Brian Leiter Recommends Readings on Nietzsche
Nietzsche is one of your philosophical specialities. So how did you first become interested in him?
It was a very precise moment. Easter Sunday 1982. I think it’s deliciously ironic that it was Easter Sunday. As an undergraduate I was taking a course called “Kant to 1900” with Richard Rorty at Princeton University, and the course included a couple of weeks on Nietzsche. So on that Sunday I began reading the Nietzsche assignment – it was actually a very early essay that Nietzsche never published, called “On Truth and Lies in an Extra Moral Sense”. I was very taken by it and from that moment on I became very interested in Nietzsche.
What did you particularly like about him?
I had actually become interested in philosophy from reading Sartre as a high school student in French classes. The essay Rorty assigned starts on a very existentialist note – and of course the writing was very evocative. At this point I was reading it in English but Walter Kaufman’s strength as a translator is that he captures the flavour of Nietzsche in English. He’s not the most literal translator but he is the most evocative. So it was a combination of the