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Nietzsche’s cultural elitism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2020

David Rowthorn*
Affiliation:
Philosophy Department, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

Abstract

Elitist readers, such as John Rawls, see Nietzsche as concerned only with the flourishing of a few great contributors to culture; egalitarian readers, such as Stanley Cavell, see Nietzschean culture as a universal affair involving every individual’s self-cultivation. This paper offers a compromise, reading Nietzsche as a ‘cultural elitist’ for whom culture demands that a few great individuals be supported in a voluntary, rather than state-mandated way. Rawls, it claims, is therefore misguided in worrying that Nietzsche’s elitism is a threat to justice. The paper focuses on Nietzsche’s Schopenhauer as Educator, the key text in the elitist-egalitarian debate.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Canadian Journal of Philosophy 2016

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