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Will to Power: The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche

In this course, discover that Nietzsche, even at his most polemical and offensive, exudes an unmistakable enthusiasm and love of life.

Will to Power: The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche is rated 4.0 out of 5 by 83.
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Rated 3 out of 5 by from An adequate introduction This course is a bit dated and does not reflect much of the recent literature on Nietzsche. The lectures are well organized but dull and lack visuals. The booklet contains useful outlines of each presentation but the reflection questions are facile, geared for the novice, not the serious student. Since I bought this series of lectures at a large discount, it was worth it.
Date published: 2022-03-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Insight into Nietszche? 5. "Philosophy" of? 0. If you're looking for insight into the writings and thinking of Nietzsche, then you may find this course helpful. Both professors, a husband-wife team, admire Nietzsche and provide valuable insight into the man and his thinking. In this sense, this course merits a 5-star rating. However, the title of this course refers to the Philosophy of Nietzsche. It's misleading to refer to Nietzsche as having a philosophy since he is not the author of a philosophical system of thought. This is one reason for my 3-star rating. Another reason for my rating is the lack of clarity. In this latter respect, the course professors have my admiration. Nietzsche's writings can be inscrutable, incomprehensible, and contradictory. The professors deserve great credit for taking on the challenge to elucidate the thinking of Nietzsche in this respect. But elucidation does not mean rational thought or adequacy of Nietzsche's writings for philosophical analysis. Yes, it's true; Nietzsche is referred to as a philosopher by none other than the notable Frederick Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of immense erudition and author of the 9-volume "A History of Philosophy" series, in Volume 7, page 390, of that series. But Copleston is careful to caveat "... Whatever one may think about Nietzsche's ideas, one cannot question his vast reputation and the power of his ideas to act like a potent wine in the minds of many good people..." Statedly differently, Copleston, I believe, included Nietzsche in his history of philosophy series because of his popular impact in the 20th century. He saw the need to address Nietzsche's "philosophical commentaries." Nietzsche is known for his sweeping condemnations, for example, of Christianity, Atheism, and the human need to embrace his or her own desires to live up to their potential as an Ubermensch. Every era faces particular psychological challenges, and, in Nietzsche's view, it is the task of the philosopher to help solve these challenges in a given era. Nietzsche is easier to understand if we label him as a polemic social-psychological writer with academic credentials as a philologist whose sweeping hypotheses spanned psychology, cultural studies, comparative religion, and other disciplinary areas. His hypotheses lack an evidentiary framework, and they are merely his composite analyses of the writings of others which are drivers for his original writings. For this reason, many philosophers dismiss his declarations as a melting pot of fervent beliefs rather than stemming from a system of rational thought. 50-years ago, I was a philosophy major in college. The writings of Nietzsche were not emphasized or included in the core curriculum but rather an elective for independent study. The reasons for the former are first, Nietzsche did not construct a cohesive system of philosophical thought. Second, his writings focus on social-psychological analyses on the state of man and culture that might align better with the discipline of psychology except that Nietzsche's works stem from pure reflection and analyses of the philosophical writings of others and not from scientific methods as found in Psychology.
Date published: 2021-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Resource This course provides an excellent coverage of the Philosophy of Frederich Nietzsche professionally presented and illustrated with depth and clarity Highly recommended
Date published: 2021-12-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A cure for insomnia Of the 40 or 50 courses I have taken, this is by far & away the very worst. The male professor is so dry & boring, you will fall asleep. The female prof is better and that is why I gave the course a 2 star rating instead of a 1. Do not buy.
Date published: 2021-09-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worth Watching Take this review with a grain of salt because I have never studied any branch of philosophy other than the writings of Bertrand Russell on mathematics, but I was curious about Nietzsche and wanted to get a feeling for what he had to say without taking a deep dive. In that regard, this twenty-four-lecture course sufficed. I discovered that, for me at least, it was necessary to study the course guidebook before watching the lecture. I skipped this step a few times and found my mind wandering during the discourse. My wife tells me that I twice dozed off. That is not a criticism of the course, but instead an observation that the subject is only of passing interest to me. Thankfully, there is no final exam. This reminds me that I once tried without success to get through a scholarly book on “situatedness” and another on “the dialectic of social space.” I looked up Prof. Solomon in Wikipedia and learned that he “collapsed and died of pulmonary hypertension on 2 January 2007 while changing planes at Zurich airport.” HWF, Mesa AZ.
Date published: 2020-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from like remembering an old friend Though this course, from 1999, shows its age, and though the quality of the two professors' presentations is markedly uneven, following these lectures for me was like meeting up with a couple of people who'd known an old friend. I was reminded of how much Nietzsche, after I'd read all of his books, had shaped my own world view, and how profound his impact on me still was. This series has the potential of opening you up to a re-evaluation of your own philosophy, a surely worthwhile undertaking.
Date published: 2020-09-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Extremely academic Can be difficult to assimilate by ordinary people. It covers way more than Nietzche with many observations on other philosophers. It could have lasted half the time...
Date published: 2020-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great intro to Nietzche Okay, so the first few lectures a bit wacky...... but once you get into it, it’s very educational and interesting. I have not read Nietzche and I wanted an overview to know where to start. This course nailed down the basics and carved out Nietzche’s turf in the philosophical world. I am so happy I got this course.
Date published: 2020-06-06
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Among shapers of contemporary thought, Friedrich Nietzsche is the most mysterious and least understood. To provide flow to Nietzsche’s often puzzling and misunderstood works, this course focuses on the ideas that preoccupied him, while tracing the profound themes that shaped his oeuvre. Is it possible that these themes form the basis of modern Humanistic culture?


