Nietzsche on Freedom and Autonomy

An important looking new collection of articles on a crucial topic (especially for my dissertation) called Nietzsche on Freedom and Autonomy is coming out July1.  It is co-edited by Ken Gemes and Simon May (whose book, Nietzsche’s War on Morality is one of the very best, if not the very best, books on Nietzsche’s ethics [Read More...]

Grove City Professor Throckmorton Attacks Anti-Gay Propaganda

As the school psychologist during all my undergraduate years as at Grove City College, Warren Throckmorton counseled a couple of my friends about their closeted homosexuality. (I also visited Professor Throckmorton while a junior and an Evangelical Christian for probably three elective counseling sessions but for different reasons.  I liked him a lot.)  Here’s how [Read More...]

Why Camels With Hammers?

Evangelos has asked and it’s a good question, so here’s a brief explanation: It’s a combination of two images in Nietzsche.  The camel comes from “The Three Transformations,” a section of Thus Spoke Zarathustra.  He is there describing transformations that the “spirit” must undergo.  First it must become a camel.  The camel represents austere, ascetic, [Read More...]

Freedom as a Power, Rather than as a Passive State

Today, an excellent former student pushed me on the question of whether philosophy was more important than basic survival.  I interpreted this question, at its core, to be whether freedom of thought is worth dying for.  I think this because the right to philosophize for oneself is, at its core, the fundamental freedom of thought [Read More...]

The Effects of Writing Medium on Writing Style?

I’m really not sure that this is a very accurate inference about the nature of Nietzsche’s shift in writing style from his early works into his middle phase, but it’s interesting to ponder nonetheless: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google Sometime in 1882, Friedrich Nietzsche bought a typewriter—a Malling-Hansen Writing Ball, to be precise. His vision was failing, and keeping [Read More...]

Agnosticism or Atheism?

Thomas Huxley coined the word agnostic as a play on words. He was a philosopher who was irritated about the metaphysical presumptuousness of the philosophers around him who all seemed to know the secrets of the universe as though they had some special knowledge about things no one can really know about. He compared them, [Read More...]

Lake of Fire

Whenever I cover the topic of abortion in my ethics classes, I go to great pains to stress to my students the value of a dispassionate inquiry on the subject. I discourage use of values charged, question begging language of “pro-choice” and “pro-life” and encourage more descriptive language of “pro-abortion rights” or “anti-abortion rights” as [Read More...]

Sex: The Horror and The Horrible

Teeth Sometimes people disagree about what makes for a horror film. As far as I’m concerned, the definitive feature of the genre is that it deals with frightening transgressions of nature and of morality. Mitchell Lichtenstein’s Teeth is horror that situates itself purely in terms of this defining characteristic. The horror is not in the [Read More...]

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers As Metaphor For The Excellent Nietzschean Soul

In reply to my review of Peter Bogdanovich’s film about Tom Petty Running Down a Dream , “Lizzie B” over at the Tom Petty message board points out an oversight in my review. She astutely observes: Something you didn’t touch on that really stood out to me in the film is Tom Petty’s shrewd sense [Read More...]


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