Nietzsche and the Jews

“Don’t let in any more Jews! And lock the doors to the east in particular (even to Austria)!” – so commands the instinct of a people whose type is still weak and indeterminate enough to blur easily and be easily obliterated by a stronger race.” Beyond Good and Evil, §251 The place of Jews is notoriously controversial in Nietzsche’s body of work. Ever since his sister Elisabeth took charge of editing his manuscripts, there has […]

Nietzsche and affirmation of life

In this post, let us have a look at Nietzsche’s conception of affirmation. Netzsche’s conception of affirmation is not necessarily a straightforward one, as laid out in the statements within the various aphorisms towards the concept itself. So naturally, while looking at such aphorisms as the notorious ‘Ja-sager’ in The Gay Science is indicative of his views, there remain passages that are of equal (and perhaps higher) interest than these straightforward ones. One of these is […]

Was Nietzsche an aristocratic elitist?

Nietzsche is often portrayed as an aristocratic elitist, whose main concern was with the higher morals and who strongly opposed any type of herd mentality. Although this is generally true, albeit very crudely formulated (and indeed oversimplified), for some reason there is also a consideration that because Nietzsche was concerned with higher morals, he was therefore also an elitist aristocrat in his political views, disavowing any sense of egalitarian community. He is considered to be […]

Friedrich Nietzsche and Lou von Salomé, the myth of marriage proposals

The following is not really a paradox as such, but rather falls into the category that I call ‘philosophy gossip’. It could still be thought of as a paradox, but then in the Greek sense of the word – something that is “contrary to common belief”. There is also a double paradox that is the result of the following analysis; though my primary aim here is to shed some light on a historical misrepresentation that […]

‘Why write?’, or Blanchot’s double paradox of writing, through Hegel’s paradox of action

Hegel’s paradox of action The paradox of action for Hegel is that I can only discover who I am by acting, but acting already presupposes that I know who I am: ‘an individual cannot know what he really is until he has made himself a reality through action’. [The Spiritual Animal Kingdom, in Hegel’s Phenomenology of the Spirit]. This means that he already has to determine the end of his action [that is, the end in […]

Agrippa’s paradox (Sextus Empiricus’ modi), and Nietzsche’s insight

There is almost nothing we know about the person attributed with today’s paradox. In fact, Wikipedia even denies him this attribution (or rather, it denies to call the paradox after him). One of the reasons is perhaps that we actually know very little about Agrippa, except from the writing of Sextus Empiricus [sidenote: now that’s an interesting name]. In fact, we don’t even know his (or her?) name for sure. Another could be that many have come up […]

The ‘history repeats itself’ paradox – part 1

The popularized proverb ‘history repeats itself’ is somehow paradoxical. On the one hand, most if not all states in the world teach history in progressive terms (i.e. as linear); yet, majority of people actually believe that history repeats itself. How is that possible? We can put the question somewhat differently: If history repeats itself, we should be able to avoid the mistakes from the past; but we do not – and hence we say that history […]

Ship of Theseus paradox

Imagine a ship made of wood. It is so old that each part has undergone some change. All the planks have been replaced; in fact, every single aspect has been replaced. The question many philosophers have bent their heads over, is whether this remains the same ship, and not in a boring philosophical way of what sameness means…. There are many variations to this paradox. Though technically speaking, this is not really a paradox yet, […]