Unit 4: Friedrich Nietzsche
An unapologetic critic of culture, society, religion, and philosophical dogma (philosophical beliefs that his predecessors and contemporaries accepted without question), Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) is arguably one of the most important thinkers of the past two centuries. Like all existentialists, Nietzsche denounced the universalistic tendencies displayed throughout the history of Western philosophy; that is, the tendencies of philosophers to assert that what they knew or believed or discovered should be considered true for everyone and for all time. According to Nietzsche, there is no such thing as a universal truth that is true for everyone and for all time. Instead, Nietzsche argued that what was true from one person's perspective might not be true from another person's perspective (a philosophical idea known as perspectivism). For Nietzsche, all human perspectives are valid in the quest for truth. This emphasis on the significance of individual points of view underscores Nietzsche's belief in the priority of individuality, the value of suspicion and skepticism, and a rejection of rationalism in the quest for truth. These values are existentialist themes shared by Nietzsche's predecessors and successors alike. In this unit, you will explore Nietzsche's version of existentialism and analyze his theory of values and morality.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 12 hours.