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Dreaming of the True Erotic: Nietzsche's Socrates and the Reform of Modern Education

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Education reform requires in Nietzsche's view a trenchant criticism of contemporary educational institutions. The criticism of the institutions and the suggested path for change demand a comprehensive historical study of the foundations of these educational institutions, a study that points out their failures and the available avenues for change. The historical study leads Nietzsche back to Socrates, who is not only the root of contemporary problems, but also a ripe source for new possibilities for education and culture. Socrates' multifarious character eluded the subsequent 'Socratic' culture, which only adopted the radically rationalist side of Socrates. Nietzsche excavates both the beautiful and the erotic sides of his character as exemplars for his educational reform. In the end, Nietzsche overcomes Socrates, so that Nietzsche himself becomes the exemplar for the new tragic culture and education when the limits of Socrates' character are reached.

Keywords: Eros; Nietzsche; Plato; Socrates; education; modernity; rationalism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept. of Political Science, University of Notre Dame, 217 O'Shaughnessy Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA., Email:

Publication date: 2006-01-01

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