Nietzche and the psyche

Course Dates: 29/07/23
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: Keeley Street
As one of the most psychological philosophers, Nietzsche roots his understanding of the psyche in a critique of moralistic self-deception and an invocation of the vital, organic sources of self-surpassing creation ….
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Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00

Course Code: HP194

Sat, day, 29 Jul - 29 Jul '23

Duration: 1 session

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What is the course about?

Nietzsche’s philosophical psychology. Nietzsche’s conception of the human psyche forms the basis for his ‘will-to-power‘ and the role that self-creation plays in overcoming the life-denying strictures of ‘otherworldly’ moralism.

“Nietzsche’s psychology treats the self as something that has to be achieved or constructed, rather than as something fundamentally given as part of the basic metaphysical equipment with which a person enters the world. … the project of individual self-fashioning, or self-creation, is located at the heart of Nietzsche’s philosophical agenda …” - Anderson, R. Lanier, Friedrich Nietzsche, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

How Nietzsche’s thinking on psychology anticipates that of Freud, Rank and Adler. Also, the relation between these and his distinction between the ‘Dionysian’ (passionate, cathartic) and ‘Apollonian’ (rational, evaluative) modes of human-being.

What will we cover?

Drawing on several of Nietzsche’s works, the following framework will help to build a picture of Nietzsche’s philosophical psychology.

Beyond good, evil and moral-categorical thinking. Nietzsche understands morality — the attribution of good & evil, right & wrong — as a key source of deception, since moral sentiments reinforce bias, preference, and prejudice under the claim to an objective righteousness given in the ‘tables of the law’.

Bodily being, life & Will to power. Self-deception has its roots in the negation of vital, organic life and its creative expression. Quote ‘body intelligence’

Self-creation & self-overcoming. The creation of oneself is akin to the creation of art but requires a surpassing of oneself beyond any belief in self-understanding — as one does, so one passes oneself ….

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Identify and discuss some key aspects of Nietzsche’s philosophical psychology in the following three areas:

Beyond good, evil and moral-categorical thinking.
Bodily being, life & Will to power.
Self-creation & self-overcoming.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

No prior knowledge assumed, other than an interest in Nietzsche's thought. An open mind and a willingness to listen to and think about views with which you do not always agree are more important than specific levels of skills.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Using a seminar style w. short slide presentations, Q&A and discussion. Resources for further study will be available via Google Classroom.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You may be interested in HP195, Wittgenstein and the psyche, taught by the same tutor.

John Goff Tutor Website

From reading Philosophy at a young age to the formal study of Cognitive Science, Philosophy & Psychology at the Universities of London and Sussex - after a prior career in video-arts - John Goff has been presenting philosophy courses to adults since the early 2000s. He uses a cross-disciplinary, seminar-based approach in his courses, drawing on Philosophy, Psychology and the wider Humanities & Social Sciences with an emphasis on the intersection of contemporary and classical European and Asian philosophical thought. He is the author of several works of philosophical fiction concerning artificial minds and organisms and alternative-human worlds including the novel 'The Last Days of the Most Hidden Man' and the novellas 'Eidopolis', 'Agents of Erasure', 'Jupiter|Saturn' and 'Sleep|Nothing|Asylum'. His academic writings can be found on his page at ''.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.