth, if you're a Christian, there's a lot of N. that won't be acceptable to you. But learn what you can. A lot of so-called "Christianity" strongly resembles the "slave morality" that he describes.
This is an amazing book that I haven't even tried to describe, the book that made philosophy come alive for me with N.'s comment that, when wondering where the hell some metaphysician's notions came from, one should ask what morality the notions are aiming at. The book is full of great insights from a brilliant man. Read this, then the Genealogy, then Twilight of the Idols.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Right book, right translation, wrong edition, Nov. 30 2001
By 
Z. Liu (Chicago) - See all my reviews
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Ce commentaire est de: Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (Paperback)
This is as good a place as any to start your exploration of Nietzsche. The problem is, even though it is supposed to be a more straightforward approach at communicating the message found in Zarathustra, this is still written very pithily. The prose is very joyful, poetic, and requires thought. Then again, if you weren't willing to commit some thought to Nietzsche, then it's not worth picking up Nietzsche.
However, it is worth mentioning that you shouldn't pick up this book. Now that Kaufmann's Basic Writings of Nietzsche, which contains this book along with four others (Birth of Tragedy, On the Genealogy of Morals, The Case of Wagner, and Ecce Homo) is in paperback for only slightly more money, it's best to buy that instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nietzche for dummies..., May 30 2003
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Ce commentaire est de: Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (Paperback)
After Nietzche summed up his philosophy in his previous book, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, he must have realized if someone wasn't acquainted with his writings before, they wouldn't know what he was talking about. With this in mind, Nietzche takes everything he sees wrong about the world and writes it down here. He discusses his views on religion in that Judeo-Christian morality is simply a guise to give those who promote it power over their followers. He also criticizes other philosphers for their self-righteous dogmatist thinking and how they, in seeking the truth, end up looking at all their views as objective, and warp their idea of truth into what they want it to be. Nietzche is shunned my many because of his views on women, but for anyone interested in existentialist writings that questions systematic reasoning, I highly recommend this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars still not Nietzsche's best, Dec 27 2002
Ce commentaire est de: Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (Paperback)
I usually tell people to read this book first if they have not read any Nietzsche, followed by Genealogy and Zarathustra. Nietzsche's overall project in this book is extremely significant, and especially toward the beginning of the book he seems to be at his best. But as Kaufmann notes in his intro., the book contains many embarassing passages such as the section on women (it's not embarassing b/c of its subject matter - I love to hear Nietzsche tell it how it is about women - it's just that the aphorisms aren't good except for perhaps, "A black dress and a silent part make a woman appear smart.")and the poem at the end. Besides this there are many weak sections, and Nietzsche really accomplishes his task after the first few sections. Nevertheless, this work is essential for understanding Nietzsche's thought, and while not the best stylistically, it remains one of the most important.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nietzsche Against the Grain, Sept. 30 2000
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (Paperback)
Beyond Good And Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future represented a shift in Nietzsche's basic goals as an author. "After the Yes-saying part of my task had been solved, the turn had come for the No-saying, No-doing part: the revaluation of our values so far, the great war..."
Nietzsche goes on to describe Beyond Good and Evil as a "critique of modernity." The modernity attacked includes culture broadly construed; but Nietzsche appears to be especially concerned with the direction of philosophy and its role in future history. Indeed, the subtitle is "Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future." The book opens with a Preface and first section that are often witty in criticizing traditional philosophy and its presuppositions. After the famous opening line about truth being a woman, Nietzsche asks, "Are there not grounds for the suspicion that all philosophers, insofar as they were dogmatists, have been very inexpert about women?"
Nietzsche attacks particularly the dogmatism of philosophers. Philosophers have typically regarded themselves as seekers of truth--but from the book's beginning, Nietzsche casts suspicion on their motives. Philosophers, he argues, have simply assumed that truth is valuable, without inquiring as to whether this is so. They have posed their conclusions as objective, while in fact "every great philosophy so far has been...the personal confession of its author and a kind of involuntary and unconscious memoir." Unwittingly, philosophers have sought to impose their own moral outlook on nature itself, and read into it what they have wanted to find.
Nietzsche proposes a reassessment of the way philosophy has been practiced in physiological and psychological terms, recognizing how much against the grain his approach will seem.
