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Hicks — Egoism in Nietzsche and Rand

275

  • o

    And consequently, in social relations, there are no fundamental

conflicts of interest.

  • o

    Individuals can and should fundamentally commit to social

relations on the basis of win-win trade.

o respect

All individuals have as fundamental.

rights

that

a

moral

social

system

will

Nietzsche rejects all twelve of the components in the above list. And, further, he casts doubt upon the belief that individuals even exist.

Nietzsche’s Rhetoric and System

In this context, the importance of more fundamental philosophy to determining the content of a philosopher’s ethical system cannot be overstated in the case of comparing Nietzsche and Rand. Both philosophers developed full philosophical systems, and both argued explicitly the essential connections among all of the elements of their philosophies.

Some interpreters of Nietzsche are misled by his rhetorical choices, especially his use of apparently disconnected aphorisms. Nietzsche was aware of this rhetorical risk and took pains to warn his readers against it, explaining that his purpose was not to do the reader’s work for him by, in the manner of a schoolteacher, leading him step-by-step to a conclusion. Instead, a philosopher learns by doing—by taking Nietzsche’s often-compressed aphorisms and unpacking and re-packing them, by trying them out in various combinations, or, to put the point unflatteringly, by being a cow. Nietzsche’s aphorisms to a philosopher should be like grass to a cow

  • something to be chewed into cud, swallowed, and regurgitated for

more chewing, swallowed again and processed through several stomachs in order to extract the value. A philosopher is a ruminant (GM, Preface:8).

Nietzsche further urges the importance of system, again not in mechanical terms but rather in his overall philosophy’s organic terms: “We have no right to isolated acts of any kind: we may not make isolated errors or hit upon isolated truths. Rather do our ideas, our values, our yeas and nays, our ifs and buts, grow out of us with the necessity with which a tree bears fruit—related and each with an affinity to each, and evidence of one will, one health, one soil, one sun”

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