This month we are celebrating the birthday of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, and as part of this some of our authors and Editorial Advisory Board members will be posting short articles on their debt to Nietzsche, and on his relevance to contemporary debates. This post marks the first contribution of one of our authors, with Raymond Angelo Belliotti, author of Nietzsche’s Will to Power: Eagles, Lions, and Serpents taking the stage. Raymond’s book is one of five available for half price as part of our October celebrations of Nietzsche’s birthday – to see the full list, please click here. Continue reading
Robert Letellier, author and editor of numerous books with Cambridge Scholars, has been interviewed by the online magazine Forumopera (in French).
To read the interview, please click here, and Robert has very kindly provided an English translation of his responses, which can be read in full below. His latest book with Cambridge Scholars, Meyerbeer’s Le Prophète: A Parable of Politics, Faith and Transcendence, is out now. To purchase a copy please click here. Continue reading
The second in our series of short articles marking Nietzsche’s birthday comes from the pen of Yunus Tuncel, co-editor of the Nietzsche Now series and editor of Nietzsche and Transhumanism: Precursor or Enemy? Yunus co-founded the Nietzsche Circle, based in New York City, USA, and currently serves on its Board of Directors and the Editorial Board of its electronic journal, The Agonist. He has been teaching Philosophy at the New School, New York, since 1999, as well as New York University’s Liberal Studies Program since 2001. His interests include, beyond Nietzsche and the history of philosophy, twentieth-century French thought and recent artistic, philosophical, and cultural movements, including postmodernity and post-humanism. Here, he reflects on what Nietzsche can teach us about the cultural and technological milieu within which we all live…
Since Nietzsche died in 1900, much has been said and done in his name, sometimes close to his spirit, sometimes not. Many say it is all about interpretation and many readers thus plundered Nietzsche’s texts for their own personal or ideological agendas without careful attention to their and the author’s spirit. All of this notwithstanding, Nietzsche’s significance to today’s world and its problems remains alive, and Nietzsche still provokes many careful readers to think. What follows below is a reflection on areas of human society where Nietzsche’s relevance stands out.
One topic that stands out in Nietzsche’s works is the necessity for arts and creativity in a culture and artists or creators who produce works that become exemplary models in the chain of creation. For Nietzsche, art is not to be understood in the limited sense of creation of works of art, but rather broadly as it encompasses all creative deed. Art, then, ties into the formation and care of the self and, therefore, to education. In our age when ideologies and belief systems, which treat human-beings as cattle, reign supreme, Nietzsche’s teaching of the overhuman and “Dionysian individualism” becomes especially important. The overhuman emphasizes perpetual self-transformation towards one’s higher self, while the latter highlights connected individualism. Individual struggle need not be construed as egoistic or anti-communitarian. No doubt, all individual struggles are related to education, understood in the broad sense, as cultural formation. Nietzsche’s ideas on this topic shed much light on the current crisis of our academic institutions and our stagnant way of viewing education.
Much of the creative process entails preservation, destruction, and creation. Nietzsche looks at this process from different perspectives, as he understands the power of plasticity, the role of history and historicizing trends, and in terms of types and states of being, by using the symbols of camel, lion, and child. He reminds us that we stand in relation to the chain of great works of culture and yet we need not be crushed by this chain, but rather be inspired, and based on our own needs and inclinations, create greater works. In this way, we would be in tune with these cycles of creation and destruction, which he later understands conjointly as the eternal return of the same. Time moves cyclically, but history so far is construed linearly.
Another theme that speaks across all generations from Nietzsche’s writings has to do with his insights on affect and power. Here the crucial question is whether human beings, individually and collectively, exercise active or reactive forms of power and disseminate active or reactive affects. By ‘active’ Nietzsche means ‘life-affirming’ and by reactive ‘life-negating’ or repressive. All things exert power, but human-beings exert power through their values, hence the will to power. To understand the kinds of power we exercise and their affects, we have to question our values and transvaluate them. This is easier said than done; often those who are reactive resort to all sorts of measures to retain their power; hence, the connection between reactivity and nihilism which is anchored in the “anything goes” mentality. Our age is entrenched in such reactive and nihilistic trends.
We live in a highly technological age and many of today’s problems stem from our use of and disposition to technology. We often forget that technology is a human invention, which is based on a specific type of metaphysics, and which stands in relation to many other values created by human beings. For instance, if technology is destructive of nature and other life forms, it is because human beings, according to this metaphysics and value-system, consider other beings and nature as less worthy and hence subject to the reactive power of humanity. What needs to be done is to infuse active forms of power into technology, without either embracing it blindly or demonizing it. Although Nietzsche, who lived during the height of Industrial Revolution, has little to say on technology directly, much of what he says on modern science and scientific rationality can be applied to a critique of technology of our age. This subject has been at the center of recent debates on Nietzsche and transhumanism.
