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Friedrich Nietzsche

WithJoyce Appleby, Elizabeth Covington, David Hoyt, Michael Latham, Allison Sneider

If Marx argued for a conception of society as a social totality in which historically constructed social relations shaped consciousness, Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philologist and philosopher, stood in diametrical opposition to him. Nietzsche criticized such notions of totality and the scientific pretensions that supported them. For Nietzsche, there was no value in ideas of totality. The obsession with Truth based on stable meaning was a function of the displacement of traditional Christian virtue by the more recent substitutes offered by science, all of which was attributable to the general cultural mediocrity accompanying the rise of mass industrial society. Nietzsche would have nothing to do with the totality of this society.