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Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche

German Philosopher and Philologist

Friedrich Nietzsche was a 19th century German philosopher who believed in the li
fe-affirmation of the now. He is one of the first existentialist philosophers kn
own for his concepts and ideas including the 'death of God,' 'the will to power,
' and 'master-slave morality.'
Life of Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche was born of October 15, 1844 and died on August 25, 1900 at
the age of 55. He was a son of a Protestant minister, studied classical philosop
hy at Bonn and gained a professorship at the University of Basel at the remarkab
le age of only 24. After ten years, ill health forced him to retire into a solit
ary lifestyle traveling across Europe where he devoted himself to writing and re
He eventually achieved worldwide fame during the last ten years of his life. He
was probably unaware, since in 1889, when he was 45 years old, he suffered a fin
al breakdown and remained insane until his death.
Nietzsche's Philosophy and Influences
Perhaps because of his father's influence, he was particularly hostile to Christ
ianity, which he called a "slave morality." In it he saw the resentment of the w
eak towards the strong. Those who failed, as they lacked the inner strength of c
haracter, sought revenge not in this life but in a fictional 'other' world, wher
e some other power (God) would wreak vengeance in their behalf.
Another influence, to a certain extent, was philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. It
is on the metaphysical analysis of the "will" in which Nietzsche saw the fundame
ntal driving force of the individual as expressed in the need to dominate and co
ntrol the external forces operating upon him. As such, the individual requires w
hat the existentialists would later give him, the power to be master of his own
destiny, as true in Jean-Paul Sartre's philosophy.

Unlike Schopenhauer however, Nietzsche did not believe in resisting the will pow
er but something to pursue and to affirm. He did not also advocate the dominance
of the strong over the weak, rather, he described how the domination of the str
ong results in, and is necessary to, what is now called the 'evolutionary progre
ss of the human being.'
As Nietzsche claims, it is not constituted in physical, but rather psychical, a
force - that the strong are those who are more complete as human beings, who can
control their passions, and who will be able to channel into a creative force t
he will to power.
Recommended Works by Friedrich Nietzsche
Nietzsche's writings are varied and cover diverse topics, from ethics and religi
on to metaphysics and epistemology.
The Birth of Tragedy, 1872
Human, All Too Human, 1878
Thus Spake Zarathustra, 1883- 85
Beyond Good and Evil, 1886
The Genealogy of Morals, 1887