Nietzsche’s ideas on psychological introspection, human emotions, the unconscious, and the self have also influenced psychoanalysis and opened new vistas for the understanding of the human soul. This new soul is no longer a unitarian entity connected to the after-life; it is rather a this-worldly soul embedded in the sensations, feelings and instincts of human beings, as they emerge in the interactions of human beings with their environment. It is through such psychological introspection that we can understand ourselves and work on our problems, which demands the painful dissection of the human soul.
Lastly, Nietzsche’s views on the body, and in particular his critique of the repression of the human body, expose millennia old superstitions and beliefs. The body has been an unknown, unchartered territory which we have taken for granted for too long. Nietzsche is one of the first thinkers to break down this taboo and reveal the many manifestations of this denial of the body, which he calls “ascetic idealism.” Although religions have codified it, ascetic idealism or bad conscience has been the illness of human civilization, the beginning of which is older than the major world religions known to us today. Nietzsche’s insights on the human body opened up new horizons for a variety of “body workers” from performance artists to modern dancers and this somatic field still remains an open sea.
Many of Nietzsche’s ideas and insights that are critical of his age, 19th century Europe, have much resonance with what goes on in our age. However, this does not warrant us to follow his teachings verbatim, but rather incites us to re-fashion them in order to meet the cultural needs of our times and elevate ourselves to higher realms of being. If not, mass rule and populistic demands will dictate their terms and bring down humanity. It is high time for free spirits to take the rein.
Yunus Tuncel, New School, New York
As part of our celebrations of Friedrich Nietzsche’s birthday, we are offering a 50% discount on five of our most important recent titles on the enigmatic thinker. Please click here to see more.
Cambridge Scholars Publishing is delighted to announce the publication of PaintingDigitalPhotography: Synthesis and Difference in the Age of Media Equivalence. Born out of the PaintingDigitalPhotography conference, held at QUAD Derby, UK, in May 2017, the collection investigates aspects of interconnectivity between painting, digital and photography in contemporary art practices. It contributes to critical discourses around networks of associations by examining where syntheses occur, and differences remain, between these mediums at the beginning of the twenty first century.
On Wednesday 26th of September a book launch was held at the University of Derby by Carl Robinson, editor of the collection and Head of Fine Art at the University of Derby. Carl’s ongoing PhD research follows the theme of the book, combining paint and digital photography into single pieces, with the broader aim of rethinking the borders and boundaries of painting in our digital age. Below are some photos from the book launch, and the book itself can be purchased directly from Cambridge Scholars by clicking here. Please use the discount code PDP20 to receive a 20% discount off the book. For more information about Carl, go to his website here.
This month we are celebrating the birthday of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, and as part of this some of our authors and Editorial Advisory Board members will be posting short articles on their debt to Nietzsche, and on his relevance to contemporary debates. Starting off our month of celebrations is Dr Andrea Gatti. Andrea teaches Aesthetics at the University of Ferrara, Italy, having graduated in Philosophy from the University of Bologna, Italy. He took his PhD in the history of modern and contemporary art at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and his research activities are principally oriented in the domain of eighteenth century philosophy and aesthetics. Here, he reflects on his difficult early relationship with Nietzsche, and explains how he came to acknowledge his greatness as a thinker. You can read more about Andrea here. Continue reading
On the 15th of October, join Cambridge Scholars in marking the birthday of one of the most important philosophers ever to have lived – Friedrich Nietzsche. Born on this day in 1844 in the small town of Röcken in Germany, Nietzsche went on to become one of the towering figures of European philosophy towards the end of the nineteenth century. His concepts of slave morality, the will to power, and the Übermensch remain enormously influential in a number of academic disciplines, and his shadow continues to loom large in a number of debates within analytic and continental philosophy.
At Cambridge Scholars we are proud to be at the forefront of new, innovative interpretations of Nietzsche’s oeuvre. Not only do we publish the acclaimed Nietzsche Now series, but over the last twelve months we have published a number of books that have broken new ground in the study of his thinking and its contemporary relevance. We are therefore offering a 50% discount on five of these titles in October. Not only this, throughout the month our authors and Editorial Advisory Board members will be posting short articles on Nietzsche on our blog, the first of which can be read here. We were also delighted to sponsor the 24th International Conference of the Friedrich Nietzsche Society at Newcastle University last month, which you can read more about by clicking here.
