Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Dangers of Conformity According to Mill & Basic Writings of Nietzsche Essay | All Paper

According to Nitze’s basic writing chapter, in the picture below. In approximately 2000 words, answer one of the following questions. Be sure to provide cited evidence from the texts for your conclusions (i.e. you must quote from the text). No sources besides those assigned in class are necessary (i.e. this is not a research paper). Rather, the purpose of this assignment is for you to explicate (i.e. summarize and explain) the views of the thinker in question. So, your paper should provide insight, not only into the views Mill had, but also into the reasons he had for holding such views.
1.Write an essay in which you
consider Mill’s views on individualism. First, consider the notion of personal
choice. Under what circumstances should people be allowed to make their own
life decisions, even when those decisions challenge the prevailing viewpoints?
What limits must people respect when making choices about how to live their lives?
Second, describe the dangers of conformity, according to Mill. Why do most
people have a tendency to conform to a few standard models of life? What bad
effects can this conformity have on individuals? Finally, discuss the social
goods that are created by allowing people to live eccentric lives.
Particularly, what goods are created for those who do not themselves live such
eccentric lives? How does individualism, according to Mill, help to improve
society as a whole?


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Friedrich Nietzsche was born in 1844 in Röcken (Saxony), Germany.
He studied philology at the universities of Bonn and Leipzig, and in
1869 was appointed to the chair of classical philology at the
University of Basel, Switzerland. Ill health led him to resign his
professorship ten years later. His works include The Birth of Tragedy,
Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil, On the Genealogy of
Morals, The Case of Wagner, Twilight of the Idols, The Antichrist,
Nietzsche contra Wagner, and Ecce Homo. He died in 1900. The Will to
Power, a selection from his notebooks, was published posthumously.
Walter Kaufmann was born in Freiburg, Germany, in 1921, came to
the United States in 1939, and studied at Williams College and
Harvard University. In 1947 he joined the faculty of Princeton
University, where he became a professor of philosophy. He held many
visiting professorships, including Fulbright grants at Heidelberg and
Jerusalem. His books include Critique of Religion and Philosophy, From
Shakespeare to Existentialism, The Faith of a Heretic, Cain and Other
Poems, Hegel, Tragedy and Philosophy, and Nietzsche: Philosopher,
Psychologist, Antichrist, as well as verse translations of Goethe’s Faust
and Twenty German Poets. He translated all of the books by Nietzsche
listed in the biographical note above. He died in 1980.
Chapter 1 – Translator’s Introduction
Seventy-Five Aphorisms from Five Volumes
Chapter 1 – Human, All-Too-Human (1878)
Translator’s Preface
Part One – On the Prejudices of Philosophers
Part Two – The Free Spirit
Part Three – What is Religious
Part Four – Epigrams and Interludes
Part Five – Natural History of Morals
Part Six – We Scholars
Part Seven – Our Virtues
Part Eight – Peoples and Fatherlands
Part Nine – What is Noble
From High Mountains: Aftersong
Editor’s Introduction
Chapter 1 – First Essay: “Good and Evil,” “Good and Bad”
Chapter 2 – Second Essay: “Guilt,” “Bad Conscience,” and the
Chapter 3 – Third Essay: What Is the Meaning of Ascetic Ideals?
Translator’s Introduction
Chapter 1 – The Case of Wagner
Chapter 2 – From Nietzsche’s Correspondence About: The Case of
Editor’s Introduction
A Note on the Publication of Ecce Homo
Chapter 1 – Why I Am So Wise
Chapter 2 – Why I Am So Clever
Chapter 3 – Why I Write Such Good Books
Chapter 4 – The Birth of Tragedy
Chapter 5 – The Untimely Ones
Chapter 6 – Human, All-Too-Human With Two Sequels
Chapter 7 – Dawn Thoughts About Morality as a Prejudice
Chapter 8 – The Gay Science (“la gaya scienza”)
Chapter 9 – Thus Spoke Zarathustra A Book for All and None
Chapter 10 – Beyond Good and Evil Prelude to a Philosophy of
the Future
Chapter 11 – Genealogy of Morals A Polemic
Chapter 12 – Twilight of the Idols How One Philosophizes with a
Chapter 13 – The Case of Wagner A Musician’s Problem
Chapter 14 – Why I Am a Destiny
Appendix: Variants from Nietzsche’s Drafts
Bibliographical Note
Ever since Nietzsche went insane, and silent, in 1889, as his fame was
beginning to spread, his ideas have been most things to most men.
