Nietzsche on aesthetics, educators and education

Year: 2016

Author: Stolz, Steven

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This essay argues that much can be gained from a close examination of Nietzsche’s work with respect to education. In order to contextualise my argument, I provide a brief critique of Nietzsche’s thinking on aesthetics, educators and education. I then turn my attention to the work of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the figures Zarathustra and the Übermensch, and other Nietzschean works with a view to outline what I mean by a Nietzschean education. My central thesis being that a Nietzschean education is primarily concerned with the cultivation of the self. This is certainly not an easy undertaking as it requires both an educator and education that can reveal to students “what one is” now (being), and who they could become (becoming). In order to bring this about, Nietzsche employs the use of an aesthetic model (ideal type) in the form of an exemplar for students to aspire to become. Here, the exemplar plays an important educative function in Nietzsche’s thinking because the role of the ideal type is to unsettle the student so that they are inspired to attain their unattained self that they recognise in the other. Consequently, what makes my account of a Nietzschean education significant is due to its concern with fostering timeless educational aims, such as learning to see, think, speak, write, and feel, by unsettling students with an ideal educator and true education so that students can get a sense of who they are now and who they could become.