Manual My Individualism and the Philosophical Foundations of Literature

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In her introduction, Soseki expert Dr. Inger Sigrun Brodey masterfully unravels the complexities of the two essays. Philosophical Essays Routledge Classics. Wonderful Investigations: Essays, Meditations, Tales.

Someone said that an artist painted nudes only when he had reached the final phase of the genius of painting. As I am not a connoisseur of painting, I am unable to comment on this, but it seems to me that the painting of nudes is a result of the revival in the Orient of a method current in France today. In any case, it does not much matter whether it is a question of painting, poetry or prose.

Therefore, when we carefully examine this problem, we wonder how far the procedure goes and where the ideas start. This becomes remarkably ambiguous. Pragmatism explains the errors of philosophy and we can learn much from a consideration of its principles. It becomes objectionable only in so far as it claims to be philosophy in the strict sense of the word. The name philosophy is used in two senses, first as we defined it above, as a world-conception based upon critically sifted knowledge; and secondly it is used in a vague general sense as wisdom in the practical affairs of life.

And if pragmatism claims to be a philosophy in this second sense it ought not to deny that philosophy as a science is possible. Philosophy as a science is philosophy par excellence. It is the only philosophy of objective validity. All other philosophies are effusions of subjective points of view, of attitudes, of sentiment. But we must insist that these two contrasts may exist side by side just as art does not render mathematics supererogatory, and as a physicist who in his profession devotes himself to a study of nature according to methods of an objective exactness may in his leisure hours paint a Stimmungsbild to give an artistic expression to a subjective mood.

This world is not merely the object of science. There are innumerable tendencies which exist and have a right to exist, but they ought not to banish science, scientific enquiry and scientific ideals from the place they hold; for science is the mariners' compass which [Pg 5] guides us over the ocean of life, and though the majority of the passengers do not and need not worry about it, science is after all the only means which makes for progress and lifts mankind to higher and higher levels. If we criticize men like James and Bergson and other philosophers of subjectivism we do it as a defence of the indispensable character of the objectivity of science as well as of philosophy as a science.

James and Bergson were by no means the originators of their method of philosophizing. There have been many sages before them who deemed the spectacles through which they viewed the world to be the most important or even the only significant issue of life's problems. The Ionian physicists were outdone by the sophists, and in modern times Friedrich Nietzsche expressed the most sovereign contempt for science.

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Among all the philosophies of modern times there is perhaps none which in its inmost principle is more thoroughly opposed to our own than Nietzsche's, and yet there are some points of mutual contact which are well worth pointing out. The problem which is at the basis of Nietzsche's thought is the same as in our philosophy, but our solution is radically different from his.

Friedrich Nietzsche is a philosopher who astonishes his readers by the boldness with which he rebels against every tradition, tearing down the holiest and dearest things, preaching destruction of all rule, and looking with disdain upon the heap of ruins in which [Pg 6] his revolutionary thoughts would leave the world. For more than a century Germany has been the storm-center of philosophical thought. The commotions that started in the Fatherland reached other countries, France, England, and the United States, after they had lost their force at home.

Kant's transcendentalism and Hegel's phenomenalism began to flourish among the English-speaking races after having become almost extinct in the home of their founders. Hegelianism had scarcely died out in the United States when Schopenhauer and Nietzsche began to become fashionable. The influence of the former has been felt in a quiet way for some time while the Nietzsche movement is of more recent date and also of a more violent character. Nietzsche represents a type of most modern date.

His was a genius after the heart of Lombroso. He was eccentric and atypical. Lombroso's psychology is an outgrowth of nominalism which does not recognize an objective norm for truth, health, reason, or normality of any kind, and regards the average as the sole method of finding a [Pg 7] norm. If, however, the average type is the standard of measurement, the unusually excellent specimens, being rare in number, must be classed together with all other deviations from the average, and thus a genius is regarded as abnormal as much as a criminal—a theory which has found many admirers in this age that is sicklied over with agnosticism, the modern offshoot of nominalism.

The truth is that true genius not the pseudo-genius of erratic minds, not the would-be genius of those who make a failure of life is uncommonly normal—I had almost said "abnormally normal.

