This is a five-week autumn course that will be conducted on Zoom. (Zoom details will be sent to participants by email.) The course is a reading group.
Nietzsche (1844–1900), Twilight of the Idols or How to Philosophize with a Hammer.
That text features nearly all of Nietzsche’s preoccupations and main themes. Thus, Twilight considers, among other things: morality; religion; the prejudices of philosophers; the Greeks; and various ideas in metaphysics and indeed the very notion of metaphysics. The prose tends towards the aphoristic and the polemical; one section is entitled, ‘Maxims and arrows’. The philosophical content is considerable.
The book appeared in 1888 – as Götzen-Dämmerung oder Wie man mit dem Hammer philosophiert – near the end of Nietzsche’s (sane, non-vegetative) life. I recommend the Penguin Classic edition, in which the translator is Hollingdale. That edition was first published in 1968 but has been reissued in slightly altered form several times since. Using one rather than another of those Penguin editions will make little difference. (There is a scholarly edition published by Cambridge University Press. I do not know that edition but I imagine it will be good – but it costs more than the Penguin; and the Penguin is readily available second-hand. The Penguin editions include another work by Nietzsche – and the Cambridge edition includes two others. There is a ‘Dover Thrift’ edition as well. I cannot vouch for that particular Dover text and indeed I have been unable to determine its translator.)
Our first week will treat these sections of the book: its ‘Foreword’; the section entitled, ‘Maxims and arrows’; and the section called, ‘The problem of Socrates’.