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The relation between time and value in Nietzsche's Thus spoke Zarathustra

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Shotton, LH 2000 , 'The relation between time and value in Nietzsche's Thus spoke Zarathustra', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Individual existence in time and the values related to the transience of all human life are important themes in each of Nietzsche's philosophical works. In Thus Spoke Zarathustra these are highlighted through the form of a poetic narrative, which nevertheless contains an important existential message. Nietzsche argues that human beings can learn to affirm transience through their confrontation with the most negative aspects of it: pain, suffering and death. Only as parts of the constant flux of becoming are they free to create their own values.
In this thesis I defend the claim that one of Nietzsche's major aims in Thus Spoke Zarathustra is to argue for a transformed attitude to existence and, accordingly, a transformed standard of evaluation of one's life. Nietzsche's arguments for the transformation of negative individual attitudes to the maximally affirmative perspective on human life relate to three of his most original doctrines: eternal recurrence, the will to power and the Superman.
The examination of Nietzsche's doctrines provides an understanding of how the transformation of some individual attitudes and values is possible. The thesis is divided into two main sections. The first three are concerned with Nietzsche's criticism of the values of those who cling to illusory permanence. The negative effects of this attitude are investigated in relation to the past, present and future. On the basis of these, Nietzsche's arguments for a positive, transformed attitude to existence are developed in the second half of the thesis.
According to Nietzsche, the attitudinal and value transformations can only be effected by the exceptional individual with a central core of affirmative will to power not possessed by others. Only the exceptional individual can impose value on the past and, in this sense, make it changeable. The special qualities are also required from one who can live in the moment in such a way that each becomes as full and unique as possible. The invulnerability of the exceptional individual enables.him to withstand loneliness and transform it into creative solitude which further enhances his affirmative powers. The death of God and the finitude of human existence become for him an opportunity for the creation of more positive values which celebrate transience.
I conclude that Nietzsche's constructive task, that of showing that affirmative attitudes and positive values related to transience are possible, is a success. In Zarathustra he grapples with the fundamental problems of finite human existence and shows that better values arise precisely because of impermanence and change. Nietzsche's strength lies in his capacity to not only criticize traditional values but to suggest plausible alternatives to these. Where his predecessors descended into nihilism burdened by the spirit of gravity , there he shows in the person of Zarathustra how nihilism can be abandoned in favor of the celebration of Life.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Shotton, LH
Keywords: Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, 1844-1900, Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, 1844-1900, Values
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Copyright 2000 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2000. Includes bibliographical references

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