Keith Ansell-Pearson & Rebecca Bamford, Nietzsche’s Dawn: Philosophy, Ethics, and the Passion of Knowledge – Wiley-Blackwell, November 2020

Keith Ansell-Pearson & Rebecca Bamford, Nietzsche’s Dawn: Philosophy, Ethics, and the Passion of Knowledge – Wiley-Blackwell, November 2020

The first focused study of Nietzsche’s Dawn, offering a close reading of the text by two of the leading scholars on the philosophy of Nietzsche

Published in 1881, Dawn: Thoughts on the Presumptions of Morality represents a significant moment in the development of Nietzsche’s philosophy and his break with German philosophic thought. Though groundbreaking in many ways, Dawn remains the least studied of Nietzsche’s work. In Nietzsche’s Dawn: Philosophy, Ethics, and the Passion of Knowledge, authors Keith Ansell-Pearson and Rebecca Bamfordpresent a thorough treatment of the second of Nietzsche’s so-called “free spirit” trilogy. 

This unique book explores Nietzsche’s philosophy at the time of Dawn’s writing and discusses the modern relevance of themes such as fear, superstition, terror, and moral and religious fanaticism. The authors highlight Dawn’s links with key areas of philosophical inquiry, such as “the art of living well,” skepticism, and naturalism. The book begins by introducing Dawn anddiscussing how to read Nietzsche, his literary and philosophical influences, his relation to German philosophy, and his efforts to advance his ‘free spirit’ philosophy. Subsequent discussions address a wide range of topics relevant to Dawn, including presumptions of customary morality, hatred of the self, free-minded thinking, and embracing science and the passion of knowledge. Providing a lively and imaginative engagement with Nietzsche’s text, this book:

Highlights the importance of an often-neglected text from Nietzsche’s middle writings

Examines Nietzsche’s campaign against customary morality

Discusses Nietzsche’s responsiveness to key Enlightenment ideas

Offers insights on Nietzsche’s philosophical practice and influences

Contextualizes a long-overlooked work by Nietzsche within the philosopher’s life of writing

Like no other book on the subject, Nietzsche’s Dawn: Philosophy, Ethics, and the Passion of Knowledge is a must-read for advanced undergraduate and graduate students, instructors, and scholars in philosophy, as well as general readers with interest in Nietzsche, particularly his middle writings.  

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