Or, how to do philosophy with a hammer.
Contains the famous aphorism:
‘What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.’
(See Maxim 8)
The title of this highly polemical book, Twilight of the Idols, or How One Philosophizes with a Hammer (Götzen-Dämmerung, oder Wie man mit dem Hammer philosophiert, August-September 1888), word-plays upon Wagner's opera, The Twilight of the Gods (Die Götterdämmerung). In this short work, written in the flurry of his last productive year, Nietzsche re-iterates and elaborates some of the criticisms of major philosophic figures (Socrates, Plato, Kant and the Christian tradition). He establishes early on in the section The Problem of Socrates that nobody can estimate the value of life and that any judgment concerning it only reveals the judging person's life-denying or life-affirming tendencies. He attempts to portray philosophers from Socrates onwards as (in his own term) "decadents" who employ dialectics as a tool for self-preservation while the authority of tradition breaks down. He also criticizes the German culture of his day as unsophisticated, and shoots some disapproving arrows at key French, British, and Italian cultural figures. In contrast to all these alleged representatives of cultural decadence, Nietzsche applauds Caesar, Napoleon, Goethe, Dostoevsky, Thucydides and the Sophists as healthier and stronger types. The book states the transvaluation of all values as Nietzsche's final and most important project, and gives a view of antiquity wherein the Romans for once take precedence over the ancient Greeks.
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