Robert C. Solomon

What I want to ask you is to look at emotions, as I have, as something wondrous, something mysterious, something exotic, as well as something dangerous, something profound, and something valuable.


The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Robert C. Solomon was the Quincy Lee Centennial Professor of Business and Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, where he taught for more than 30 years. He earned his undergraduate degree in molecular biology from the University of Pennsylvania and his master's and doctoral degrees in philosophy and psychology from the University of Michigan. He held visiting appointments at the University of Pennsylvania; the University of Auckland, New Zealand; UCLA; Princeton University; and Mount Holyoke College. Professor Solomon won many teaching honors, including the Standard Oil Outstanding Teaching Award; the President's Associates Teaching Award (twice); and the Chad Oliver Plan II Teaching Award. In addition, he was a member of Academy of Distinguished Teachers at UT, which is devoted to providing leadership in improving the quality and depth of undergraduate instruction. Professor Solomon wrote or edited more than 45 books, including The Passions, About Love, Ethics and Excellence, A Short History of Philosophy with Professor Kathleen Higgins, A Better Way to Think about Business, The Joy of Philosophy, Spirituality for the Skeptic, Not Passion's Slave, and In Defense of Sentimentality. He also designed and provided programs for corporations and organizations around the world. Professor Solomon passed away in early 2007.

By This Professor

No Excuses: Existentialism and Meaning of Life
Kathleen M. Higgins

Deciding what’s important in life and what isn’t, recognizing what way of life is desirable for each individual—that’s really the center of what being a human being is all about.


The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Kathleen Higgins is Professor of Philosophy at The University of Texas at Austin, where she has been teaching for over 20 years. She earned her B.A. in Music from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and her M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in Philosophy from Yale University. Professor Higgins taught at the University of California, Riverside, and she is a regular visiting professor at the University of Auckland. Her academic honors include appointments as Resident Scholar at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Study and Conference Center (1993) and Visiting Fellow of the Australian National University Philosophy Department and the Canberra School of Music (1997). She also received an Alumni Achievement Award from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri at Kansas City (1999). A prolific writer and recognized Nietzsche scholar, her books include The Music of Our Lives (Temple University Press) and Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Temple University Press), which was named one of the Outstanding Academic Books of 1988-1989 by Choice. She coedited numerous books with her husband, Professor Robert Solomon, including Reading Nietzsche, A Short History of Philosophy and the Routledge History of Philosophy, Volume IV: The Age of German Idealism.

Why Read Nietzsche? His Life, Times, Works, and Themes

01: Why Read Nietzsche? His Life, Times, Works, and Themes

The opening talk in the series provides an overview of Nietzsche's life and the remarkable historical period in which he lived. We also survey the sequence, context, and overarching themes of his works, and catalog the influences upon him.

