Anonymous said: What, precisely, is worth preserving/extending/applying from Nietzsche that is Nietzsche's alone, that makes him brilliant beyond a concept of brilliance simply as "articulate, methodological, and influential"? What is he used for, besides quotations? This is a serious question, as I only know him second hand, notoriety/fame, and concepts like master/slave, the overman, etc, however they're used and abused now.
Many of Nietzsche’s ideas are best taken together, in a group. When Nietzsche’s ideology is viewed as a broader picture, it has absolutely massive philosophical ramifications.
We could start the often-heard-yet-rarely-understood idea that “God is dead”. The famous passage describes the end of Christian ideals as a universal moral compass, a change that many could argue occurred during the Enlightenment or shortly thereafter. Nietzsche thought of Christianity as a “life-denying" force, one values the weak over the strong and shames us for that which gives us life. But instead of having everyone simply accept nihilism in the face of God’s death, Nietzsche thought that the "Ubermensch" could arise: humanity in its final philosophical stage.
The Ubermensch would take it upon themselves to undertake a “revaluation of all values”, a re-assessment of all of the moral traditions previously established. From this revaluation, the Ubermensch would create new values to replace those of Christianity, values that are “life-affirming" instead of life-denying. This new set of life-affirming values would abandon the concept of morality, instead acknowledging only "the will to power”, which is what Nietzsche claimed to be humanity’s underlying purpose: to pursue power. This pursuit would allow the strong to free themselves of the dominance of the weak that had been allowed before the death of God.
This entire narrative fit within Nietzsche’s metaphysical views, which he termed “perspectivism”: a rejection of objectivity all together, instead arguing that all knowledge is interpreted through individual perspectives.
This is a basic outline that ignores countless other useful ideas Nietzsche developed or otherwise helped to develop (eternal reinsurance, Apollonian/Dionysian, master/slave, etc). But my point is that viewing much of Nietzsche’s work as a collective body instead of a loose amalgam of phrases and ideas helps to clarify its impacts on philosophy. Looking over much of his work above, we can see some examples of that: the possibility of the establishment of life-affirming values serves as a response to what Nietzsche saw as Schopenhauer’s pessimism, and his metaphysical views served as a rejection of Kant and the yet-to-be-formed analytic tradition.
Politically speaking, his theories have contributed to the ideologies of everyone from left-wing anarchists (who were interested in the revaluation of all values) to fascists (who were interested in the emergence of an aristocratic Ubermensch class within humanity, in opposition to more egalitarian and democratic ideals), despite the fact that Nietzsche pretty openly hated both. But his politics and the political implications of his ideas are a matter for another, likely much longer, discussion.