By Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm; Bull, Malcolm; Nietzsche, Friedrich

Nietzsche continues to be what he desired to be - the limit-philosopher of a modernity that by no means ends. This booklet argues that in basic terms to reject Nietzsche isn't to flee his entice. His appeals to our hope for victory, our creativity, our very humanity are seductions we won't face up to just by disagreeing with him.


A provocative highbrow attack at the iconic philosopher.

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In consequence, within the Marxist tradition it has often been argued that art as such is not a practice that is in its entirety subject to the dialectic but one through which the dialectic works. For Adorno, it is precisely this quality of the aesthetic that is its distinguishing quality. Using the implicitly Nietzschean opposition between (Dionysian) Greek tragedy and the (Apollonian) Greek pantheon to illustrate the point, Adorno argues that the dialectical contradictions within art are the defining characteristic of its utopian promise: ‘The unity of art history is captured by the dialectical notion of determinate negation.

This was not a portrayal that nihilists welcomed. 43 And one charge they were particularly keen to deny was the idea that they were indifferent to the arts. Turgenev’s nihilist Bazarov had dismissed Raphael, and in Krestovsky’s antinihilist novel Panurge’s Head, the nihilists argue that ‘A normally developed and free people has no art and should have none. 44 But actual nihilists like Chernyshevsky refused to accept that they were philistines who ‘reject everything . . 45 In Nietzsche, who derived his conception of nihilism from these Russian sources, the differentiation of nihilism from philistinism was taken much further.

The critics of atheism had assumed that there could be no political authority without God; the critics of anarchy argued that there could be no morality without the state; the critics of nihilism suggested that there could be no beauty without morality; and yet with each shift improbable new types appeared: the authoritarian atheist, the ethical anarchist, the aesthetic nihilist. Set within this historical context, the invisibility of the philistines seems predictable. Throughout the sequence of negations, the absent negative is defined as a subhuman inversion of the primary value in the prevailing system, and one reason that negative positions are so slow to be filled is that occupying them is sometimes dangerous, often illegal, and always profoundly socially unacceptable.

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