Nietzsche and Philosophical Paradigms

Nietzsche is a German philosopher who wrote his work in the 19th century. In his works, Nietzsche is critical particularly on religion, contemporary philosophy from the Platonic era, science and culture. He also criticized morality as understood from the Platonic point of view. In short, Nietzsche argued that philosophy was the worst thing that ever happened to humanity. But in his quite many perspectives and issues tackled from many philosophical fronts, the most important paradigms are as follows:


On the individual, Nietzsche specifically argues for self-realization as the ultimate achievement any individual should seek to live a full life. The philosopher argues that lack of self-realization keeps people from living their life fully because they remain trapped into the doctrines of their religious affiliations as well as the moral code of conducts. These does no good to let man exercise free will. He concludes from this point that "free will" in the Platonic era is more of an illusion. In this respect, self-realization enables an individual to realize that life is worth living knowing that there are infinite possibilities and that all these possibilities will be realized in the same finite number of times. To Nietzsche, there should be no worry about morality, as this holds back people's potential and the fact that morality is a big issue in Christianity, people rarely realize who they are and their capabilities.


Under this paradigm, Nietzsche analyzes Platonic and post-Platonic society and draws attention to number issues. Here, our analysis would better begin with Nietzsche's idea that God is dead. It is good to realize that Nietzsche wrote his work in metaphoric form so that analyzing his text requires reading into depth. In this idea of a dead God, what Nietzsche is trying to communicate is the death of communication between men and God leading to decline in theism - belief in God. Moreover, Nietzsche blames the decline in theism to the rise in science and money and the embracing of a materialistic world by humankind in the age of Socratic and Platonic philosophical underpinnings. In the new understanding of what is important in life to man, people no longer believe in the existence of God and have become atheists. It is, however, strange that humanity still practices religion and make sacrifices. This has led to a more pervasive state of nihilism and thus what becomes Nietzsche's central theme in his works. This simply means that man is practicing asceticism by sacrificing God. In the end, even the asceticism itself has lost its meaning and purpose in people's lives. But even then, the logical entities and forces have come to be part and parcel of our social fabric and continue to influence us and our lives in tremendous and dramatic ways.


Health is of much importance to life. Life in the religious sense is communal and is a responsibility of an entire community and human society. But in the age of science, Nietzsche is pessimistic if such values still exist. Science has already dethroned God and is at the center of human activities and life. However, science does not ascribe any meaning to life. Nietzsche supposes that science provides the means, the "how," by which life happens, but no meaning as to "why" it happens. This is why Nietzsche suggests that positive affirmation to life should be the mitigation against both ascetic faith and nihilism. With ascetic faith and nihilism, life is now judged on individual responsibility and any adverse health consequences such as obesity, for instance, is to blame for the failure to take responsibility for one's health.


Since Nietzsche wrote in the period when nursing had been recognized as a profession, a more appropriate way to analyze his take on this subject is by looking at what he says about technology use in medicine and perspectives on health care in the 19th century and beyond. Nietzsche is radical about technicalization, bureaucratization, and privatization of medicine. Rules and regulations that govern the practice of medicine underscore the bureaucratic essence of nursing in the age of philosophical thinking. From another perspective, the use of technology emphasizes on the means to enhance the quality of life, but rarely considers why this quality life matters. Furthermore, the society is being empowered to take personal responsibilities when it comes to health. Conversely, nursing eventually entails working along this line to improve knowledge among the population in a bid to make life a private issue. In the end, qualities that should be intrinsic to nursing such as care no longer hold the same, particularly in the view of Nietzsche.

Perspective and Analysis

Nietzsche was critical in his views. In his critics, however, there are vital issues that matter to nursing that he raised, among them being the role of the individual and the government, the use of technology in nursing and the values of nursing care. While it may not be plausible to argue that Nietzsche was right in his criticism of various issues that affect the society today, it is true that the perspective on nursing as a profession and as a healthcare paradigm has changed in ways that no longer bring forth the values that ought to be intrinsic to it. It is a loss of these fundamental values that should be the worry of everyone as far as nursing is concerned.

Perspective on Individualism

The healthcare perspective has changed from government responsibility to individual accountability, leading to a detrimental factor of commercializing care. Initially, health care was the role of the government to put foremost the needs of its people. But currently, this role has since been interchanged, and now individuals assume the role of health care while the government puts in place policies to reinforce this individual responsibility. For instance, the funding of welfare programs that take care of community health issues reduced drastically since the 1970s. On the other hand, the notion of patient empowerment is taking center-stage when we start to think of meeting our healthcare system challenges. There are legislative policies such as Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the United States, for example, whose one aim is to ensure that all individuals secure health care plan with an insurer of their choice. This is an attempt, not only to heighten personal responsibility but also to commercialize health care which is otherwise a basic need. Repercussions of these moves are enormous such as lack of quality care. Individuals are left with no other option than to shop around for cheaper options and end up going for alternatives that do not warrant them quality care. This comes in naturally as people become more cautious about their spending habits and want to minimize that as much as possible. A personal recount it this experience is America is given by Barbara Ehrenreich when she mentions how she came to realize that her society encourages her to live in denial and to blame everything that happened to her on her fate. She calls this discovery a "gift" she gained from her painful experience from a failure at personal responsibility. There could be other underlying related issue that has not been brought into the limelight.

Perspective on Environmental/Societal Influence

In the light of modern developments in science and technology, evidence-based practice has become an essential part of nursing. This is shaped by the nursing environment that no longer wants any waste of resources and puts emphasis on the need to practice from an informed position. Thus, technological inventions are directed towards finding ways to lower cost of care rather than give meaning and purpose to life. This results in many concerns over the essence of nursing especially when we consider that evidence-based practices, though not wholly disqualified, are also chances for discounting social determinants of health. However, it is no doubt that many social issues determine health care and should be factored in during the care continuum. The technology only becomes of help to the more affluent groups in society and leaves the already marginalized groups more endangered than ever before.

Perspective on Health

All the issues discussed in the preceding are to blame in what Nietzsche considers as neoliberalism. This major driving force behind government activities is the cause of erosion in government funding of human and health services and an actual replacement of these with the private market sector. It is also evident that neoliberalism encourages decentralization and privatization, while limiting public responsibility. In this regard, the government is allowing the private sector to take care of human and health services and in turn encouraging the commercialization of the care at the cost of people's sacred lives.

Perspective on Nursing

Nursing care no longer emphasizes the altruistic care values as training of modern nurses become more focused on meeting challenges of a private market health care system. Investments medicine and nursing now focus on pharmaceutical solutions and biotech than on less profitable health care measures such as prevention and healing. In the end, the society is giving away such values as democracy, compassion, sustainability and social justice. It is these values that were the foundation of nursing as a professional practice and gave the touch that was highly associated with women. Nursing today is a practice that no longer embraces these values, but rather strives to meet legal procedures, roles and responsibilities as outlined in official documents, but which reflects little on the altruistic care. The bottom line is that Nietzsche was right about the changes that have come of age in the post-Platonic philosophy era and how these have changed our social fabric, often for the worse, even in the nursing practice.

Order now

Related essays