Literally—for on the subject of women, interpretations of his views
can hardly differ very much: he was an incurable misogynist. Nor
could devout Christians derive any comfort from his writings, which
are centrally preoccupied with a destructive analysis of Christianity,
its birth, its triumph, its unfortunate longevity. As for principled
democrats, they too cannot find much to please them in his work:
whatever conclusion one may reach in the end about Nietzsche’s
political thinking, it calls for the distinct separation of an elite and the
But existentialists and nihilists, chauvinists and cosmopolitans, antiSemites and philo-Semites, Francophiles and professional Teutons,
Wagnerites and Brahmsians, nature worshipers and pragmatists,
followers of Freud and his critics, have been struggling over his
legacy for a century and more. They cannot all be right; in fact, most
of them are wrong, dining off a few scraps that Nietzsche had thrown
them in a careless mood. But this has not stopped them from arguing.
Yet even in the less than angrily controversial domains, Nietzsche’s
work has been at the mercy of ideologists of all stripes. What is
Nietzsche’s evidence for women’s presumed inferiority? What is the
reason for his anti-Christian bent? What kind of elite is he calling for?
Beyond that, when it comes to the theory of knowledge, is he an
absolute skeptic? Do his generalizations about nations support
racism? Why does he do his utmost to distance himself from the
Germany of his time? And what of Wagner, first his friend and then
his enemy? The questions pile up and there are all too many answers
canceling each other out.
There is of course nothing new or unexpected concerning battles
about the meaning of a thinker’s work. One recalls Plato, Machiavelli,
Hobbes, Rousseau, Hegel, and the debates that their “real” message
has generated across the centuries. But Nietzsche’s thought has been
particularly susceptible to often envenomed controversies, generating
incompatible claims about the influence of that thought not only on
recent philosophy, but also, and more portentously, on recent politics.
Why? As readers of this volume can readily discover for
themselves, Nietzsche was a superb stylist. Writing as trenchantly as
he did, he was the antithesis of the traditional German professor, with
his heavy vocabulary, serpentine sentences, and convoluted
reasoning. But, paradoxical as it may sound, Nietzsche wrote too well
for his own good. He coined memorable aphorisms and seductive
locutions that have been used against him—by and large unfairly.
Even if (indeed, especially if) we do not know much about Nietzsche,
we are likely to remember his terms: “the blond beast,” which can
easily be taken as a sample of Aryan megalomania, or the
“Übermensch,” usually translated as “Superman,” thus awakening
images of Clark Kent donning his cape. And what of his heartless,
condescending observation, “Everything about woman has a solution:
it is called pregnancy”? Though such Nietzschean views leave an
unpleasant aftertaste, most can be satisfactorily clarified by the
context and the dominant style of thinking that pervades his thought.
But this means that one can judge Nietzsche only after reading him,
not before.
The fact is that many philosophers in many countries now read
him, and with care; in all probability, Nietzsche is the most studied
German thinker in English-, French-, and Italian-speaking cultures.
His ability to turn accepted moral certitudes on their head, his
skeptical questioning of confident realists who see the outside world
as easily accessible to the investigator, and his astonishing
psychological insights that have made it tempting to see Freud as his
disciple (which he was not)—all this, as we have seen, makes him
appealing to minds attached to the most varied systems. In some
quarters, indeed, among some literary critics, he has become
something of a fad. Postmodernists intent on showing that there is no
stable world out there, and that everything is a “social construct,”
have taken comfort from a remark of Nietzsche’s, “Truths are a
useless fiction.” Well, of course one can easily find statements in
Nietzsche that uphold the opposite, or generate doubts about this
statement. A faithful (but not slavish) reader of Nietzsche must
acknowledge that one reason why there is so much debate about
Nietzsche’s meaning is that he occasionally contradicts himself. Hence
the way to defend a certain position on Nietzsche is not to rely on a
single aphorism, but to penetrate to the central significance of the
texts in which the passage is embedded.
There is another, a historical, reason why Nietzsche has aroused so
much rancor across the twentieth century, especially after the
outbreak of the First World War: his presumed advocacy of a brutal
Teutonic philosophy of life that explained the alleged conduct of the
German armies during the war.
