In Berkeley’s ontology the world consists of spirits and ideas, ideas are inert, caused by spirits… without spirit, nothing exists.
spirits are teh only operative ‘things’ (lack of a better word) in the ‘universe’ (lack of a better word).

in nietzsche there are only wills and interpretations/perspectives… there are no perspectives without wills (wills to power). will acts upon will and gives shape to teh world.

nietzsche is an idealist, and his idealism is dynamic. dynamic idealism.

at least this is what Danto suggests on the very last page of his book, and says nothing more about it.

how incredible is that. nietzsche tries to destroy metaphysics with its own resources.
does anybody know if Danto or this strand of thought has been floated anywhere else?

no, Nietzsche is no idealist… idealists are nihilists to him…

for Nietzsche meaning is in the making… become a maker, an artist…

Nietzsche doesn’t destroy metaphysics with its own resourses, metaphysics destroys itself because it is based upon nihilism…

read Thus Spake Zarathustra when you have some time…



I made this thread many moons ago- … p?t=139363

My comments are in bold print.

Nobody seemed to want to discuss it, so she faded away.


It is the easier route to claim that Nietzsche wasn’t an idealist. I think after reading the thread you might change your mind a bit. Sartre, as always, has a knack for taking philosophers apart, and I think that when seeing Nietzsche being compared to Sartre, you might see Nietzsche in an entirely different light.

nice article, thanks for bringing it to my attention…

a few thoughts:

  1. yes, both make a break away from metaphysics… but that is where the similarity ends. sartre becomes pessimistic, disparing, melancholy… turns against the absurdity of existence… Nietzsche rejoices and revels in it… this underlying nihilism gives Nietzsche the ultimate canvas upon which to paint his existence…

  2. sartre despised other people… zarathustra’s final sin? pity

sartre couldn’t overcome himself or his leaden existence… (no, I don’t have much use for sartre…) Nietzsche overcame himself at each moment… Dionysian essence at it finest…

  1. there is another major distinction, eg politics… sartre was a stalinist… sartre wanted to totally control the herd in a totalitarian socialist society… Nietzsche’s politics are not so obvious… while he preaches a machivellian ethos for leaders of the herd, he also makes it clear that being a leader is not the way to becoming the next zarathustra…

  2. and back to an initial point, Nietzsche wasn’t an athiest… he was an anti christian, but he understood the psychological need for most of the herd to have a god… Nietzsche spoke at length about a new european buddhism

from WTP:

132 (1885)

Good Europeans that we are–what distinguishes us above the men of fatherlands?-First, we are atheists and immoralists, but for the present we support the religions and moralities of the herd instinct: for these prepare a type of man that must one day fall into our hands, that must desire our hands.

Beyond good and evil–but we demand that herd morality should be held sacred unconditionally.

We hold in reserve many types of philosophy which need to be taught: possibly, the pessimistic type, as a hammer; a European Buddhism might perhaps be indispensable.

We probably support the development and maturing of democratic institutions: they enhance weakness of the will: in socialism we see a thorn that protects against comfortableness.

Position toward peoples. Our preferences; we pay attention to the results of interbreeding.

Apart, wealthy, strong: irony at the expense of the “press” and its culture. Worry lest scholars become journalistic. We feel contemptuous of every kind of culture that is compatible with reading, not to speak of writing for, newspapers.

We take our accidental positions (like Goethe, Stendhal), our experiences, as foreground and stress them to deceive about our depths. We ourselves are waiting and beware of staking our hearts on them. They serve us as hostels for a night, which a wanderer needs and accepts–we beware of settling down.

We are ahead of our fellow men in possessing a disciplina voluntaris. All strength applied to development of strength of the will, an art that permits us to wear masks, an art of understanding beyond the affects (also to think in a “supra-European” way, at times).

Preparation for becoming the legislators of the future, the masters of the earth, at least our children. Basic concern with marriages.

144 (1885)

Moralities and religions are the principal means by which one can make whatever one wishes out of man, provided one possesses a superfluity of creative forces and can assert one’s will over long periods of time–in the form of legislation, religions, and customs.

151 (1885-1886)

Religions are destroyed by belief in morality. The Christian moral God is not tenable: hence “atheism”–as if there could be no other kinds of god.

Similarly, culture is destroyed by belief in morality. For when one discovers the necessary conditions out of which alone it can grow, one no longer wants it (Buddhism).

