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By Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm; Bull, Malcolm; Nietzsche, Friedrich

ISBN-10: 1844678938

ISBN-13: 9781844678938

Nietzsche continues to be what he desired to be - the limit-philosopher of a modernity that by no means ends. This publication argues that in basic terms to reject Nietzsche isn't really to flee his trap. His appeals to our hope for victory, our creativity, our very humanity are seductions we won't withstand just by disagreeing with him.


A provocative highbrow attack at the iconic philosopher.

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The argument of this book is that Nietzsche’s solution, far from being the completion of nihilism, is merely an attempt to arrest it. By excluding any future exchange of nonsense for sense, he also excludes any further exchange of sense for nonsense. Yet if, as Nietzsche himself asserts, such exchanges are ultimately just changes in the population of the world, his particular ecology can always be undermined by one that is more negative still. Why then does Nietzsche’s nihilism still function as the limit-philosophy of the modern imaginary?

This brief survey of the history of negation suggests that the contemporary position of philistinism as a negation that is everywhere condemned and nowhere advocated is both more interesting and less paradoxical than it first appears. Rather than being a constant within human history, the aesthetic is just the residuum left by the previous history of negation, and philistinism its corresponding but as yet unrealised negative. Atheism was identified and condemned from the sixteenth century onwards, but atheists appeared only in the seventeenth.

83 As the temptations of a participatory and self-annihilatory response are resisted, so the Dionysian music of the Sirens is transformed into an Apollonian object of individual appreciation, a harmless concert. 84 If Adorno and Horkheimer’s interpretation of the Sirens is read as a reworking of The Birth of Tragedy, it soon becomes clear that Odysseus’ resistance to the Sirens is the counterpart of Socrates’ rejection of the Dionysian. 85 The philosopher is here placed in the position of the oarsmen, who are not deaf to the beauty of the Sirens’ music but deaf to the music itself.

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