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« John Armstrong on What Can You Do With Philosophy? | Main | John Campbell on Berkeley's Puzzle »

September 25, 2009


Christopher Harris


Wes Parmer

Interesting discussion. Not knowing much about Nietzche past a beginning philosohy class, I must say these are the "myths" that are put forth in such classes.

Dan Wallace

Great episode. I found all of Leiter's arguments to be convincing except for the last one, regarding the myth of Nietzsche as being the "father" of postmodern philosophy. I don't think he really explained why Derrida is wrong about his ideas being an extension of some of Nietzsche's. I don't think citing the fact that Nietzsche didn't publish a particular essay is necessarily relevant, as it was still an essay of ideas by Nietzsche, who contradicted himself enough for there to be multiple opposing schools of thought that claim him as their first cause. In Leiter's case, it just seemed as though he simply didn't want the postmodern idea to be true. Perhaps if there had been more time at the end of the show - or if I read something of Leiter's - I'd see a stronger argument. Would someone care to clarify this for me?



Fantastic. Really concise and confidently argued. Discussions like this really make you appreciate the value of expertise!

Many Thanks


To Dan: The idea that Nietzsche contradicted humself alot is another of these myths.


The argument concerning Nietzsche's concept of the will to power is not persuasive. To be sure, Leiter makes a qualified claim, that the will to power was not an abiding or constant theme in Nietzsche's work (he makes this claim largely in order to discredit Heidegger's Nietzsche as a scholarly exegesis), but he needs to account for the will to power being the essential theme of Beyond Good and Evil, since Nietzsche says the book is an "experiment" to think the world through the idea of the will to power. Perhaps this experiment was later deemed a failure, but it is crucial in the study of Nietzsche to try to understand why he would even want to perform such an experiment.


I hear alot of apologists for Nietzsche, and I'd like to see how this guy argues before I condemn him to that category. In my opinion he was one of the most repugnant and destructive philosophers in the history of the field, even though he was talented and original.


I would like to thank Brian Leiter. I m a student of philosophy from Iran and I was so delighted to hear the myths about Nietzsche and found out that most phonies here stress on Nietzschean myths to dismiss or praise him alike. Would it be possible to devote a podcast to Nietzsche and Nihilism? possibly with Mr. Leiter or anyone esle? I want to thank you for making sharing knowledge in the age of sanctions possible!

Vlad Gheorghe

I would ask the users to be VERY careful about this lecture. Thus Spoke Zarathustra is NOT a parody: Nietzsche considered it to be the most important book of the millennium! No one was most SERIOUS about it than himself. The idea of the Ubermensch, even if it is called in that way only in the Zarathustra, is implied in all his works, as the concept that "Man is a something which must be surpassed".

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