The Early Development of Nietzsche's Philosophy and Psychology

Dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1993)

This project contributes some needed detail on Nietzsche's earliest psychological thought. I argue that Nietzsche's method cannot easily be separated from his biography and that a considerable part of his mature psychological thought deals with processes first mentioned by him in his childhood and juvenile periods. Chapter one explores Nietzsche's psychological methods and his early biography, identifying their connection in an important moment of The Birth of Tragedy . ;Chapter two attempts an original description of the core developmental process of transformation in the psyche as found in juvenile, middle and late writings from Nietzsche. This process is then studied in more detail as it appears in Nietzsche's descriptions of "the great liberation" and "the dionysian dramatist" . ;Chapter three explores the metaphilosophy found in the unpublished notebooks from 1872-1875. Nietzsche distinguishes philosophical from artistic or scientific striving by its being a "legislation of greatness," and I propose to read Human, All Too Human as bearing a distinct philosophical "legislation of greatness" intended as independent of and to be set over both art and science. ;Chapter four studies the free spirit of 1878 in connection to the core process and to Nietzsche's autobiography of 1888. The philosopher is one kind of free spirit, and the philosophical evaluations--the legislations of value in Human, All Too Human--are explored and systematically related to one another to reveal the separate but equally significant scientific and artistic sides of Nietzsche's overall philosophical project in this book. ;Chapter five isolates the scientific side of Nietzsche's project in Human, All Too Human. I argue that he psychologizes historically, treating each act of the Other as manifesting a form of the will to power, meaning that it is constituted as a relation between contending forces or impulses, in particular between older and newer impulses. ;This project is an original interpretation of Nietzsche as psychologist, which attempts to understand him on his own terms, and as more than merely a proto-Freudian. His early works are essential to understanding the development of Nietzsche's psychological doctrines and they are an overlooked source of numerous and provocative re-readings of his later works
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