33 min
Quashing the Rumors About Nietzsche

02: Quashing the Rumors About Nietzsche

Professors Robert Solomon and Kathleen Higgins invalidate the spurious rumors surrounding Nietzsche, for example, that he was insane, misogynistic, nihilistic, anti-Semitic, power-mad, relativistic, and amoral.

31 min
The Fusion of Philosophy and Psychology

03: The Fusion of Philosophy and Psychology

We investigate how Nietzsche's method of explaining human beliefs and practices in terms of personality and character (as opposed to justifying them through reason) enabled him to refute Socratic assumptions, English utilitarianism, Christian compassion, and Schopenhauerian pessimism. Nietzsche's procedures were similar to those used by Dostoyevsky, Marx, Freud, and, ironically, the Christian existentialist Kierkegaard.

30 min

04: "God Is Dead"—Nietzsche and Christianity

With this infamous pronouncement, Nietzsche seeks not to condemn true spirituality, but to question the mindset that insists on eternity, that is obsessed with unity and coherence, and that demands predictability and justice in a world that is neither predictable or just. Nietzsche never fully escapes his Lutheran upbringing, which shapes his ideas about Christian hypocrisy and passivity, and influences his "war" on guilt and sin.

29 min
Nietzsche and the Greeks

05: Nietzsche and the Greeks

Nietzsche virtually worshipped the pre-Socratic period in ancient Greece, in particular, the tragedians Aeschylus and Sophocles and the philosopher Heraclitus. Are they the source of his whole philosophy? Moreover, why did Nietzsche rail so harshly against Socrates's and Plato's celebration of reason and accuse Euripides of "murdering" tragedy?

30 min

06: "Why the Greeks Were So Beautiful"—Nietzsche on Tragedy

Nietzsche's first work, The Birth of Tragedy (1872), is especially noteworthy for its brilliant analysis of the creative tension between the cults of rational Apollo and ecstatic Dionysus in pre-Socratic Greece. How did Nietzsche contrast tragedy, which accepts suffering and makes something beautiful out of it, with Platonic, Socratic, and Christian thought, which he accuses of trying to deny the meaning of suffering by invoking a superior, otherworldly life?

30 min
Nietzsche and Schopenhauer on Pessimism

07: Nietzsche and Schopenhauer on Pessimism

Schopenhauer, the severe pessimist, is a looming presence in Nietzsche's thought. Nietzsche felt the weight of Schopenhauer's pessimism, and struggled to counter it by embracing "cheerfulness," creative passion, and an aesthetic viewpoint.

30 min
Nietzsche, Jesus, Zarathustra

08: Nietzsche, Jesus, Zarathustra

Why did Nietzsche feel such a sense of close identification with the ancient prophets Jesus, Socrates, and Zarathustra (Zoroaster)? What was Nietzsche up to in his oddest but best-known book, the Biblical parody "Thus Spoke Zarathustra," which introduces the concept of the Übermensch and its evolutionary alternative, the "last man"?

30 min
Nietzsche on Reason, Instinct, and Passion

09: Nietzsche on Reason, Instinct, and Passion

In some sense a Romantic thinker, Nietzsche went against the grain of Enlightenment philosophy by debunking the primacy of reason in human life and defending instinct and passion. How did Nietzsche anticipate Freud's notion of the unconscious?

31 min
Nietzsche’s Style and the Problem of Truth

10: Nietzsche’s Style and the Problem of Truth

We subject to analysis Nietzsche's eccentric style of writing and argument, including his use of aphorisms, personal attacks, and appeals to emotion. We also scrutinize Nietzsche's often-exaggerated views about truth and interpretation.

31 min
Nietzsche on Truth and Interpretation

11: Nietzsche on Truth and Interpretation

Here is a still-closer look at Nietzsche's inconsistent ideas about truth and interpretation. These include his assessment of science at various stages of his work, and his pragmatic "perspectivism," which rejects the idea that there is a privileged, objective, absolute, or "God's eye view" of reality.

