Patrick Hassan
Cardiff University
In this paper, I take it to be uncontroversial that increasingly into his philosophical career, Nietzsche believed human greatness to be an appropriately valuable goal, at least for certain types of people. But while Nietzsche's repeated paradigms of greatness include figures as seemingly diverse as Beethoven, Goethe, Shakespeare, Cesare Borgia, Julius Caesar, it is unclear precisely what great-making property (or properties) Nietzsche considers these figures to share. I consider two possible approaches which have shaped the terrain of the secondary literature on this controversial matter: greatness as a matter of internal properties (character traits); or external properties (achievements). I discuss the arguments for each view here, resulting with my own view being that both achievements and traits of character are at least necessary for what Nietzsche understands greatness to consist in. I then consider a distinction between actual and potential greatness in order to explore further necessary and perhaps sufficient conditions of Nietzsche's positive ideal. While my aim in this paper is primarily exegetical, I hope to draw upon contemporary issues in value theory surrounding the nature of achievement which are of interest to ethicists more broadly.
Keywords Nietzsche  Greatness  Achievement
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Reprint years 2017
DOI 10.1007/s10790-016-9570-9
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