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In this beautifully written account, Julian Young provides the most comprehensive biography available today of the life and philosophy of the nineteenth-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Young deals with the many puzzles created by the conjunction of Nietzsche's personal history and his work: why the son of a Lutheran pastor developed into the self-styled 'Antichrist'; why this archetypical Prussian came to loath Bismarck's Prussia; and why this enemy of feminism preferred the company of feminist women. Setting Nietzsche's thought in the context of his times - the rise of Prussian militarism, anti-Semitism, Darwinian science, the 'Youth' and emancipationist movements, as well as the 'death of God' - Young emphasises the decisive influence of Plato and of Richard Wagner on Nietzsche's attempted reform of Western culture.
According to Bertrand Russell, Nietzsche's only value is the flourishing of the exceptional individual. The well-being of ordinary people is, in itself, without value. Yet there are passages in Nietzsche that appear to regard the flourishing of the community as a whole alongside, perhaps even above, that of the exceptional individual. The ten essays that comprise this volume wrestle with the tension between individual and community in Nietzsche's writings. Some defend a reading close to Russell's. Others suggest that Nietzsche's highest value is the flourishing of the community as a whole and that exceptional individuals find their highest value only in promoting that flourishing. In viewing Nietzsche from the perspective of community, the essays also cast new light on other aspects of his philosophy, for instance, his ideal of scientific research and his philosophy of language.
In this 2006 book, Julian Young argues that Nietzsche's early religious communitarianism persists through all his published works.
This book is a full survey of the philosophy of tragedy from antiquity to the present. From Aristotle to Žižek the focal question has been: why, in spite of its distressing content, do we value tragic drama? What is the nature of the 'tragic effect'? Some philosophers point to a certain kind of pleasure that results from tragedy. Others, while not excluding pleasure, emphasize the knowledge we gain from tragedy - of psychology, ethics, freedom or immortality. Through a critical engagement with these and other philosophers, the book concludes by suggesting an answer to the question of what it is that constitutes tragedy 'in its highest vocation'. This book will be of equal interest to students of philosophy and of literature.