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7 - The Self versus Society

Nietzsche’s Advocacy of Egoism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2014

Julian Young
Affiliation:
Wake Forest University, North Carolina
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Summary

Nietzsche's sustained advocacy of an egoism involves both a rejection of what is usually taken to be its opposite, namely, selflessness or altruism, and a direct defense of both the positive value and inevitability of egoistic behavior. This chapter focuses on Nietzsche's rejection of moral behavior, in the sense of selfless or altruistic action. It might be tempting to make Nietzsche's vigorous advocacy of egoism, both as a motivational theory and as a human ideal, more palatable by reading it as the advocacy of a 'benevolent egoism'. Nietzsche's repeated remarks about the beneficial consequences of egoistically motivated actions are simply meant to disarm some of the major objections, and thus remove some of the impediments, to an egoism pursued consciously and with good conscience. Given his elitist criterion of human development, the broad social consequences of actions are irrelevant to their value to a society or to all humankind.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2014

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  • The Self versus Society
  • Edited by Julian Young, Wake Forest University, North Carolina
  • Book: Individual and Community in Nietzsche's Philosophy
  • Online publication: 05 September 2014
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107279254.008
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  • The Self versus Society
  • Edited by Julian Young, Wake Forest University, North Carolina
  • Book: Individual and Community in Nietzsche's Philosophy
  • Online publication: 05 September 2014
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107279254.008
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • The Self versus Society
  • Edited by Julian Young, Wake Forest University, North Carolina
  • Book: Individual and Community in Nietzsche's Philosophy
  • Online publication: 05 September 2014
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107279254.008
Available formats
×