Saturday, December 4, 2010

Nietzsche's Obituary in the New York Times, August 26, 1900

Could they have gotten more things wrong in so little space?


Bryan said...


I count:

1) Apostle of extreme modern rationalism
2) Socialistic!
3) Revolutionary
4) Surpassed the wildest dreams of contemporary free thought. (I'm not even sure what this means.)
4) Commanded even the admiration of his most pronounced enemies...
5) ...of which he had many.
6) Oriental languages
7) Wrote The Old Faith and the New!
8) Wrote The Overman

Am I missing anything? These seem to be the outright falsehoods. The rest seems debatable/controversial or largely a matter of bad wording.

j3sus lovesc0ck said...

i'm highly amused that socialistic was on that list!

geeez… I wonder what Wagner would have contributed to the obit?

ClaytonBurns said...

A Stone has fallen silent (what a ludicrous name for a "philosophy" blog). Simon has said some things. His mind wanders:

"Now, at year’s end, after more than 50 posts and more than 15,000 reader comments — many of which possessed a rigor, engagement and depth of thought worthy of any philosopher — it’s time to call a halt to all the stone throwing, at least for a little while. After today, The Stone will go on hiatus. We hope to return in the not-too-distant future."

If it is not certain, there is some hope (if that is not ambiguous). I would rather have the Fishmonger even than Simon. Well, Brian can apply to take over the platform. The philosopher takes on "True Grit."

Brian Leiter said...

I think the Stone should be permanently retired, but I guess we'll see.

ClaytonBurns said...

An interesting test of the Foot legacy might be to assess the work of Linda Palmer on rats and Kant's "Critique of Judgement." (I like the Oxford World's Classics text of Kant's third critique, edited by Nicholas Walker).

It seems to me that some of the refinements in Trolley experiments (including Hauser's recent twist with anti-depressants) are becoming increasingly factitious.

Terry McDermott's "101 Theory Drive" contains some material on Palmer. I do not see anything at all in her rat and Kant work that would shed light on philosophy, but I would be open to persuasion.

Anonymous said...

* His mother almost outlived him.

The reference to his friendship with Wagner is obnoxious without also referring to their subsequent falling out. N hated Wagner due to the latter's antisemitism and it must have been pure torture to have spent a decade in the care of his sister, an ardent anti-semite.

I bet Forster-Nietzsche wrote the original obit and it was just translated by the NYT. She would have had an interest in making a permanent reference to the former friendship of N and Wagner. She connived with Cosima Wagner from early days to bastardize her brother's works and tie them in with Wagnerian opera to create a civil religion bound by a common hatred of Jews.

Anonymous said...

Should've put this in the other comment but I think if the NYT had done an original obit (as opposed to Elizabeth having wrote it), it would've been easy to know that his mother died late in his life. The Wagner reference would also have been different, if the friendship had been mentioned at all the subsequent public acrimony between the two men would've been even more interesting.

R. Kevin Hill said...

I think "rationalism" is an interpretation problem on our part, not an error on their part. Outside of philosophy, I believe this expression has often been used as a near synonym for "atheism" though I think this is rather uncommon now. I.e., "there is knowledge, but you cannot acquire it through revelation but rather through the application of our more hum-drum cognitive faculties-ism."