After January 30, 1933, this reproach grew even fiercer. On that
day, Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany, and with that, the
charge that Nietzsche had inspired much of the Nazis’ murderous
ideology became widespread and seemed utterly plausible. In
Germany itself, after that fateful date, servile commentators, knowing
what would please Joseph Goebbels, did their utmost to claim
Nietzsche for Hitler’s “movement.” This was not so easily done; it
necessitated explaining away the passages in Nietzsche that could not
possibly be reconciled with Hitlerian dogma, but which were present,
the authors had to admit, in Nietzsche’s works. One way of dealing
with this dilemma was to falsify his texts, or to take some of
Nietzsche’s comments out of context. Thus, his infrequent anti-Jewish
remarks, normally surrounded by declarations of admiration for the
Jews, could be stripped of this praise, so that they could misdescribe
Nietzsche’s philo-Semitism as anti-Semitism. The fact is that it was
particularly the German anti-Semites of his own time that Nietzsche
most despised. In the United States, a not dissimilar view—Nietzsche
the prophet of the Third Reich—though of course less infected with
propaganda, carried the day. The one or two more responsible
interpreters who knew their Nietzsche better than this were swamped
in the hostile consensus.
One influential interpretation, which declared Nietzsche to be half
a Nazi, was Crane Brinton’s Nietzsche, published in 1941. A highly
respected historian at Harvard University, Brinton was an accessible
essayist whose weighty opinions seemed to confirm what more casual
writers and readers had long held against Nietzsche. Then, nine years
after, a philosopher at Princeton University, Walter A. Kaufmann,
published Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist, and Nietzsche
scholarship was never the same again.
Polemics about philosophers rarely reach a wider audience, but the
academic world and to some extent even the interested general public
read Kaufmann’s intellectual biography with admiration and shame—
admiration for the author’s powerful defense of Nietzsche and his
effective work of demolishing legends about him; shame for their own
hasty and ill-informed verdicts on a thinker who apparently deserved
their close and sympathetic attention far more than they had believed
possible. It is safe to say that in the course of the twentieth century no
American academic study has had a wider, and more fully deserved,
impact than Kaufmann’s Nietzsche.
Kaufmann was nothing if not thorough. He exposed in detail the
machinations of Nietzsche’s sister Elisabeth to manipulate her
brother’s texts, and to enlist him in the very causes that he had
consistently denounced. Her crude prejudices, including a heavy dose
of anti-Semitism, had nothing in common with her brother’s
philosophy. Since she controlled his papers, she could publish from
his vast pile of notes what she chose, and carpenter together materials
that did not belong together or that he had discarded. For eleven
years, until Nietzsche’s death in 1900, and for years thereafter, she
held a virtual monopoly on interpreting her brother to the world, and
other commentators on Nietzsche’s thought more or less helplessly
followed her deceptive lead. What Kaufmann calls “the Nietzsche
legend” owes more to her than to any other commentator.
Her work as her brother’s editor, then, made the “real” Nietzsche
virtually disappear from view. Readers in the English-speaking world
who had no German faced an additional obstacle: the translations. In
Nietzsche, Kaufmann spends no time giving the gruesome details, but
he left no doubt that all the translations in the book were his in part
because, he writes in the preface, “[t]he purpose of the quotations
was often to establish new interpretations …” (p. ix). And he faced
the consequences of his critical view toward existing translations: in
order to enable English-speaking readers to confront Nietzsche as
authentically as any translation can make it, Kaufmann, after
publishing Nietzsche (a book that went into several editions), set
about rendering Nietzsche’s main writings into English. The reader of
Basic Writings of Nietzsche is the beneficiary of Kaufmann’s diligence:
he has translated every text in this volume.
Friedrich Nietzsche’s life was a dramatic one, but all his drama was
interior. He was born in 1844, the son of a Lutheran pastor and a
devout hausfrau, and proved a prodigy. After studying at the
universities of Bonn and Leipzig, in 1869 he was appointed, at the
ripe age of twenty-four, to the chair of classical philology at Basel.
Among his acquaintances was the great scholar Jakob Burckhardt, the
historian who put the Italian Renaissance on the map. It was there
that he wrote his first book, The Birth of Tragedy (1872), an original,
highly suggestive analysis of tragedy and of ancient Greek culture as a
tense struggle between liberated Dionysian impulses (whose prestige
Nietzsche was intent on restoring) and controlled Apollonian reason.
In its later chapters, the book threw a bridge between antiquity and
his own times by extravagantly praising Richard Wagner, whose
friend he had become. His next widely read work, Untimely
Meditations (1873–76), a collection of four lengthy essays dealing
with such subjects as Schopenhauer, Wagner, and the writing of
history, displayed Nietzsche’s interest in current affairs and his
delight in polemics. The “Untimely” in the title of this collection must
be read to mean only that its author stood ready to confront his times
with some unconventional views.