Nietzsche proposes a new direction for philosophy, and a different kind of person as philosopher. Philosophers, according to this view, should be free spirits and great experimentalists, as opposed to the mere "philosophical laborers" that are often thought to be the true philosophers. The philosopher has "the most comprehensive responsibility" and "the conscience for the over-all development of man," and should utilize religion, education and political suggestions, although it is more concerned to propose a type of political arrangement (like Plato advocating philosopher-kings) than to argue for specific policies.
Central to the agenda of Nietzsche's future philosophers is a reconsideration of the value of conventional morality from a physio-psychological perspective. For the first time, in Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche proposes to develop "a natural history of morals." He implies with this formulation that morality can be naturalistically described, that it is not a revelation from another, divine level of reality.
Nietzsche goes so far in employing naturalistic terms in his analysis that he describes the morality of his tradition as a "herd morality." In other words, people follow the same direction as others for the same reason that cows and sheep follow other cows and sheep. Nietzsche surely recognizes that many readers will find comparison between their moral beliefs and animal behavior offensive.
Nietzsche also suggests that multiple moralities have existed at the same time, and that they reveal their adherent's psychological perspective, which can be either healthy or not healthy. In particular, he suggests that master morality and slave morality are radically different in outlook. Master morality, typified by those in positions of power, involves a primary judgment of oneself as good, and a judgment of others in reference to one's own traits. Slave morality, by contrast, as the moral outlook of those who are oppressed, is primarily concerned with the reactions those in power might have to any contemplated act. Although slaves hate the master and everything the master represents, they still refer their behavior primarily to their master. Judging the master with hostility, they come to see him as evil, and only then come to judge themselves as relatively good. Nietzsche develops this account of master and slave morality much more thoroughly in Toward the Genealogy of Morals.
The concept of will to power appears prominently in Beyond Good and Evil. Again, Nietzsche takes issue with Schopenhauer's emphasis on will to life: "A living thing seeks above all to discharge its strength--life itself is will to power; self preservation is only one of the direct and frequent results." Although emphatic in stressing will, Nietzsche is equally emphatic in denying freedom of the will. In fact, he considers the defense of freedom of will to be simply a manifestation of the asserters desire for power.
Will to power is also enlisted as a potential basis for explaining physiology and physiologically grounded behavior. Significantly, however, as in many other instances Nietzsche poses this "reduction" as a thought experiment.
Nietzsche's perspectivism, however, is discussed in more psychological terms elsewhere in Beyond Good and Evil. Nietzsche suggests that the perspective different individuals have of human reality depends on their relative stature as human beings. Nietzsche frequently adopts the image of height, describing those who see others from a higher vantage as having a more comprehensive view that is incommensurable with the perspective of those below them. Nietzsche emphasizes the importance of this order of rank, and he often claims that the human species consists of a proliferation of types, some of which are more valuable (or higher) than others. Of greatest importance for Nietzsche is the individual genius, upon whom culture most depends. Nietzsche's view on this matter is unrepentantly elitist: "For every high world one must be born; or to speak more clearly, one must be cultivated for it: a right to philosophy--taking that word in its great sense--one has by only virtue of one's origins; one's ancestors, one's 'blood' decide here, too."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the better works of 19th century philosophy, March 18 2000
By 
D. Roberts "Hadrian12" (Battle Creek, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
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Ce commentaire est de: Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (Paperback)
The late great Princeton philosopher Walter Kaufmann does yet another fine job of translating and defending Nietzsche to a 20th (and 21st?) century audience. Kaufmann deserves a great deal of credit for bringing Nietzsche out of the ranks of taboo books for the (unfortunate) association with Hitler after World War II.
This association is ironic when one considers how Nietzsche extols the Jewish race on pages 187 & 188, describing them as
...beyond any doubt the strongest, toughest, and purest race now living in Europe; they know how to prevail even under the worst conditions...by means of virtues that today one would like to mark as vices - thanks above all to a resolute faith that need not be ashamed before "modern ideas"....
Can anyone seriously contend that Hitler was inspired to commit genocide upon the Jewish people because of Nietzsche with passages such as this in mind?
