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Is Nietzsche a Perfectionist? Rawls, Cavell, and the Politics of Culture in Nietzsche's "Schopenhauer as Educator"

Is Nietzsche a Perfectionist? Rawls, Cavell, and the Politics of Culture in Nietzsche's... Is Nietzsche a Perfectionist? Rawls, Cavell, and the Politics of Culture in Nietzsche's "Schopenhauer as Educator" VANESSA LEMM tanley Cavell's reading of Nietzsche as a moral perfectionist is without doubt the most influential perfectionist reading of Nietzsche. Cavell developed his interpretation of Nietzsche as a moral perfectionist in response to John Rawls's use of Nietzsche in A Theory of Justice.1 In a footnote of that book, Rawls cites a passage from Nietzsche's "Schopenhauer as Educator" in order to illustrate the principles of political perfectionism, which he condemns as "inherently undemocratic and elitist."2 Cavell, however, defends the moral perfectionism he finds in Nietzsche's philosophy of culture on the basis that such perfectionism is indispensable in fashioning an internal critique of democracy, vital to "the life of justice in a constitutional democracy."3 Textually, Cavell's quarrel with Rawls revolves around one single passage in "Schopenhauer as Educator." Although this passage is the only evidence presented in favor of an interpretation of Nietzsche as either a political or moral perfectionist, the result of this exchange has been that "Nietzsche tends to figure in contemporary discussions as the perfectionist par excellence."4 In what follows, I present a different reading of the passages on http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Nietzsche Studies Penn State University Press

Is Nietzsche a Perfectionist? Rawls, Cavell, and the Politics of Culture in Nietzsche's "Schopenhauer as Educator"

The Journal of Nietzsche Studies , Volume 34 (1) – Dec 6, 2007

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 by The Pennsylvania State University. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1538-4594
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Abstract

Is Nietzsche a Perfectionist? Rawls, Cavell, and the Politics of Culture in Nietzsche's "Schopenhauer as Educator" VANESSA LEMM tanley Cavell's reading of Nietzsche as a moral perfectionist is without doubt the most influential perfectionist reading of Nietzsche. Cavell developed his interpretation of Nietzsche as a moral perfectionist in response to John Rawls's use of Nietzsche in A Theory of Justice.1 In a footnote of that book, Rawls cites a passage from Nietzsche's "Schopenhauer as Educator" in order to illustrate the principles of political perfectionism, which he condemns as "inherently undemocratic and elitist."2 Cavell, however, defends the moral perfectionism he finds in Nietzsche's philosophy of culture on the basis that such perfectionism is indispensable in fashioning an internal critique of democracy, vital to "the life of justice in a constitutional democracy."3 Textually, Cavell's quarrel with Rawls revolves around one single passage in "Schopenhauer as Educator." Although this passage is the only evidence presented in favor of an interpretation of Nietzsche as either a political or moral perfectionist, the result of this exchange has been that "Nietzsche tends to figure in contemporary discussions as the perfectionist par excellence."4 In what follows, I present a different reading of the passages on

Journal

The Journal of Nietzsche StudiesPenn State University Press

Published: Dec 6, 2007

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