Date of Award

8-12-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Jessica Berry

Second Advisor

Gregory Moore

Third Advisor

Sebastian Rand

Abstract

A small subsection of the literature on Nietzsche’s political philosophy focuses on a key passage that appears in the sixth section of “Schopenhauer as Educator.” In this passage, Nietzsche claims that the individual’s life attains its highest value by living for the benefit of humanity’s rarest and most valuable specimens. Some philosophers, like John Rawls and Thomas Hurka, take this passage to be sufficient evidence of a larger commitment on Nietzsche’s part to aristocracy. Others oppose Rawls’ and Hurka’s interpretations, claiming that this key passage is evidence of a commitment to democracy. However, both sides are incorrect. This particular section of “Schopenhauer as Educator” is actually evidence of Nietzsche’s commitment to divorcing cultural institutions from the influence of states in toto. I explain why Nietzsche is committed neither to aristocracy nor to democracy, and how the passage from “Schopenhauer as Educator” commits Nietzsche to a post-political position.

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