If I have one bone to pick with this book, it is Nietzsche's unwarranted misogynistic tirades in the chapter called "Our Virtues." These attacks on woman's intellectual acumen are not only wrong, but completely unnecessary and contribute nothing to Nietzsche's overall philosophical thread of thought. His dictum of the "eternally boring in woman" (a verbal joust to Goethe's "eternal feminine") is nothing more than an adolescent, shallow cheap shot. Personally, I think his hatred of women has much more to due with his psychology (the fact that he was such a very lonely man + the inaccessiblity of Cosima Wagner) than any serious intellectual analysis that he devoted to the issue. In any case, given the accomplishments of women in the 20th century (as well as the "hidden" triumphs of historical women from before this century) any educated person today would be compelled to dismiss the idea of men being mentally superior to women as hogwash.
With the exception of the anti-woman chapter, the rest of this book is quite good. It is in many ways a re-writing of his "Also Sprach Zarathustra" via a non-poetic medium. Most of Nietzsche's more important ideas are incorporated into the book at some point or other. Also, Kaufmann furnishes the reader with helpful footnotes which elucidate the allusions that Nietzsche is making. A profound book. To give you a taste of why this book is worth reading, I will leave you with one of my very favorite passages of Nietzsche. It appears on page 153:
"Measure" is alien to us; let us own it; our thrill is the thrill of the infinite, the unmeasured. Like a rider on a steed that flies forward, we drop the reins before the infinite, we modern men, like semi-barbarians - and reach "our" bliss only where we are most - in danger.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Proof that Nietzsche was the most interesting philsopher, April 5 2003
By 
K. Bentley "amateur critic" (Stratford, CT United States) - See all my reviews
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Ce commentaire est de: Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (Paperback)
Many of the epigrams and sections of Beyond Good and Evil refer to the denouement of organzied religion, the superiorty of men over women, other philosopher's works, and Nietzsche's own personal opinions. Most people who are interested in philosophy, regardless of personal preferences, will find Nietzsche's somewhat erratic and meaningful passages to be very interesting and thought provoking and would make fdder for a good debate.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ethics for the "Great-Souled Man", Nov. 9 2002
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Ce commentaire est de: Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (Paperback)
The title, Beyond Good & Evil, can make the author seem a bit (perhaps a lot!) crude, but only if the title is to be interpreted (without reading the whole book) at face value. This is precisely what Nietzsche was against: reaching a conclusion that is ‘certain’ based on the ‘name,’ ‘idea,’ or ‘concept’ given to things and persons from a bias of superficiality. From this ‘labeling’ the ‘simple man’ becomes prejudiced, and therefore, locked into his ‘tradition’ of thought and language, and as a consequence, cannot rise to a height ‘beyond’ this ‘good & evil’ man has created for himself. It is Nietzsche’s task to drive his readers ‘beyond’ this ‘good & evil’ (where it is possible to create higher values), to shift perspectives, to a height where one cannot look up nor look down. At this height there exists no god, no mask, no prejudice. There is only the “great-souled man.” There is a lesson to be learned, but to learn it one only has to read Nietzsche in his spirit to find it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Prelude to a Philosophy for the Future, May 21 2002
By 
"ospawno" (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (Paperback)
The work is not a dogma based moral philosophy. You will find no guide to your life within its pages. This book is a prelude to a philosophy for the future, something for which Nietzsche recognized a need, but never did create.
That said, many of the criticisms will be hard for the simple minded to understand or appreciate.
Some will rail against his criticisms of Christians and Jews, but is not criticizing their person per say, but their Christian and Jewish way of living.
Today, women in particular seem to take offense at his writings supposedly against women. The behavior of women was no different then as it is now. Nietzsche is not condemning women as a gender, but criticizing female behavior, in the hopes that a new philosophy can be created for them.
In a day when the nihilism of women is made obvious by rampant materialism and sexuality, it is absolutely imperative that women gain a new philosophy or the human race is doomed. It is this nihilism that existed amongst the better of women of Nietzsche's day and what he attempted to expose.
We can dance around the issue and pretend that women are free from male oppression and everyhing is wonderful, but a glance at any chick magazine (ie Cosmo et al) will quickly prove that all is not well in the heads of our female population. In fact, Nietzsche's criticisms of women can easily be applied to any issue of Commo.
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Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future
Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future by Friedrich Nietzsche (Paperback - Dec 17 1989)
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