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Nietzsche and the Nihilism of Our Times

John Ridpath

Presented at: OCON 2003

Date: Jul 05, 2003

Zarathustra, the hero of Nietzsche’s epic poem, is the shepherd who climbs to the top of the highest mountain, sees the greatest distance (into the future) and then returns to report that he has seen beyond the looming nihilistic future. Nietzsche called Zarathustra his “victor over God and nothingness,” which has supported the view that Nietzsche is not a nihilist and therefore not a source of the nihilism now engulfing contemporary culture.

Is this true? Or is the opposite true: that Nietzsche is, in fact, a major source of nihilism? In these two lectures Dr. Ridpath will address this question. He will consider the nature of nihilism and its underlying assumptions, as well as the necessary repercussions of holding such a doctrine. He will show, using Nietzsche’s biography and writings, that Nietzsche is one founder of today’s nihilism, and that it is Ayn Rand, not Nietzsche, who is the true victor over nihilism.


Parts: 2

Handout: none


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