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Twilight of the Idols - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Friedrich Nietzsche was raised by Christian ministers and although he went to school to study theology, he became an atheist and followed the path of philosophy instead. He died an early death, dealing with mental illness in the later years of his life. Nietzsche believed in what he termed "slave morality." Nietzsche believes that God has no power in our culture and that the clergy created slave morality in an attempt to keep the public controlled and not reaching for excellence. They did this through teaching that we were all created equal.

"Twilight of the Idols," written by Nietzsche, is subtitled "How to Philosophize with a Hammer," and was written with the intent of bashing the idols of the time. The entire work is divided into twelve sections. Our text includes only the first six.

The first section, "Maxim and Missiles" are a compilation of quotations, many of which demonstrate sarcasm. A few were familiar to me-"That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.

The next section, "The Problem of Socrates," Nietzsche argues that Socrates uses his rational arguing as a response to the decline of the Athenians as a tool to gain power and status. Socrates claims to have overcome the evil desires. It is believed there are only two choices "either perish or else be absurdly rational." Nietzsche argues that those philosophers that followed in Socrates steps and believed that through reason they could eliminate the evils of desire did not eliminate the problem; only replace them with a new set of problems that did not lead to happiness either.

The next section, "Reason in Philosophy," Nietzsche discusses the history of philosophy with regards to being versus becoming. He further disputes Plato's theory of forms and discusses the results that have occurred based on the Christian belief in the "true world" versus the "apparent world". In the last two sections, Nietzsche speaks about morality and free will. Nietzsche believes that through nature and our senses we are all enticed with things we desire and that it the will of the individual that determines whether they make the appropriate choices. He feels that the Christian church has eliminated the responsibility of the individual by dictating the morals of the church. Additionally, Nietzsche goes on to identify the four errors of man as confusing the cause for the effect, inventing causes, such as will and ego, for our actions, the error of imaginary causes or creating a cause to help describe the unknown, and lastly, the error of free will which makes mankind responsible for change. Nietzsche concludes that Christianity interferes with man's 'innocence of becoming with punishment and guilt"

Jean-Paul Sartre was raised and influenced by the works of the German philosophers. He, like Nietzsche, proclaims God to be dead

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