30 min

12: "Become Who You Are"—Freedom, Fate, and Free Will

Now we turn to Nietzsche's politics, including his harsh views on socialism and democracy, his subtle views on freedom and free will, his celebration of fate, and his notorious views on the "great man." Accordingly, we discuss Nietzsche's mixed view of Darwin's theory of evolution, how Hegel both anticipated and countered some of Nietzsche's main concerns, and how Nietzsche and Kierkegaard reveal themselves to be kindred spirits in their reaction to Hegel.

30 min
Nietzsche as Moral Psychologist—Love, Resentment, and Pity

13: Nietzsche as Moral Psychologist—Love, Resentment, and Pity

What were Nietzsche's ideas about the connection between personality, morality, and philosophy? What insights does he offer into the motivations underlying compassion? Is Nietzsche explaining rather than justifying (or attacking) morality?

31 min
Nietzsche on Love

14: Nietzsche on Love

Was Nietzsche misanthropic and misogynistic? How do his ideas on love and friendship, which he saw as intimately related, compare to those of his predecessors, especially Plato and Aristotle? Does Nietzsche, properly understood, actually anticipate many of the theses of contemporary feminism?

30 min
Nietzsche and Women

15: Nietzsche and Women

Professor Kathleen Higgins examines the claim that Nietzsche was a misogynist. She parses some of Nietzsche's most famous (or notorious) remarks about women, and suggests that they are not the blatantly sexist utterances they are often thought to be.

30 min

16: Nietzsche’s "Top Ten"

Professors Solomon and Higgins catalog those thinkers whom Nietzsche most admired, and those whom he attacked.

31 min
Nietzsche on History and Evolution

17: Nietzsche on History and Evolution

Nietzsche believed that any understanding of human affairs is necessarily grounded in a particular time and culture. What was his view of history and its uses and abuses? How did he interpret Hegel and Darwin? What hopes for human evolution did he harbor? What is the source and shape of his concern with what is conducive to and what is destructive of life?

30 min
What Is Nihilism? The Problem of Asceticism

18: What Is Nihilism? The Problem of Asceticism

Is Nietzsche himself a nihilist, or is his entire philosophy in fact an attack on nihilism? Why did he denounce as "decadent" such things as truth, religious belief, egalitarianism, reason, otherworldliness, and, particularly, asceticism?

29 min
The Ranking of Values—Morality and Modernity

19: The Ranking of Values—Morality and Modernity

Why did Nietzsche refuse to think of values as being either objective or subjective? Why did he hold that values are earthly and culture—and species—specific? Why did he argue that, in the final analysis, there are only healthy and unhealthy values, and that modern values are unhealthy?

31 min

20: Nietzsche "Immoralism"—Virtue, Self, and Selfishness

Is Nietzsche's notorious "immoralism" actually an embrace of Homeric ethics? How is it that in his ethical system, personal virtue and character count far more than rational rules and principles, and selfishness and morality are not mutually exclusive?

31 min
On the Genealogy of Morals—Master and Slave Morality

21: On the Genealogy of Morals—Master and Slave Morality

We examine the books "Beyond Good and Evil" (1886) and "On the Genealogy of Morals" (1887), wherein Nietzsche details his conception of master versus slave morality. His "Genealogy of Morals" is an attempt to uncover and evaluate the historical roots of these two types of morality. This lecture also examines the idea of "resentment," which provides the basis of Nietzsche's moral psychology.

30 min
Resentment, Revenge, and Justice

22: Resentment, Revenge, and Justice

We continue our discussion of Nietzsche's idea of resentment, adding to it his ideas about revenge and justice. We revisit his condemnation of asceticism, the self-denial that is often a part of extreme religious practice, in light of these new ideas.

30 min
The Will to Power and the Übermensch

23: The Will to Power and the Übermensch

This lecture considers two of Nietzsche's alleged "doctrines": the "Will to Power" and the over-man. It analyzes the psychological significance of the former, as well as its Schopenhauerian origins. Then it links the two doctrines by analyzing the "Übermensch" as the full manifestation of the will to power.

30 min
Eternal Recurrence—Nietzsche Says

24: Eternal Recurrence—Nietzsche Says "Yes!" to Life

We conclude by extending our scrutiny of three of Nietzsche's most famous doctrines: the Will to Power, the Übermensch, and the eternal recurrence of the same. Finally, we evaluate Nietzsche's emphasis on "saying 'yes!' to life."

31 min