339 (Nov. 1887-March 1888)

The very obscure and arbitrary idea that mankind has a single task to perform, that it is moving as a whole towards some goal, is still very young. Perhaps we shall be rid of it again before it becomes a “fixed idea”–

This mankind is not a whole: it is an inextricable multiplicity of ascending and descending life-processes–it does not have a youth followed by maturity and finally by old age; the strata are twisted and entwined together–and in a few millennia there may still be even younger types of man than we can show today. Decadence, on the other hand, belongs to all epochs of mankind: refuse and decaying matter are found everywhere; it is one of life’s processes to exclude the forms of decline and decay.

When Christian prejudice was a power, this question did not exist: meaning lay in the salvation of the individual soul; whether mankind could endure for a long or a short time did not come into consideration. The best Christians desired that it should end as soon as possible–concerning that which was needful to the individual there was no doubt–

The task of every present individual was the same as for a future individual in any kind of future: value, meaning, domain of values were fixed, unconditional, eternal, one with God-- That which deviated from this eternal type was sinful, devilish, condemned–

For each soul, the gravitational center of valuation was placed within itself: salvation or damnation! The salvation of the immortal soul! Extremest form of personalization-- For every soul there was only one perfecting; only one ideal; only one way to redemption-- Extremest form of equality of rights, tied to an optical magnification of one’s own importance to the point of insanity-- Nothing but insanely important souls, revolving about themselves with a frightful fear–

No man believes now in this absurd self-inflation: and we have sifted our wisdom through a sieve of contempt. Nevertheless, the optical habit of seeking the value of man in his approach to an ideal man remains undisturbed: fundamentally, one upholds the perspective of personalization as well as equality of rights before the ideal. In summa: one believes one knows what the ultimate desideratum is with regard to the ideal man–

This belief, however, is only the consequence of a dreadful deterioration through the Christian ideal: as one at once discovers with every careful examination of the “ideal type.” One believes one knows, first that an approach to one type is desirable; secondly, that one knows what this type is like; thirdly, that every deviation from this type is a regression, an inhibition, a loss of force and power in man–

To dream of conditions in which this perfect man will be in the vast majority: even our socialists, even the Utilitarians have not gone farther than this.–

In this way a goal seems to have entered the development of mankind: at any rate, the belief in progress towards the ideal is the only form in which a goal in history is thought of today. In summa: one has transferred the arrival of the “kingdom of God” into the future, on earth, in human form–but fundamentally one has held fast to the belief in the old ideal–

384 (1885-1886)

Overcoming of the affects?-- No, if what is implied is their weakening and extirpation. But putting them into service: which may also mean subjecting them to a protracted tyranny (not only as an individual, but as a community, race, etc.). At last they are confidently granted freedom again: they love us as good servants and go voluntarily wherever our best interests lie.

385 (Spring-Fall 1887)

Moral intolerance is an expression of weakness in a man: he is afraid of his own “immorality,” he must deny his strongest drives because he does not yet know how to employ them. Thus the most fruitful regions of the earth remain uncultivated the longest:-- the force is lacking that could here become master–

410 (1885-1886)
For the Preface

Deeply mistrustful of the dogmas of epistemology, I loved to look now out of this window, now out of that; I guarded against settling down with any of these dogmas, considered them harmful–and finally: is it likely that a tool is able to criticize its own fitness?-- What I noticed was rather that no epistemological skepticism or dogmatism had ever arisen free from ulterior motives–that it acquires a value of the second rank as soon as one has considered what it was that compelled the adoption of this point of view.

Fundamental insight: Kant as well as Hegel and Schopenhauer–the skeptical-epochistic attitude as will as the historicizing, as well as the pessimistic–have a moral origin. I saw no one who had ventured a critique of moral value feelings: and I soon turned my back one the meager attempts made to arrive at a description of the origin of these feelings (as by the English and German Darwinists).

How can Spinoza’s position, his denial and rejection of moral value judgments, be explained? (It was one consequence of his theodicy!)

423 (March-June 1888)

Theory and practice.-- Fateful distinction, as if there were an actual drive for knowledge that, without regard to questions of usefulness and harm, went blindly for the truth; and then, separate from this, the whole world of practical interests–

I tried to show, on the other hand, what instincts have been active behind all these pure theoreticians–how they have all, under the spell of their instincts, gone fatalistically for something that was “truth” for them–for them and only for them. The conflict between different systems, including that between epistemological scruples, is a conflict between quite definite instincts (forms of vitality, decline, classes, races, etc.).

The so-called drive for knowledge can be traced back to a drive to appropriate and conquer: the senses, the memory, the instincts, etc. have developed as a consequence of this drive. The quickest possible reduction of the phenomena, economy, the accumulation of the spoils of knowledge (i.e., of world appropriated and made manageable)–

Morality is such a curious science because it is in the highest degree practical: so that the position of pure knowledge, scientific integrity, is at once abandoned as soon as the claims of morality must be answered. Morality says: I need many answers–reasons, arguments; scruples can come afterward, or not at all–.

