Segments in this Video

Prelude: Overview of Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (03:52)


After an overview of the life and philosophies of Nietzsche, philosopher J.P. Stern discusses Nietzsche's "attack on Christianity," and his insistence that 19th-century people must stand alone, apart from God.

Nietzsche's Philosophical Premise (01:37)

What Nietzsche tried to show was that the whole edifice of Christian values and idealism was false and had to be thrown over. He attacked Christian morality, secular morality, the morality of the "herd," and traditions derived from ancient Greece.

Nietzsche's Criticism of Christian Values (01:40)

The philosopher believes that Christianity favors the underdog, the person who cannot stand on his own two feet. He appears to despise the support of the weak person from sources outside himself. He believes in life within and living to the fullest.

Nietzsche's Criticism of Secular Morality and the "Common Herd" (01:24)

Underlying Nietzsche's criticism of secular morality is the belief that all rules and laws are matters for "the common herd." Not a democratic philosopher, Nietzsche is a philosopher of the "great and noble" people.

Nietzsche's Criticism of Traditions of Ancient Greece (03:17)

Deeply critical of the tradition deriving from Socrates, Nietzsche praised the "golden age" of pre-Socratic society. His heroes were those who did not rely on reason alone to meet every challenge.

Nietzsche's Psychological Analysis of Values (01:46)

The philosopher dealt with the psychological analysis of values, both individual and social theories. J.P. Stern discusses Nietzsche as an "antecedent of Freud" because he puts great value on the unconscious.

Nietzsche: Access to Knowledge (02:29)

Nietzsche believes that knowledge is not absolute, but that a given civilization had its own particular entitlement to the kind of knowledge "that it could bear."

Nietzsche: Individual vs. Social Values (03:23)

What are Nietzsche's positive values? Essentially, his positive philosophy can be summed up as, "Be yourself." Yet, he does not satisfactorily explain how this philosophy can create a fabric suitable for societies. These ideas presage fascism.

Nietzsche's Treatment of Truth (02:40)

The supremacy of life assertions on the part of Nietzsche puts truth in subordination to life. This idea opposes thoughts of morality in all other philosophies. Nietzsche objects to notions of the strong helping the weak.

Nietzsche: Doctrine of Historical Repetition (01:52)

Nietzsche's view of history is that it repeats itself in terms of societies' abilities to make use of the best that mankind is capable of. Magee introduces the four themes of the will to power, "superman," the eternal recount of time, and his aesthetic understanding of life.

Nietzsche: The Will to Power (01:46)

Unlike Schopenhauer, Nietzsche regards the will as the source of mankind's strength.

Nietzsche: "Superman" Concept (02:47)

Often misunderstood, Nietzsche's "superman" concept does not relate to what Hitler later embraced, but rather that mankind is capable of living to its best what the will to power can secure for it.

Nietzsche: Notion of Eternal Recurrence (02:45)

Perhaps one of the most difficult of Nietzsche's concepts, the notion of eternal recurrence is often not taken seriously. J.P. Stern argues that Nietzsche's notion of recurrent epicycles is an experimental thought process of Nietzsche.

Nietzsche's Style: Use of Metaphors (02:40)

Metaphors are essential vehicles for appreciating and understanding Nietzsche's philosophies. His style, however, is actually pitched halfway between metaphor and literal statements.

Nietzsche's Philosophy of the Aesthetic Appreciation of Life (02:55)

The greatness of the pre-Socratic Greeks lay in their tragedies, their way of facing the worst aspects of human life.

Influence of Nietzsche on Writers (03:23)

Nietzsche's influence is found in W.B. Yeats's works, D.H. Lawrence, Pirandello, Andre Malroux, Thomas Mann, and Strindberg to name a few.

Nietzsche's Association With Fascism (02:35)

German Nazis seem to have appropriated Nietzsche in the same way they appropriated Wagner. These associations have effectively "contaminated" the reputations of these two geniuses.

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or


Part of the Series : Great Philosophers
DVD Price: $300.00
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $450.00
3-Year Streaming Price: $300.00



Vehement repudiation of Christian and liberal ethics; the detestation of democratic ideals; the celebration of the "superman"; the death of God; and a life-affirming "will to power" are the philosophical legacies of Friedrich Nietzsche. In this program, world-renowned author and professor Bryan Magee and Nietzsche philosopher J. P. Stern discuss these concepts as the genesis of existentialism, and as the root philosophies of fascist political movements. A BBC Production. Part of the series Great Philosophers. (46 minutes)

Length: 46 minutes

Item#: BVL7289

ISBN: 978-1-4213-8722-2

Copyright date: ©1987

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.