A Solution to "The Problem of Socrates" in Nietzsche's Thought: An Explanation of Nietzsche's Ambivalence Toward Socrates
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My argument will take the following form. I will first establish in Chapters 2-5 (A) Nietzscheâ s ambivalence toward Socrates. Then, independently of that discussion, I will reveal in Chapter 6 (B) his ambivalence toward reason. The strict parallelism between these two manifestations of ambivalence in Nietzsche will permit me to make the claim that (B) explains (A). By this analysis I will demonstrate that Nietzsche is not only positive and negative in his assessments of both Socrates and reason, but that he is ambivalent to both for the same reasons. More specifically, for Nietzsche, Socratesâ emphasis upon dialectical reason as the one and only medium for attaining eudaimonia is ultimately nihilistic. It stands as a singular example of the variety of nihilistic practices that emphasize one perspective over all others; and to deny perspective, is, for Nietzsche, to deny life itself. Thus Nietzsche understands such practices, among which he includes Christianity, ethical objectivism, and Platoâ s metaphysics, as a misuse of reason. However, the appropriate use of reason involves experimenting with other modes of expression such as aphorisms, the performing arts, and poetry, which grant the individual as much moral and intellectual freedom as necessary so that they may affirm life in the manner they find most satisfying and rewarding. Hence, it is only through a thorough investigation of Nietzscheâ s view of reason that his ambivalence toward Socrates can be fully understood, namely, as a manifestation of his ambivalence to reason.
- Masters Theses