“How should one act?”-- If one considers that one is dealing with a sovereignly developed type that has “acted” for countless millennia, and in which everything has become instinct, expediency, automatism, fatality, then the urgency of this moral question must actually seem ridiculous.

“How should one act?”-- Morality has always been a misunderstanding: in reality, a species fated to act in this or that fashion wanted to justify itself, by dictating its norm as the universal norm–

“How should one act?” is not a cause but an effect. Morality follows, the ideal comes at the end.

–On the other hand, the appearance of moral scruples (in other words: the becoming-conscious of the values by which one acts) betrays a certain sickliness; strong ages and peoples do not reflect on their rights, on the principles on which they act, on their instincts and reasons. Becoming-conscious is a sign that real morality, i.e., instinctive certainty in actions, is going to the devil-- Every time a new world of consciousness is created, the moralists are a sign of damage, impoverishment, disorganization.-- The deeply instinctive are shy of logicizing duties: among them are found Pyrrhic opponents of dialectics and of knowability in general-- A virtue is refuted with a “for”–

Thesis: the appearance of moralists belongs to an age in which morality is coming to an end.

Thesis: the moralist disintegrates the moral instincts, however much he may suppose himself to be their restorer.

Thesis: that which really drives the moralist is not the moral instincts but the instincts of decadence translated into the formulas of morality-- (he regards it as corruption when the instincts become uncertain).

Thesis: the instincts of decadence, which, through the moralists, want to become master over the instinctive morality of strong races and ages, are

  1. the instincts of the weak and underprivileged;
  2. the instincts of the exceptions, the solitaries, the abandoned, of the abortus [Abortion.] in what is lofty and what is petty.
  3. the instincts of those habituated to suffering, who need a noble interpretation of their condition and therefore must know as little as possible about physiology. … _to_power/

the need for a god is there… which god, what purpose, who writes the morality… those can be answered by those in power… (who wrote and “interpreted” the bible one cherishes?) …

sartre enslaves the herd with his political system…

Nietzsche’s trump card is the fact that in the end, Zarathustra leaves the herd completely…


Alright, thanks for picking up the gauntlet, Imp.

Unfortunately it has stopped raining so I’ve got to go to work now. I will read your post and talk with you later.

there are more ways to be metaphysical than just in a two-worlds type way. i’d be interested to hear how you think he doesn’t dabble in metaphysics. on the surface at least, the doctrine of eternal return, will to power (ie ‘the world is will to power and nothing besides!’ WP1067), and some other stuff strike me as metaphysical. i’ve read thus spoke, but it was awhile ago.
and i see the connection danto makes between berkelian spirit and will, and ideas and perspectives …its clear as day in fact, and tremendously interesting.

Imp and Monooq:

To call a course of events a ‘willed’ feature of the world is to presuppose an entity that is distinct from the world itself and sits at a distance conducting it all. Yes, Monooq, I think it is essentially an idealistic notion. I see no reason to call an apple falling from a tree, or a King advancing his army, a necessary event in the sense that they are results of a purposeful dynamic driving the events from the outside or from within.

It is a romantic metaphysic that has mistaken ‘is-ness’ for ‘should-ness,’ and which has posited a prime mover behind the contingent events in the physical universe.

Imp, I notice Sartre’s rather mocking dispostion as well. I, personally, don’t go so far as to resent who I would otherwise simply laugh at. Yes, I think the world in general is full of pathetic heathing masses commonly refered to as ‘human beings.’ But I don’t hate them, I just disregard them.

“Yes, I think the world in general is full of pathetic heathing masses commonly refered to as ‘human beings.’ But I don’t hate them, I just disregard them.”

I’m very interested in this statement, could you explain in detail what make them pathetic?

Yes, PR, I think I could. I even think an entire thread should be devoted to discussing the ‘virtuous’ person. Hell, gimme a few days and I might write an essay about the ‘virtous’ person According to De’trop.

That’s a damn good idea. Thanks for mentioning it.

I’m counting on you DT.

Make it happen. I shall be the first to comment.

What the hell does ‘heathing’ mean, anyway?

Did I say that?

Okay, I meant to say heaving.

Here, hit this…[cough]…

Don’t get me wrong DT, I don’t decorate my face. When I said what I said, I meant what I said. Bye the way, being all curled and twisted up is probably one of the most disgusting features of modern people.

curled and twisted…

Nietzsche: Twilight 31

“When stepped on, a worm doubles up. That is clever. In that way he lessens the probability of being stepped on again. In the language of morality: humility. —”


well, maybe iwas a bit harsh… i no exception do feel humilited from time to time.