To redeem your discount, please enter the promotional code NIETZSCHE18 during checkout. Please note that this is a time-limited offer that will expire on 1st November 2018.
Friedrich Nietzsche and European Nihilism is a thorough study of Nietzsche’s thoughts on nihilism, the history of the concept, the different ways in which he tries to explain his ideas on nihilism, the way these ideas were received in the 20th century, and, ultimately, what these ideas should mean to us. It begins with an exploration of how we can understand the strange situation that Nietzsche, about 130 years ago, predicted that nihilism would break through one or two centuries from then, and why, despite the philosopher describing it as the greatest catastrophe that could befall humankind, we hardly seem to be aware of it, let alone be frightened by it. The book shows that most of us are still living within the old frameworks of faith, and, therefore, can hardly imagine what it would mean if the idea of God (as the summit and summary of all our epistemic, moral, and esthetic beliefs) would become unbelievable.
Nietzsche and Phenomenology brings together original essays on a wide variety of topics in the broad area of ‘Nietzsche and Phenomenology’. Some of these papers take a thematic approach, thinking through key issues that connect or divide Nietzsche and phenomenology, while others approach the conjunction of the title via an encounter between Nietzsche and one of the central figures of the phenomenological tradition or other relevant philosophers. In either case, new and often surpising connections are uncovered in many of these essays, while others bring out the profound differences and discontinuities between aspects of Nietzsche’s project and the projects of phenomenologists. Through both of these general tendencies, significant new insights are won that broaden our understanding both of the work of Nietzsche and of twentieth-century phenomenology.
Nietzsche and Transhumanism: Precursor or Enemy? deals with the question of whether Nietzsche can be seen as a precursor of transhumanism or not. Debates on the topic have existed for some years, particularly in the Journal of Evolution and Technology and The Agonist. This book combines existing papers, from these journals, with new material, to highlight some of the important issues surrounding this argument. The collection addresses a variety of issues to show whether or not there is a close connection between transhumanist concerns for progress and technology and Nietzsche’s ideas.
Nietzsche’s Will to Power: Eagles, Lions, and Serpents represents a contribution to Nietzschean scholarship in its analysis of the concept of power as preliminary to addressing Nietzsche’s psychological version of will to power. It advances a fresh interpretation of will to power that connects it to the meaning of human life, and, in so doing, the author addresses major questions such as: What does will to power designate? What is its status, epistemologically and metaphysically? How persuasive is will to power as an explanation of human instincts and as the lynchpin of a way of life? As all human beings embody will to power, the book concludes that we should distinguish three varieties: robust, moderate, and attenuated will to power. Only by doing this, can we understand and evaluate will to power concretely.
In an age of ecological decay, Western ontological and epistemological assumptions have to be revisited. The Places of God in an Age of Re-Embodiments: What is Culture? offers such a revision. It opens with a critical analysis of the paradigm of sustainable development and problematically situates it within the ecocidal trajectory of Western metaphysics. In search of some tools for examining the ecological conundrum, the book develops a pool of new categories of knowledge called “transpositions”. Though of cross-disciplinary nature, this work must be situated within the tradition of the post-Kantian critique of reason. To develop its own framework of analysis, it relies heavily upon Nietzsche’s oeuvre and that of part of his entourage. Major inputs also come from the work of the ecophilosopher of science Patrick Curry and ecofeminism at large.
Our October Book of the Month is Reflections on Contemporary Values, Beliefs and Behaviours: The Adventures of an Enquiring Mind by Prasanna Gautam.
In a previous life, Prasanna Gautam was a distinguished physician and teacher of medicine at the University Group of Hospitals in Aberdeen, Scotland. Now he is pursuing his lifelong interests in Aryan history, ancient Sanskrit, and philosophy, and in March of this year published Reflections on Contemporary Values, Beliefs and Behaviours: The Adventures of an Enquiring Mind with Cambridge Scholars, an extraordinary journey through the deepest and most subtle philosophical crypts. Gautam has also translated the Rig Veda into English, and has written, edited, and translated widely across Nepali, Hindi, Sanskrit, and English.
Although embedded firmly within philosophical traditions, the book is akin to the great musings of Seneca or Marcus Aurelius, one that takes us by the hand and guides us gently through topics such as superstition, religion, sexuality, and happiness. It invites us to consider how we can live better lives, not by telling us what that our lives should be, but by encouraging us to think more deeply about the question ourselves.
