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Nietzsche and The Old Flame

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Written for those coming to the study of Nietzsche for the first time, Nietzsche and the Old Flame provides an introduction and guide to Nietzsche's thought as well as a commentary and review of his book of 1887 -On the Genealogy of Morals.

Nietzsche is often seen as a critic of modernity as well as the advocate of individualistic values that run up against such notions as compassion, equality and the values that are intrinsic to liberal democracy. The presentation in Nietzsche and the Old Flame suggests the importance of appreciating Nietzsche's reactionary and neo-classical orientation, his commitment to defend and recharge noble and aristocratic values, and his use of a binary view of the human condition. These themes have various guises in his thought, but boil down to a qualitative exploration of how human life can be. Nietzsche consistently puts a focus on a tension between two perspectives that represent the residual patterns of life for individuals, and by extension, cultures. Nietzsche considers that our experience of life can be fundamentally affirmative or submissive, thinking that it is very bad news indeed when life is submissive, reticent, replicative, habitual, or over inclined to compassion and love of custom. However, if life is affirmative, and in some way courageous, disciplined, spirited, heroic, positive and energised, this is the option Nietzsche cashiers. These themes are evident in the Genealogy, as is Nietzsche's abiding philosophical concern is with what it is, or means to live.

This book also offers an introduction for anyone interested in Nietzsche and looking to find a way into his thought. Reading and studying any notable philosopher is to engage in the business of doing philosophy, and it follows that such activity refines one's sense of the range and nature of what it is to practice philosophy. This book also serves as a kind of introduction to philosophy, although as the focus is on Nietzsche, what the reader encounters is something of an antidote to philosophy as it is often presented.

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