Nietzsche on Virtue Ethics

I’ve been trying to be a Stoic for a couple years.  I think it has been good for me, but I have been questioning the philosophy and my commitment to it lately.  I’ve also been looking at Nietzsche which has led me to some unsettling questions.  The quotes are from “The Problem of Socrates” in Twilight of the Idols.

  1.  Is he right when he says “I want to understand what idiosyncrasy begot that Socratic idea that reason and virtue equal happiness — that most bizarre of all equations which is, moreover opposed to every instinct of the earlier Greeks.”?  I accepted the VE formula that virtue and reason are the key to happiness.  Why?  I can’t seem to find the reason right now!
  2. Also:  “To have to fight the instincts — that is the definition of decadence:  as long as life is ascending happiness equals instinct.”  Whereas questioning reason and virtue seems just wrong, this, oddly, feels just right.  This depends on how happiness is defined and whether or not it is a worthy goal.
  3. Finally:  “Could it be that wisdom appears on earth as a raven, attracted by a little whiff of carrion?”  Is the turning towards reason and virtue a result of intuiting that life is now descending?  This could be applied both individually and socially.  (I vaguely remember an article that asked, Stoicism, why now.

A life of reason and virtue or a life of instinct?  One sounds so much more comfortable.


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