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BOOK REVIEWS 371 Nietzsche: Seine Philosophie der Gegensfitze und die Gegensiitze seiner Philosophie. By Wolfgang Miiller-Lauter. (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter Verlag, 1971. Pp. viii+ 195. DM 38) Arising from Professor M~ller-Lauter's study of modern nihilism, the present work attempts to grasp the crucial oppositions or antitheses (Gegensiitze) in Nietzsche's thought (pp. 1-9). He traces the problem to a tension inherent in Nietzsche's teaching about the Will to Power which inevitably produces two irreconcilable kinds of supermen with irreconcilable interpretations of the Eternal Return. Miiller contends that neither the Superman nor Nietzsche's post-Christian religion of the Eternal Return succeed in solving the problems of the Will to Power. Although Mtiller finds no essential opposition between the Will to Power, the Superman, and the Eternal Return, he discerns an inner contradiction running through these three pillars of Nietzsche's philosophy. Since Nietzsche claims that reality is constituted by the perpetually shifting struggles for power of ultimate oppositions, Mtiller contends that Nietzsche's Will to Power is not one ultimate, intelligible principle unifying all opposites. There is never one Will to Power, but always many whose ceaseless struggle to dominate each other gives rise to inorganic and organic life in all its forms--and, for Nietzsche, even death is a form or transformation of life (pp. 10-34). Thus reality is endless, ever changing struggles for power. In order to survive on this battlefield, men falsified its reality, projecting onto its ceaseless flux the existence of stable entities, useful fictions such as "thing," "ego," "will," "thought," "body," "conscience," "right," "wrong," "truth," "falsity" (p. 171; cf. 102, note 57). Nietzsche traces faith in the existence of these fictions, and especially of "truth,'" to communal needs to trust in the truthfulness or honesty of fellow tribesmen or fellowcitizens . Originally truth or truthfulness was a weapon unifying peoples in their struggle against enemies. Stronger communities naturally imposed their morality on weaker ones who consequently despised themselves for their slavishness. Informed by this self-contempt, the will to power of the weak always is a more or less disguised will to suicide or nihilism (pp. 53-80). Like all forms of life, slavish peoples want to impose their will to power on all men and all life. Thus they plot to compel strong peoples to abandon their bestial, barbaric gods for the worship of nihilistic deities invented by weakness of will. When the masters are weakened by their perpetual warfare or by lack of worthy opponents, they succumb to slave religions (pp. 54-57). The most successful slave religion was invented (after the decline of the ancient polis) by Plato and popularized by Caesar's destruction of Roman freedom which laid the political foundation for Christianity, the perfect religion for a weak, slavish world. If Caesar and Christ were the Romulus and Numa of the new global religion, Nietzsche's (and Hegel's) combining of them is not so implausible as Miiller suggests (p. 124, note 43; cf. A. Koj~ve, "Hegel, Marx and Christianity," Interpretation, 1 [1970], 36-40). In any case, Plato (Laws, 884A-907B; Epinomis, 976C-992E) replaces belief in the master's militant civic or tribal gods with belief in the existence of global or cosmic gods as the ultimate sanction for obedience to human laws (pp. 81-94). Nietzsche interprets global or cosmic deities as projections of a slavish self-contempt which causes its victims to be radically dissatisfied with themselves and, therefore, open to the possible virtues of the most foreign and hostile points of view. Naturally sympathetic to all life, the self-contempt responsible for slave moralities gives rise to religions preaching peace on earth, good will to all men. The reverse side of their pity 372 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY for suffering humanity is resentment and hatred for the harsh, bestial religion of the masters who feel no contempt for themselves and, consequently, no pity for foreigners or openness to their perspectives. Nietzsche saw all modern regimes (democratic, communist, and Prussian) as implementations of the slave morality inculcated by the global victory of the Platonic-Christian tradition aided by its latest weapon, modern scientific technology (cf. A. Koj~ve, Introduction to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 371-374
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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