Nietzsche and the Post-Modern Condition – Lecture series by Professor Rick Roderick (1991)

Few intellectuals have ever aroused the passions generated by this 19th century German philosopher and literary scholar. Many-sided, powerful and ambiguous, Nietzsche is reviled as a precursor of German fascism, honored as a visionary prophet of modernism and interpreted as the harbinger of a disturbing view of human identity which gains added credibility decades after his death. Nietzsche is widely and correctly regarded as a forerunner to the various post-modern figures such as Derrida and Foucault which dissolve the self into positions within texts, power systems, and discourses. In these lectures, Professor Roderick presents Nietzsche as mythmaker, anti-moralist, artist, and philosopher of power. Arguing that Nietzsche undertook to create a self for himself out of the paradoxes of the human condition, we are invited to join Nietzsche in the search – to “dance with him” – rather than to construct strict arguments, to face the paradoxes and not escape them, in our own attempt to become a self. Roderick examines the challenge of the eternal recurrence, the strange case of Zarathustra, the attack on morality, and the death of God. Roderick also positions Nietzsche as example and warning of our post-modern situation. This trajectory leads toward a world of soft technologies, misdirected information, and chaotic economic and political systems within which we lose our sense of meaning and purpose and even “forget who or what we are.” The lectures attempt to face squarely the challenge of the present as anticipated paradigmatically by Nietzsche.


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