Nietzsche and Philosophy
Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995) was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris VIII. He is a key figure in poststructuralism, and one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century.
Nietzsche and Philosophy has long been recognised as one of the most important accounts of Nietzsche's philosophy, acclaimed for its rare combination of scholarly rigour and imaginative interpretation. Yet this is more than a major work on Nietzsche; the book opened a whole new avenue in post-war thought. Here, Deleuze shows how Nietzsche began a new way of thinking which breaks with the dialectic as a method and escapes the confines of philosophy itself.
Translated by Hugh Tomlinson.
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Giles Deleuze (1962, 1983). Friedrich Nietzsche & Philosophy [Hugh Tomlinson, Translator]. Columbia University Press: New York. 221 pages.
This book appears to be from the school of what I term ‘Zarathustra’s disciples.’ It was originally published in 1962 as Friedrich Nietzsche & Philosophy by Presses Universitaires de France. Deleuze’s approach is to take as given the coherence of the Nietzsche corpus — and then to expound and expand on what for him is its essential rationality, aesthetic verity, and philosophical pertinence [my words, not his]. The only non-Nietzschean theme is the almost complete avoidance of references to Nietzsche’s life. [ Nietzsche, of course, consistently indicated that for him a philosophy cannot be understood apart from the philosopher — his so called ‘genealogical method’.
I must confess that I was troubled by this book. The last two sections (IV and V) are fundamentally an exegesis on Niietsche’s thinking about Chritianity, the Übermensch, the Eternal Recurrence, and the Will to Power. To be sure, he is to be congratulated on making extensive use of the poetry of Zarathustra and the Dionysian Dithyrambs in weaving together his argument, but in the end he is simply a dogged discipline. I experience the same inauthenticity in his explication of Nietzsche as I do when I listen to to Christians refer to the book of Revelation as they declaim about Hell or when I hear or read about conservative Jews using Deuteronomy or Leviticus to justify the ‘Lebensraum’ policies of Israel. I haven’t observed the Islamic Wasabe Mullahs who memorize the entire Quram [before celebrating the death of innocent infidels], but I suspect they too share this blind devotional respect for the text. To call this tunnel-vision effort ‘philosophy’ reminds me very much of Deleuze’s braying of Zarathustra’s asses that Deleuze purports to analyze.
Nevertheless, having provided my caveats, I find several meritorious features in the book. First, I very much like his per se analysis of ressentiment in the initial portions of section IV. According to Deleuze, ressentiment is marked by a passivity which does not actually address or honestly attack the source of pain and object of ressentiment. While the these ideals have multiple applications, i could not help but think of the hate spewed out by the American ‘religious right.’ I also meditated on my own inactions in these days of rampant ideology infused with (cheap) patriotism and shallow politics. However, Deleuze makes a fundamental error is asserting that ‘aggression’ [seen by Nietzsche and Deleuze as positive] and ‘ressentiment’ [seen by Nietzsche and Deleuze as negative] are two radically different activities. The basic problem seems to be that Deleuze does not know how to apply the Nietzschean methods to Nietzsche’s or to his own work.
Lon Clay Hill [email@example.com]
The Philosophy of the Will
Against the Dialectic
The Problem of Tragedy
Dionysus and Christ
The Essence of the Tragic
Realisation of Critique
Nietzsche and Kant from the Point of View of Consequences
The Concept of Truth
Knowledge Morality and Religion
Thought and Life
New Image of Thought
From Ressentiment to the Bad Conscience
The Problem of Existence
Existence and Innocence
Consequences for the Eternal Return
Nietzsche and Mallarmé
Active and Reactive
The Distinction of Forces
Quantity and Quality
Nietzsche and Science
What is the Will to Power?
Origin and Inverted Image
The Problem of the Measure of Forces
Will to Power and Feeling of Power
The BecomingReactive of Forces
Ambivalence of Sense and of Values
The Problem of the Eternal Return
The Form of the Question in Nietzsche
Against his Predecessors
Against Pessimism and against Schopenhauer
Principles for the Philosophy of the Will
Plan of The Genealogy of Morals
Nietzsche and Kant from the Point of View of Principles
Principle of Ressentiment
Typology of Ressentiment
Characteristics of Ressentiment
Is he Good? Is he Evil?
the Judaic priest
Bad Conscience and Interiority
The Problem of Pain
The Christian priest
Culture Considered from the Prehistoric Point of View
Culture Considered from the PostHistoric Point of View
Culture Considered from the Historical Point of View
Bad Conscience Responsibility Guilt
The Ascetic Ideal and the Essence of Religion
Triumph of Reactive Forces
Against the Dialectic
Analysis of Pity
God is Dead
The Avatars of the Dialectic
Nietzsche and the Dialectic
Theory of the Higher Man
Is Man Essentially Reactive?
the focal point
Affirmation and Negation
The Sense of Affirmation
Dionysus and Zarathustra