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Nietzsche’s Kind of Philosophy

Finding His Way

A holistic reading of Nietzsche’s distinctive thought beyond the “death of God.”

In Nietzsche’s Kind of Philosophy, Richard Schacht provides a holistic interpretation of Friedrich Nietzsche’s distinctive thinking, developed over decades of engagement with the philosopher’s work. For Schacht, Nietzsche’s overarching project is to envision a “philosophy of the future” attuned to new challenges facing Western humanity after the “death of God,” when monotheism no longer anchors our understanding of ourselves and our world. Schacht traces the developmental arc of Nietzsche’s philosophical efforts across Human, All Too HumanDaybreakJoyful Knowing (The Gay Science), Thus Spoke ZarathustraBeyond Good and Evil, and On the Genealogy of Morality. He then shows how familiar labels for Nietzsche—nihilist, existentialist, individualist, free spirit, and naturalist—prove insufficient individually but fruitful if refined and taken together. The result is an expansive account of Nietzsche’s kind of philosophy.

400 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2023

History: History of Ideas

Philosophy: Ethics, General Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Society


"Schacht provides a 'large-scale reconsideration' of Nietzsche’s work that emphasizes the need to examine the philosopher’s assertions in the context of his entire corpus to understand the ways in which his thinking evolved. Doing so, the author contends, reveals that Nietzsche’s reputation as a nihilist is overblown . . . [and that] Nietzsche wasn’t an individualist . . . Scholars will find this an evenhanded . . . take on Nietzsche."

Publishers Weekly

“Nietzsche is notoriously hard to situate on the philosophical map, given his stylistic variety and nonsystematic aspirations. Schacht argues that various labels commonly applied to the German philosopher are only apt to a point. Examining a range of Nietzsche’s writings, Schacht shows how each work contributes to the philosopher’s broad project of interpreting human beings as natural creatures capable of developing more than ‘merely natural’ capacities. This accessible but interpretively rich book will help general readers find their way when reading Nietzsche while also engaging the interest of scholars.”

Kathleen Higgins, University of Texas at Austin

“Schacht’s latest book is one of a kind. With unparalleled insight, he offers a comprehensive, sharp-sighted, and scrupulously honest rendering of Nietzsche’s main concerns, but above all an illuminating investigation into the primary, determining questions: What exactly is the purpose of philosophy, according to Nietzsche? How did he radically transform the discipline? And why did he have to? A priceless book which provides a lucid understanding of Nietzsche’s specific stance and logic.”

Patrick Wotling, University of Reims

Table of Contents

Reference Key
1 Toward Understanding Nietzsche
Part I Nietzsche Becoming Nietzsche
2 The Nietzsche of Human, All Too Human
Addendum: The Nietzsche of Daybreak
3 The Nietzsche of Joyful Inquiry I–IV
4 The Nietzsche of Thus Spoke Zarathustra
5 The Nietzsche of Beyond Good and Evil
Addendum: The Nietzsche of Joyful Inquiry V
6 The Nietzsche of On the Genealogy of Morality
Addendum: The Nietzsche of 1888
Part II Nietzsche Becoming—What?
7 Nietzsche as Nihilist?
8 Nietzsche as Existentialist?
9 Nietzsche as Individualist?
10 Nietzsche as “Free Spirit”?
11 Nietzsche as Naturalist?
Backstory and Acknowledgments
Bibliography of Related Nietzsche Studies

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