Nietzsche's Zarathustra

We will get an introductory course to Nietzsche's philosophy by attempting to decode some of the more difficult passages of his "greatest gift given to mankind" his "Zarathustra".

Class is here

    no lectures added

A desire to better understand N's (Friedrich Nietzsche, referred to in the course as "N" or "Nietzsche") philosophy and spirit and life.


I've decided to include the class in the making of the syllabus, so as not to conflict with anyone's schedules.

Because the text requires understanding purposefully difficult aphorisms as well as allusions to other works of western philosophy, the class will have three elements:

  1. Reading and understanding texts that are requisite for understanding N's Z.

  2. Looking at some of N's texts both inside and outside of "Zarathustra" that offer a "code" of sorts for understanding the allegories of "Z"

  3. Looking at different passages from "Z" and having class discussions on their meaning.

We will be reading enough of "Zarathustra" ("Thus Spoke Zarathustra" variously referred to in this class as "Z" or "Zarathustra") through this course that anyone interested in reading the entire work will find that they only have to spend a few extra moments for each assignment reading the parts we skip. All contributions made by students referring to works read outside the required reading are most welcome and strongly encouraged.

One of the understandings we hope to acquire from our looks at "2." above will be the idea that Nietzsche wrote in a confusing way because he either wanted a reader to misunderstand him or to "understood him by heart" (he speaks of "writing in blood, for blood is spirit" for one who so writes wished to be "understood by heart") As such, I will sometimes employ a very useful method of teaching philosophical works by which the teacher, for the purposes of the discussion, adopts to the best of their ability the attitudes and beliefs of the author under examination. This will save time as I won't have to spend a lot of time clearing my throat with statements like: "I don't necessarily think this, but N might say..." I don't believe that it will be very difficult for redditors to keep pace with this method, which I have seen work very well IRL classrooms. Students are here encouraged to remember to critique all of my in class opinions, not only on their philosophical merits, but on whether or not they are accurate understandings of N's ideas as well.

This class will be more than a directed discussion of the texts, I will offer written lectures, as this is one of the texts that many complain of being too difficult to engage with. The purpose of this class will be to provide the students with the tools necessary to begin to engage with this very significant text.

Additional information

I anticipate that this will be a great deal of fun! I hope you enjoy it as well.

To that end, I want to restate and emphasize that I all parts of this class will be open to criticism from participants. If there is a text that you think we ought to go over, that I fail to include in the required readings, please speak up! If we are moving too quickly or too slowly, or if there are any criticisms of the methods or structure of the class, please offer them. I expect that we will get the most out of this class if it maintains this dynamic element.

That being said, I don't intend on being lazy, and will do all of the work to give the class the skeletal structure that it requires and to help lead the discussion in a way that adds enough flesh and blood to this structure to make it worthy of your time.

Teacher qualifications
not given
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