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Will to individuality: Nietzsche's self-interpreting perspective on life and humanity

Tai, Kuo-Ping Claudia 2008. Will to individuality: Nietzsche's self-interpreting perspective on life and humanity. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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This thesis aims to explore Nietzsche's concept of individuality. Nietzsche, a radical and innovative thinker who attacks Christian morality and proclaims the death of God, provides us with a self-interpreting way to understand humanity and affirm life through self-overcoming and self-experimentation. Nietzsche's concept of individuality is his main philosophical concern. I first compare his perspective on human nature in Human, All Too Human, Daybreak and Beyond Good and Evil with Charles Darwin's, Sigmund Freud's and St Augustine's in order to examine how his thinking differs from theirs with regard to the concept of human nature. Second, I turn to his On the Genealogy of Morals, in comparison with the thought of John Stuart Mill, analysing their criticism of Christian morality and discussing their different conceptions of individuality and the development of the self. The last chapter compares Nietzsche's The Anti-Christ, Twilight of the Idols and Ecce Homo with Ralph Waldo Emerson's philosophy of self-development, using this comparison to highlight the way in which Nietzsche expounds his concept of individuality and sets himself as a living example of an individual with autonomy and responsibility. Nietzsche attacks Christianity and argues that humanity can potentially be developed not through Christian morality but reflective self-interpretation. We shall not forget that being a self-developing individual is Nietzsche's chief aim although his arguments are too circuitous and controversial to be easily comprehended. His aim is not to offer some final, authoritative solution to these issues of the self and morality. In contrast, he offers us a new, uneven and perhaps dangerous way to understand humanity and modern culture. In order to achieve this, we need to interpret what he says from our own standpoints and also to interpret ourselves through self-reflection. Nietzsche's radical but insightful perspective is a means for guiding us to open our minds and affirm our lives through interpretation and experimentation. Then we might potentially overcome nihilism and become what we are: self-reflective individuals with free spirits.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
ISBN: 9781303183409
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2016 23:14

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