Northern Illinois University

Department of Political Science



Political Science 352                                        Office Hours 5-6:15pm Wed 

Nietzsche & the Postmoderns                         & by appointment

Fall 2005                                                            Office ZU 411

Instructor Ed Posega                                        Phone: 753-1022

Class Time W 6:00-8:40                         



Required Texts


  1. The Modern Library, Basic Writings of Nietzsche, trans. Walter Kaufmann.
  2. E-Reserve and print reserve readings.



Course Requirements and Grading


  1. Class attendance
  2. Prepare for class by doing the readings to be discussed that day.
  3. Bring the appropriate readings to class, and be prepared to ask and answer thoughtfully questions about them.
  4. Two short papers (five typed double-spaced pages for each submission).
  5. A final exam.


Class Participation


Good quality participation is required and is a substantial part of the final grade.  “Good quality” does not mean merely talking frequently.  It means:

1)      regular evidence of having studied the readings prior to class;

2)      the ability to reflect and comment intelligently on the issues raised in the readings and lectures;

3)      asking appropriate questions of both the readings and the instructor;

4)      showing evidence of making progress in fitting together the pieces of a very large and confusing subject into a coherent whole. 


Written Assignments


      Undergraduates and those other than political science graduate students will do two papers (roughly 1250 words) on a topic assigned by the instructor plus an in class final exam (essay format).  Papers are due on the date specified.  Late papers will be accepted up to four week days (M-F) after the due date but will be docked one letter grade for each day.






“On The Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life,” from Untimely Meditations, p.59-123 (available on reserve at Founders Library and e-reserve)

“Preface,” to Ecce Homo, from Basic Writings of Nietzsche.



Concluding discussion of the “Uses and Disadvantages of History”

“The Untimely Ones,” from Ecce Homo, in Basic Writings of Nietzsche

excerpt from “On Truth and Lies in an Extra-Moral Sense,” p.42-47 (available on print and e-reserve)

Birth of Tragedy, “Attempt at a Self-Criticism,” and Sects 1, 5, 7, 12-18, 21, 23-25, in Basic Writings of Nietzsche

“The Birth of Tragedy” section from Ecce Homo in Basic Writings of Nietzsche



Concluding discussion of The Birth of Tragedy

Human All Too Human Sections 2, 5, 83, 113, 146, 170, 184, 189, 224, 265, 271, 281, 298, 303, 361, 444, 462, 465, 475, 482, 483, 536, 579, and 635 (available on print and e-reserve)

“Human All Too Human with Two Sequels” section from Ecce Homo in Basic Writings of Nietzsche



The Gay Science Sections 1-2, 45-46, 108-125, 143, 294, 301, 324, 335, 340-349, 357, 372-375, 381 (available on print and e-reserve)

“Thus Spoke Zarathustra A Book for All and None,” section from Ecce Homo in Basic Writings of Nietzsche



Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “Zarathustra’s Prologue,” p.121-137; “Zarathustra’s Speeches,” p.137-191 (both available on print and e-reserve)

Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “Third Part,” p.260-343 (available on print and e-reserve)



Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “Fourth Part,” p.343-439 (available on print and e-reserve).

“Beyond Good and Evil,” section from Ecce Homo, in Basic Writings of Nietzsche.



Beyond Good and Evil, “Preface,” “Part One,” “Part Two,” “Part Three,” from Basic Writings of Nietzsche.




Beyond Good and Evil, “Part Four,” “Part Five,” “Part Six,” from Basic Writings of Nietzsche



Beyond Good and Evil, “Part Seven,” “Part Eight,” “Part Nine,” and “From High Mountains – Aftersong” from Basic Writings of Nietzsche



Selected readings from Twilight of the Idols and the Antichrist (TBA)



Martin Heidegger: Being and Time, “Introduction,” p.39-87 (available on print and e-reserve).

Heidegger: “Letter on Humanism,” p.217-265 (available on print and e-reserve)

Heidegger: “The Question Concerning Technology,” p.311-341 (available on print and e-reserve).



Heidegger: “The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking,” p.431-449 (available on print and e-reserve)

Jean-Francois Lyotard: The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, “Introduction,” “1. The Field: Knowledge in Computerized Societies,” “2. The Problem of Legitimation,” p. xxiii-9;  “4. The Nature of the Social Bond: The Modern Alternative,” “5. The Nature of the Social Bond: The Postmodern Perspective,” p.11-17;

“13. Postmodern Science as the Search for Instabilities,” p.53-60

“Answering the Question: What Is Postmodernism?” p.71-82. (available on print and e-reserve).



Martin Heidegger, “The University in the New Reich,” p.2-4.

“What Remains?  The Language Remains”: A Conversation between Gunter Gaus and Hannah Arendt, p.3-21 (available on print and e-reserve)

Leo Strauss, “Note on the Plan of Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil,” p.174-191 (available on print and e-reserve).



Three chapters from Laurence Lampert’s Leo Strauss and Nietzsche, “Strauss’ Study of Nietzsche,” p.5-24; “Nietzsche’s Place in the History of Platonic Political Philosophy,” “Strauss’ Place in the History of Platonic Political Philosophy,” p.117-165 (available on print and e-reserve)

Review and Conclusion




Final Exam: Wednesday December 7th 6:00-7:50pm



Policies and Expectations


Classroom behavior.  Courtesy and regard for one another should guide classroom behavior.  Students are expected to be in class when class begins.  Please do not come late to class.  Lateness is inconsiderate and disruptive.  I will be on time (barring some unforeseen act of Nature), so please pay me the same courtesy.  If it becomes necessary, students who come late will be asked to leave.  Occasional lapses can happen to anyone and will be overlooked presuming an explanation is presented after class.  Please consult me if there is some scheduling problem and we will try to come to some accord.


Grading.  Course grades will be based primarily on your performance on two five page papers and a final exam.  There are a total of 100 possible points in this class: 25 points for each paper and 50 points for the final exam.  The papers and exam require you to demonstrate an understanding of the readings and arguments we have studied and the ability to state and evaluate them in an organized manner and in clear, standard English.  No extra credit will be given in the class.


Attendance. Students are expected to attend all classes.  Your final grade will be lowered more and more for unexcused absences beyond the third, and students who miss a significant number of classes can end up failing POLS 352 because of it.  An excused absence is defined as one in which the instructor is informed by the student before it happens and for which the student provides an excuse that the instructor regards as reasonable.  If, because of circumstances beyond his or her control, a student cannot inform the instructor prior to the absence, he or she may be required to produce documentary evidence demonstrating that the absence and failure to contact the instructor were unavoidable.  Students who are not in their seats when attendance is taken will be counted as absent.


Class participation.  Class participation and attendance will influence course grades.  The instructor reserves the right to raise the final grades of those students who distinguish themselves by the quality and quantity of their participation in class discussion by answering direct questions about the readings posed by the instructor, and by raising questions or volunteering relevant comments about the material.  Good class participation can help your grade, but lack of participation will not harm it.