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A perfect crystal is rare; so the perfectly normal man is an exception; yet for all that he is a better representative of the ideal of his type than the average. Nietzsche was most assuredly very ingenious; he was unusually talented but he was not a genius in the full sense of the word.

He was abnormal, titanic in his pretensions and aims, and erratic. Breaking down under the burden of his own thought, he ended his tragical career in an insane asylum. The mental derangement of Nietzsche may be an unhappy accident but it appears to have come as the natural result of his philosophy. Nietzsche, by nature modest and tractable, almost submissive, was, as a thinker, too proud to submit to anything, even to truth.

Schopenhauer had taught him that the intellect, with its comprehension of truth, is a mere slave of the will, ancilla voluntatis. Our cognition of the truth has a [Pg 8] purpose; it must accommodate itself to our own interest. But the self is sovereign; the self wants to assert itself; the self alone has a right to exist; and the self that does not dare to be itself is a servile, menial creature.

Therefore Nietzsche preaches the ethics of self-assertion and pride. He is too proud to recognize the duty of inquiry, the duty of adapting his mind to the world, or of recognizing the cosmic order of the universe as superior to his self.

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He feels bigger than the cosmos; he is himself; and he wants to be himself. His own self is sovereign; and if the world is not satisfied to submit to his will, the world may go to ruin. If the world breaks to pieces, it will only cause him to laugh; on the other hand, if his very self is forced to the wall in this conflict, he will still, from sheer pride, not suffer himself to abandon his principle of the absolute sovereignty of selfhood.

He will not be a man, human and humane, but an overman Uebermensch , a superhuman despiser of humanity and humaneness. The multitudes are to him like cattle to be used, to be milked, fleeced and butchered, and Nietzsche calls them herds, animals of the flock, Heerdentiere. Nietzsche's philosophy is unique in being throughout the expression of an emotion—the proud sentiment of a self-sufficient sovereignty of self.

It rejects with disdain both the methods of the intellect, which submit the problems of life to an investigation, and the [Pg 9] demands of morality, which recognize the existence of duty. Other philosophers have claimed that rights imply duties and duties, rights. Nietzsche knows of rights only. Nietzsche claims that there is no objective science save by the permission of the sovereign self, nor is there any "ought," except for slaves and fools. He prides himself on being "the first Unmoralist," implying the absolute sovereignty of man—of the overman—and the foolishness as well as falsity of moral maxims.

MacIntyre | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

They were chums together in school in Schulpforta, and remained friends to the end of Nietzsche's life. Nietzsche had come to Schulpforta in , and Deussen entered the next year in the same class. Once Nietzsche, who as the senior of the class had to keep order among his fellow scholars during working periods and prevent them from making a disturbance, approached Deussen while he sat in his seat peacefully chewing the sandwich he had brought for his lunch and said, "Don't talk so loud to your crust!

These were the first words Nietzsche had spoken to Deussen, and Deussen says: [1] "I see Nietzsche still before me, how with the unsteady glance peculiar to extremely near-sighted people, his eye wandered over the rows of his classmates searching in vain for an excuse to interfere. Nietzsche and Deussen began to take walks together and soon became chums, probably on account of their common love for Anacreon, whose poems were interesting to both perhaps on account of the easy Greek in which they are written.

In those days the boys of Schulpforta addressed each other by the formal Sie ; but one day when Deussen happened to be in the dormitory, he discovered in the trunk under his bed a little package of snuff; Nietzsche was present and each took a pinch. With this pinch they swore eternal brotherhood. They did not drink brotherhood as is the common German custom, but, as Deussen humorously says, they "snuffed it"; and from that time they called each other by the more intimate du.

This friendship continued through life with only one interruption, and on Laetare Sunday in , they stepped to the altar together and side by side received the blessing at their confirmation. On that day both were overcome by a feeling of holiness and ecstasy. Thus their friendship was sealed in Christ, and though it may seem strange of Nietzsche who was later a most iconoclastic atheist, a supernatural vision filled their young hearts for many weeks afterwards.

There was a third boy to join this friendship—a certain Meyer, a young, handsome and amiable youth distinguished by wit and the ability to draw excellent caricatures. But Meyer was in constant conflict with his teachers and generally in rebellion against the rules [Pg 12] of the school.

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He had to leave school before he finished his course.