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Publications [#323681] of Michael A. Gillespie

Duke :: Philosophy :: Faculty :: Michael A. Gillespie

Articles and Chapters

  1. Gillespie, MA; Callanan, KF, On the genealogy of morals, in A Companion to Friedrich Nietzsche: Life and Works (January, 2010), pp. 255-278.
    (last updated on 2019/06/24)

    © 2012 by the Editor and Contributors. All rights reserved. From His Youth Nietzsche was Concerned with the problem of German culture and the possibilities for cultural renewal. In his early work his hopes for renewal centered on Wagner and the rebirth of a tragic age out of the spirit of (Wagnerian) music. After his break with Wagner, he gave up the idea of an immediate transformation of culture through a public festival or performance, and sought instead to provide the foundations for a new European cultural elite. This vision of cultural renewal gave way after 1881 to a more apocalyptic notion of cultural transformation that he connected to the advent of nihilism, the idea of eternal recurrence, the figure of Zarathustra, and the “Great Noon” (der grosse Mittag; ZI 22 §3; KSA 4,102). Nietzsche was convinced that the Christian values that had guided European humanity for the last 1,500 years had become unbelievable. Present-day Europeans had to make a fateful choice between the last man and the superman, between a consumer-oriented, utilitarian society dedicated to universal happiness like that of Denmark or America, or a higher but tragic culture with superhuman possibilities. In this final period of his thought Nietzsche became convinced that these superhuman possibilities depended on the proclamation of the doctrine of eternal recurrence. He believed this doctrine was essential because it was the only way toward a positive future free from resentment and the desire for revenge.

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