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University of California Los Angeles Utilitarianism Nietzsche Life Analysis

Part 1 : M13. Assignment: The Pathos of Nietzsche Life

Nietzsche’s books are full of arrogance and bravado, but underneath all of that was a brilliant, profoundly caring man who was on the one hand very angry at the path taken in philosophy because of Plato, and on the other hand very anxious to put all of that behind us to begin anew to find meaning and value in our lives.  He battled a crippling mental disease from the time he was in his 20s until his death at 55.  He was almost always ill and yet he traveled about Europe finding climates that helped his condition and wrote 15 books.  Very few people read them.  That may have been a good thing; for if they had, his life would no doubt have been in great danger.  People don’t take too kindly to books that ridicule culture and religion as misguided,   Nietzsche’s books are like that.  Today we might compare him to people who  are full of themselves. Behind the pompous mask, was a very serious man with a serious mission; to lead us in a new and better direction.  

Using information from the video below and especially from your reading this week, what direction do you think he wished us to take?  What must we become if we are to save ourselves?


Philosophy – Nietzsche. You Tube.  The School of Life.  10 October 2014. 

Part 2 : M13. Discussion: The Trolley Problem


Could you pull the switch?  And more importantly, should you pull the switch?

Would you sacrifice one person to save five?  Narrated by Eleanor Nelsen. YouTube. Ted-Ed. 12 January 2017. 

As the video explains, as a moral theory, Utilitarianism can be cold-blooded at times, allowing actions that we generally recoil at.  From the reading this week and from the film, explain what Utilitarianism is, and then provide at least three problems with it.  This is an important issue for us, because Utilitarianism is used as moral justification in the US, and the theory’s problems have allowed dubious actions to be considered moral.  


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