Nietzsche's "Last Man" Analytical Essay by Jimmy Stewart

Nietzsche's "Last Man"
An exposition of Nietzsche's ethical theory, illuminated via the Utilitarian critique.
# 52056 | 3,045 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2004 | AU

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Nietzsche's philosophy is as misunderstood as it is prestigious. This paper traces Nietzsche's steps carefully, to find where his conception of both the apocolyptic "last man" and the glorious "overman" spring from. This is accomplished through an analytic investigation of Nietzsche's reaction to Utilitarianism, touching on the ascetic ideal, transcendence, ressentiment, slave and master moralities, bad conscience and Nietzsche's "value-judgement" epistemology.

From the Paper:

"It is no secret that Nietzsche's primary goal in his philosophy was to allow for a revaluation of all values. This was not a task Nietzsche took lightly, and even a quick skim through his works reveal the depth of Nietzsche's critique of alternate moral systems, with their binary oppositions of good and evil. One such system was Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism had its strongest support within Britain, and Nietzsche's criticism came from three main perspectives. 1) That Utilitarianism was equivalent to a negation of life and as such, 2) that Utilitarianism provided a poor "instruction manual" to interpreting human history. Finally, Nietzsche amalgamates these two perspectives into 3) an argument that Utilitarianism is a subversion of mankind in general, and as such it, and theories of its type, is leading to a Dystopian state of affairs for the end of history or Nietzsche's "last man". Following from this examination of Utilitarianism, we will direct our attention to Nietzsche's more general critique of antithetical moral values. What is unusual about this critique is the constant focus Nietzsche holds for cultural relevance; Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil is subtitled "Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future". The critique of antithetical values, ascetic ideals and slave moralities is not a conceptual hill to climb; it is the very issue that will decide the future of mankind. This fascinating and innovative interpretation poses a challenge to "modern sensibility"; as Nietzsche suggests an alternative moral paradigm and attitude towards existence that must be explored. Therefore, to conclude the essay, I will discuss Nietzsche's response to Utilitarianism (and Platonic/Christian thought) in the context of Nietzsche's positive morality, "Beyond Good and Evil"."

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