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Great Books: Nietzsche




Admissions requirements

Preferably (but not necessarily) some elementary knowledge of the history of philosophy.


One could well argue that our present age begins with the German philosopher, classical scholar, psychologist and antichrist Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). Nietzsche is absolutely central to our sense of who we are and where we stand. This certainly implies that one cannot properly understand our times without studying his books.

In this seminar we will be reading three of his most important works: key texts in European culture and literary criticism. In these works Nietzsche gives us a compelling argument for a transvaluation of morals and for the crucial importance of art and creativity in life. The books contain some of the most sustained discussions of the origin of logic, truth and morality, showing us how they originated and evolved, not just from philosophical thought, but from will, music and tragedy. Nietzsche’s inspires and encourages us to take on the challenges of modern life that he confronts us with.

Course objectives

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe, explain and historically place Nietzsche’s main philosophical insights and their connections to the tradition and our current age;

  • Analyse and discuss texts, using highly developed reading and writing skills;

  • Reflect on your position in life, relating the texts read in this course.


Once available, timetables will be published in the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

Socratic conversation about the books to be read. That is to say, classes consist of a dialogue about what the students have read. The tutor will guide the discussion, by asking questions, and if needed, suggesting possible answers. There are no lectures. It is crucial that the students read the texts beforehand and participate in the dialogue.


Weekly papers: 7 * 9% (63% total)
Participation: 17%
Final paper: 20%


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Friedrich Nietsche:

  • The Birth of Tragedy (Penguin Classics)

  • Thus spoke Zarathustra (Penguin Classics)

  • On the Genealogy of Morals (Penguin Classics)


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact