What are some features of Nietzsche's tone and style? What differentiates his style from, for example, that of Kant or Arnold? What are some means he uses to enforce the value of what he says?
What seems to be meant by the words "truth" and "lying" in the title? In what way, if at all, can one speak of lying in a "non-moral" sense?
What seem to be his initial views on human arrogance, self-knowledge and honesty? (875) On what evidence do these views seem to be based?
Are there ways in which Nietzsche's views, preoccupations or features of style resemble those of Walter Pater? ("On Truth and Lying" was written in 1873, the year of the appearance of Studies in the Renaissance). May both have been influenced by common traditions?
What kinds of illusions do human beings seem to share, and why are these dangerous or limiting? (475)
What is meant by the claim, ". . . humanity, in the indifference of its ignorance, rests on the pitiless, the greedy, the insatiable, the murderous--clinging in dreams, as it were, to the back of a tiger." (475)
What in Nietzsche's view is the motive for which most human beings desire truth? Would he have agreed with Kant's notion of the desirability of the "free play of ideas," or Arnold's view of the desirability of "disinterestedness"?
What is Nietzsche's critique of language, or rather, of its claim to clarity? What does he see as language's essential feature? What does he find contemptible in earlier philosophical attempts to explain the nature of language and of ideas? (877, 879)
What does he find dishonest about the use of concepts? Of systems of classification? (878) What does he find deficient in the science of his day? Would any of the authors we have read thus far agreed with him?
In what context does Nietzsche mention the different consciousness of animals and birds? Which aspects of human thought is he critiquing? Can he be said to be a humanist?
What is the force or mode of perception which can bridge the gap between subject and object, between incommensurate perceptions, according to Nietzsche? (880)
Who or what is the originator of the order found within nature, according to Nietzsche? Would Kant have agreed with him? Pater?
What does Nietzsche seem to mean by metaphor, and what is its importance? (882) What are traits of the world of metaphorical language? (882)
What is the relationship of metaphor to the world of dream? (882) What relationship does dream bear to myth? (882) What effect does it have on its creators, the world of human beings?
What in Nietzsche's view is the relationship between the "man of reason" and the "man of intuition"? (883) Which form of happiness is granted to each? Are some epochs more receptive to one than another?
What is the effect of suffering on a "man of intuition"? (883) What is the stoic ideal, and does he/should he adhere to it?
"The Birth of Tragedy"
This book seems to have been published just before Nietzsche wrote "On Truth and Lying." Do you think these works present common themes? Do you discern major shifts of emphasis?
What is added to "The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music" by the last five words of the full title?
What according to Nietzsche are the basic opposing tendencies of Greek tragedy, and Greek culture in general? How does he define the Apolline? The Dionysian?
What effect is caused by the shedding of Apollonian forms of order and restraint? (886, slave is a free man) What does Nietzsche seem to assume are the political effects of Dionysiac enthusiasm? (end of individuation and its attendant pain)
What does it mean to say, "Man is no longer an artist, he has become a work of art"? (887) Is this a desirable change?
What are some ways in which a Nietzschean analysis of tragedy differs from an Aristotelian one? (the hero suffers through no fault of his own; concerned with the nature of humanity and its required individuation, a nineteenth-century preoccupation)
What is Nietzsche's explanation of the apparent calm and acceptance associated with Greek tragedy? (888, calm prevails over tragedy--cmp. Winkelmann, Ruskin's "The Lance of Pallas")
What is his interpretation of the meaning behind the myth of Oedipus? (888-89, forced to individuate, his wisom causes punishment of fates--issues of patricide and incest are erased) Why has Oedipus been fated to suffer? (889, to know is to suffer)
What meaning does he find in the myth of Prometheus, and how does he contrast this myth with that of the biblical Garden of Eden? (890-91, Prometheus a hero not sinner, active "sin" a virtue)
Which Romantic/Victorian poets might have agreed with him? (Shelley, Prometheus Unbound, appeals to justice/injustice above gods) What broader cultural traits does he find in these contrasted myths?
What does it mean to say that the Hellenic is "feminine"? What seems Nietzsche's view of the qualities associated with women? (890, generalizes, mendacity and other vices are feminine weaknesses)
To what extent are his conceptions of reason and art gender-neutral? (890, potentially so)
Do most Greek tragedies fit within the patterns Nietzsche describes? Can you think of exceptions? Would you say that the Oresteia fits his paradigm? The plays of Euripides? (Medea, Hecuba, Alcestis)
In what manifestations does Nietzsche see a blending of Apolline and Dionysian features? (891) What metaphysical result does this achieve? (892)
What is the relation of the myth of Dionysos to later Greek tragic heroes, to Apolline norms of clarity and definiteness, and to the recurrent processes at the heart of tragedy? (892, they are all masks)
Are there ways in which Nietzsche's notions of the Apolline and Dionysian seem to anticipate Freud?
What are some advantages of his approach for literary criticism? What kinds of literary works would be most suceptible to such an analysis? (celebration of romantic elements)
What kind of music does Nietzsche associate with tragic art? (893, dissonant music) What is the relationship of his notion of a "wing-beat of longing" to Kant's idea of the sublime? (893)
Is the art of Dionysian joyous or sad? What is its relationship to notions of justice or morality? (remains above these) What need and purpose then remains for the Apollonian qualities of life? (894)
What limits are placed on the Dionysian forces of consciousness? (must become art, needs veil of beauty spread over its own nature)
What final parable reflects the interpenetration of Dionysian, Apolline and tragic forms of experience? (both forces needed for a totality)
What relationship does he see between Dionysian ideals and a national consciousness? (Dionysiac art expresses what he hopes will be German ideals)
Can you see possible dangers in the celebration of a Dionysiac ideal? (irrationalism can emphasize the endurance of suffering or rationalize its causes, can disguise special interests of power)
Why do you think Nietzsche's writings may have been so influential in the twentieth century? Do you know which of his strands of thought seem to have later followers, and if not, can you guess?
What, for example, might be the relationship of Nietzschean thought to Marxist theories of history and literature?