Plainly, the philologist and lover of music was turning into a
cultural commentator, an unrelenting critic of the modern
bourgeoisie, of religion and moral philosophy as then practiced, and
of the German Empire, founded in 1871, the unremitting target of his
sarcasm and contempt. He took pride in calling himself a good
European. His admiration for Wagner, that all-too-German composer
and virulent anti-Semite, waned until his animosity became marked,
principled, and public. Readers of this volume can get a good account
of the grounds for this hostility in “The Case of Wagner” and in
Walter Kaufmann’s introduction (which, like all his other
introductions in this volume, is outspoken and authoritative).
In 1879, intermittently troubled by ill health including almost
intolerable headaches, Nietzsche resigned his professorship and
sought relief in the Swiss mountains (the little village of Sils Maria)
and Italian cities like Turin—in vain. It was by and large a lonely life,
his solitude broken only by occasional visits by a few—a very few—
loyal disciples. But for a decade, he produced his most enduring
books in this hermitlike existence. Two among these crucial texts
appear in this volume, in full: Beyond Good and Evil (1886) and The
Genealogy of Morals (1887), and repay the closest attention.
For the most part his writings are cast in chains of brilliant
aphorisms or connected essays. He pursued his quarrel with
Christianity and conventional morality, his analysis of the aristocrats
of life and the crowd man, his thoughts on human knowledge and
human destiny. He did not complete a philosophical system; he had
intended to write a synthesis of his thinking and diligently took notes
for what he wanted to call “The Will to Power.” But he never did, and
what his sister brought out after his death under this title had neither
the form, nor the intellectual argument, he had wanted to give it.
Still, the enterprise he managed to stamp with his unique way of
thinking was one of stupendous daring and unending interest even for
the reader who in the end disagrees with Nietzsche. In 1888, the
great Danish critic Georg Brandes gave Nietzsche his first general
recognition in a series of lectures. And then, in January 1889,
Nietzsche went mad and could no longer defend himself against the
distortions by his sister and like-minded ideologues.
Yet now, thanks in considerable part to the expositions and the
translations by Walter Kaufmann, of which generous samples appear
in this volume, and to the work he inspired over the years, it is
possible to see Nietzsche plain. As he put it a little pathetically in the
intellectual autobiography he wrote shortly before his breakdown,
Ecce Homo, a book eminently worth reading: “Hear me! For I am such
and such a person. Above all, do not mistake me for someone else.”
PETER GAY is Sterling Professor Emeritus of History at Yale University
and the director of the Center for Writers and Scholars at the New
York Public Library. His works include The Enlightenment and, most
recently, Mozart (Penguin Lives).
A Note on This Edition
volume contains five of Nietzsche’s major works, complete, as
well as seventy-five aphorisms from his five aphoristic books,
selections from his correspondence about The Case of Wagner, and
variants from Nietzsche’s drafts for Ecce Homo. I have also furnished
footnote commentaries on all of this material, and have contributed
introductions and indices.
All footnotes are mine, except three in The Case of Wagner, which
are clearly identified: these are the only footnotes Nietzsche himself
included in any of his books.
The translations were made especially for this volume. I have used
Clifton Fadiman’s early translation of The Birth of Tragedy, done when
he was a graduate student, as a basis for some parts of my new
version. But even where I did not start from scratch, I have compared
every sentence with the original, and my revisions are so extensive
that the new version is probably more different from his than most
Nietzsche translations—including Fadiman’s—are from those that
preceded them. And in large part I did work from scratch. I have
made extensive use of a draft translation of On the Genealogy of
Morals, furnished me by R. J. Hollingdale; but I alone bear the
responsibility for the final version. The other translations, as well as
the commentaries, involved no collaboration.
In the original German, almost every numbered section constitutes
a single paragraph. Nietzsche used dashes and three dots to indicate
breaks. I have largely dispensed with these devices and begun new
paragraphs wherever that seemed helpful.
Introduction by the Editor
is one of the few philosophers since Plato whom large
numbers of intelligent people read for pleasure. Philosophers of that
sort are mostly French and rarely taken very seriously by twentiethcentury philosophy professors. The only French philosopher whom
professional philosophers generally accord highest honors is
Descartes. Montaigne and Pascal, Voltaire and Rousseau, Bergson and
Sartre do not enjoy their greatest vogue among philosophers, and of
these only Rousseau has had any considerable influence on the
history of philosophy (through Kant and Hegel). One may actually be
led to wonder whether in philosophy there is an inverse proportion
between profundity and importance on the one hand, and clarity and
excellence of style on the other. If Plato seems to prove that this need
not be so, many twentieth-century philosophers would be quick to
counter that, philosophically, Plato’s early and more literary dialogues
are less important than his later dialogues, especially where they
stu …
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