Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil and the Death of God

This course examines the work of one of the 19th century’s most influential and (in)famous thinkers: Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche provocatively proclaimed both the death of God and a “revaluation” of all values beyond good and evil to the alarm of some of his contemporaries. He also repeatedly signs his texts as the antichrist. Moreover, his terse, aphoristic writing style and self-laudatory tendency—chapters of his books are titled “Why I am so Wise,” Why I write such good Books,” etc.—have earned him a conflicting reputation. This course will examine Nietzsche’s writings beginning with his autobiography Ecce Homo, which he wrote shortly before his mental collapse, and then proceeding chronologically. The goal of the course is to become as familiarly acquainted as possible with an influential thinker whose works have profoundly shaped our contemporary world yet are often misunderstood and taken out of context. Themes to be explored include Nietzsche’s account of the death of God and the will to truth and what this means, his notions of the eternal return and overman (Übermensch), his account of the origin of morality and revaluation of all values, and the conflict between the Apollonian and Dionysian that runs throughout his entire work.

Zachary Reyna:

Zachary Reyna is a political theorist working in the environmental humanities and cultural study of law. He received his PhD in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University (USA), where his dissertation offered an ecological reading of the natural law tradition that rethought the concept of political obligation for contemporary environmentalist politics. He taught political theory and environmental thought at Johns Hopkins and Towson University, and is the assistant editor of the journal “Political Theory”. He is now professor in political theory at SAS.