Potrait of Friedrich Nietzsche By Edvard Munch, 1906

Friedrich Nietzsche

Western Philosopher


Lifetime: 1844 - 1900 Passed: ≈ 120 years ago

Nietzsche's writing spans philosophical polemics, poetry, cultural criticism, and fiction while displaying a fondness for aphorism and irony. Prominent elements of his philosophy include his radical critique of truth in favor of perspectivism; a genealogical critique of religion and Christian morality and related theory of master–slave morality; the aesthetic affirmation of existence in response to the "death of God" and the profound crisis of nihilism; the notion of Apollonian and Dionysian forces; and a characterization of the human subject as the expression of competing wills, collectively understood as the will to power.


After his death, his sister Elisabeth became the curator and editor of Nietzsche's manuscripts. She edited his unpublished writings to fit her German ultranationalist ideology while often contradicting or obfuscating Nietzsche's stated opinions, which were explicitly opposed to antisemitism and nationalism.


The statement "God is dead," occurring in several of Nietzsche's works has become one of his best-known remarks. On the basis of it, many commentators] regard Nietzsche as an atheist; others (such as Kaufmann) suggest that this statement reflects a more subtle understanding of divinity.

A basic element in Nietzsche's philosophical outlook is the "will to power" (der Wille zur Macht), which he maintained provides a basis for understanding human behavior—more so than competing explanations, such as the ones based on pressure for adaptation or survival.

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Books by Friedrich Nietzsche