Overcoming the Greeks



Nietzsche concludes a passage in The Gay Science by exclaiming, ‘Alas, my friends, we must overcome even the Greeks!’1 It is a matter for regret that we have to overcome the most philosophically gifted people hitherto. But why must we do this? Why may we not just continue to build on the Greeks’ achievements?


Human Existence Dead Person Material Shape Eternal Return Instinctive Drive 
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  1. 2.
    See especially Heidegger, Martin, Early Greek Thinking, Translated by David Farrel Krell and Frank A. Capuzzi (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1984).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Kaufmann, Walter, Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1974), Chapter 13, ‘Nietzsche’s Attitude toward Socrates’, andGoogle Scholar
  3. @@.
    Deleuze, Gilles, Nietzsche and Philosophy, translated by Hugh Tomlinson (London: The Athlone Press, 1983)Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    Guthrie, W. K. C., A History of Greek Philosophy, Vol. II, The Presocratic Tradition from Parmenides to Democritus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965).Google Scholar
  5. 16.
    See Heisenberg, Werner, Physics and Philosophy, Introduction by Paul Davies (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1989). First published in New York by Harper & Row, 1962.Google Scholar
  6. 18.
    The allusion is, of course, to Iris Murdoch’s The Sovereignty of Good (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1970). The title is completed by the phrase ‘over other Concepts’.Google Scholar

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© Keith M. May 1993

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