This book is a unique presentation of common but highly important issues that affect us all deeply. These are illustrated with personal anecdotes to which the readers can relate and compare with their own experiences in life. Each chapter is independent and presented in a conversational manner which makes reading easy. The book deals with a wide range of subjects, such as sex and sexuality, euthanasia, self-confidence, superstition, religion, evolution, parenting, conflicts, leadership, and the interpretation of scriptures, among others.
In addition to presenting the essence of many philosophical concepts and contrasting them with scientific evidence, the book asserts that our world has never before been richer and more technically advanced, but that our unthinking brains have precipitated unhappiness, conflicts, poverty, greed, crime and selfishness. A book of huge interest generally, this is also useful as a handy source of information for the students of humanities, the linguists and translators of ancient languages.
To find out more, please click here to read a sample extract and contents page.
We are offering all of our readers a generous 60% discount on this book throughout October. To redeem your discount, please enter the promotional code BOMOCT18 during checkout. Please note that this is a time-limited offer that will expire on 1st November 2018.
Please see below for examples of the praise Prasanna’s book has been receiving:
“This is an impressive book covering a very wide range of topics. In reading this book you will be both entertained and stimulated. The author tries successfully to marry the informal with the formal and succeeds in producing a text which gains your attention and retains your interest. In my view, the overriding objective of the author is to stimulate the reader to think. Yes, he has things to say, points to make and theses to argue for which he thinks are important and hopefully you will agree with, but more fundamentally he wants to ignite enquiring minds, prepared to engage in rational debate and discussion. The author does not want disciples but fellow travellers, who see value in challenging conventions and commonly held beliefs and refuse to live the ‘unthinking life’.”
–Dr Terry McKnight, Ulster University
“How often is it that we do things because that was the done thing, followed because everyone else has? We automatically say or do things without thinking about it and rarely listen with attention. Dr Guatam has asked the questions that have often been at the back of our minds. This well researched book makes us think about the why and the so what. We may not necessarily agree with all the ideas, but they give rise to deeper thinking of our own truths and principles.”
“[T]his book is a must to read for everyone who desires to know what life is all about. It is lucid and inspirational.”
–Dr. K.S.Sangunni, Former Professor, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
“What should a good non-fiction book provide? Interest, information, education (for those willing to accept it), entertainment, food for thought – to mention but a few. In this book, Prasanna Gautam meets all the above criteria, and many more, and tackles a formidable bank of questions and themes via such media as personal experience, common sense, history, religion and culture.”
“Once I started reading the book, I had difficulty putting it down. The flow and compelling arguments that Prasanna Gautam has made, chapter after chapter, albeit exploring different issues, makes it informative, interesting and educative. It is filled with knowledge synthesised through the centuries. […] The author has succeeded in tying many loose ends and wild assumptions about ancient Indian literature and Aryan civilisation. The book makes an interesting reading and a great learning experience particularly because of the way the author entwines his own personal experiences in different phases, different circumstances and different places about many common issues, e.g. sex, paradoxes related to our brain, retirement, superstition, euthanasia, the reality about rebirth and so on.”
“Every now and then in our reading we come across a book which is like no other we have read but makes us pause and become aware that it has changed our perceptions in some way usually for the better. Dr Gautam’s ”Reflexions on Contemporary Values, Beliefs and Behaviours” is just such a book. […] The “reflections” which the author expresses are frequently accompanied by questions which invite the reader to answer and perhaps re-exam his own standpoint. Although, for the most part, I agreed with most of Dr Gautam’s views there were times when I encountered those different from mine but I was quietly led to change my views and scarcely noticed it. It is a pleasant “adventure” to do so and a necessary one to embark upon. As Plato recalls Socrates speech at his trial “The unexamined life is not worth living”.”
“Something of an absorption of thought and practice, Reflections on Contemporary Values, Beliefs and Behaviours is a rewarding read. Within its gentle confines, Reflections on Contemporary Values, Beliefs and Behaviours drops us bit by but into a significant bundle of important life events and issues―retirement―euthanasia―healing and violence, among them. The book discusses not just the attitudes of today, but looks far over our shoulders, and most especially into the disparate hymns and other writings from ancient India. Prasanna Gautam does a good job in capturing all that he can in as many light brush strokes as he does, for this must be the only way to try and gather the multifold and endless material that encompasses contemporary and ancient life. The sample size is fair as he covers a lot of ground! That is why the book possibly travels away from the experiences that are more commonly yours and mine―which it does very well―and becomes a more personal journey, the author’s own road to discovery.”