Nietzsche: The Arguments of the Philosophers: Volume 23

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Recent biographers and pathographers 11 , 14 , 21 , 34 have stated that Nietzsche has generally confessed to having become infected twice when he was admitted in January at the Basel psychiatric clinic. Contrary to what Podack 2 suggests, at that time, PGP was synonymous with syphilis with or without a previous history of contagion; furthermore, Schain 14 explains it was believed that the milder cases of syphilis — in which the contagion went unnoticed, and the first two phases were mild — were precisely those that evolved into their fearsome tertiary phase with brain damage.

Schain 14 wonders whether it would not have been the experience with Nietzsche as a patient that led Biswanger to such a point of view. This thesis was indeed confirmed in when researchers at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research announced that they had found the Treponema pallidum in the brain of paralytics Moreover, as we have seen, gonorrhea — which Nietzsche would have contracted — and syphilis belonged to the same discursive semantic complex around the venereal disease, which in itself could justify its diagnosis of syphilis in the nineteenth-century medical view, given the indistinction between the two nosological categories.

Nietzsche was, in fact, hospitalized in the second class on account of his meager resources as a retired teacher in Basel for the funding of his expenses with the asylum treatment 1. It is a very seductive argument, since in line with that of anti-psychiatry, which currently gains a politically correct contour.

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Such authors have argued that the symbolic and financial irrelevance of Nietzsche — deposited in an asylum wing for the poor — would have provided the supposed misunderstanding the hasty diagnosis of syphilis that they seek to mend. Consistent with nineteenth-century medical reasoning, one of the recent critics 14 of syphilis diagnosis curiously notes that Nietzsche was treated with mercury at the Iena clinic by his assistant physician, Dr.

Where is the Anti-Nietzsche?

Theodor Zieher. In the nineteenth century, syphilis was a cultural fact matched by medical reason, and not a scientific fact, yet to be invented by the style of thought attached to the Wassermann test. Let us have a look at that. Since the end of the twentieth century, the EBM has gradually been implanted as a new paradigm or style of thought to reduce the emphasis on intuition, non-systematic clinical experience, and physiopathological justification in medical decision-making.

A hierarchy of the types of studies worthy to be considered as providers of evidence is proposed: 1 first, the meta-analyses of randomized comparative research; 2 at least one randomized comparative study; 3 at least one non-randomized controlled study; 4 at least one quasi-experimental study; 5 non-experimental, descriptive, comparative studies; 6 expert reports, opinion of authorities. In short: the scientific method was reduced to the experimental method, and are practically synonymous now. We witness a clash of distinct thought styles. In the specific case of Nietzsche, would it be possible to ignore the vast clinical experience of doctors such as Wille, Biswanger, and Ziehen?

Such experienced doctors do not seem to have questioned with conviction — other than Biswanger, transiently, as we have seen — their diagnosis of syphilis.

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Attributing such a diagnostic consensus to the supposed lack of interest of such doctors in Nietzsche is a naive oversimplification. Instead, one should try to portray the nineteenth-century medical rationality about syphilis, which supported — coherently, in our view — the diagnosis of Nietzsche.

Such a diagnostic clash, until then, seems to be the only possible way of doing justice to his philosophical work. This same diagnostic opinion was recently endorsed in the journal Nietzsche-Studien by Schiffter Let syphilis not bring any demerit to the intriguing and admirable Nietzschean philosophical work! It would be inappropriate to discuss his medical diagnosis biased by moral judgments, as seems to be the case with alternative pathographies, when in fact Nietzsche and his work have long since transcended good and evil.

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Janz CP. Friedrich Nietzsche: uma biografia, volume III: os anos de esmorecimento, documentos, fontes e registros. Podach EF. Paris: Gallimard; Aschheim SE. The Nietzsche legacy in Germany, Wiesbaden: Bergmann; Lange-Eichbaum W. Nietzsche als psychiatrisches Problem. Deutsche medizinische Wochenschrift Nietzsche: Krankheit und Wirkung. Hamburg: Lettenbauer; O degenerado.

Jaspers K. Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamericana; Obra original publicada em Kolle K. Nietzsche, Krankheit und Werk. Aktuelle Fragen der Psychiatrie und Neurologie ; Verrecchia A. La catastrophe di Nietzsche a Torino.

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Torino: Einaudi; Cybulska EM. The madness of Nietzsche: a misdiagnosis of the millennium? Young J. Rio de Janeiro: Forense; Corman L. Nietzsche, psychologue des profondeurs. Paris: PUF; Schain R. Westport: Greenwood Press; Binswanger L. Lacan J. Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar; Sax L. J Med Biogr ; 11 1 The madness of Dionysus: a neurosurgical perspective on Friedrich Nietzsche. Neurosurgery ; 61 3 Figueroa G. Chile ; Huenemann C. In: Gemes K, Richardson J, editors. The Oxford Handbook of Nietzsche.

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Oxford: Oxford University Press; Orth M, Trimble MR. Frontotemporal Dementia. Acta Psychiatr Scand ; 6 Miranda M, Navarrete L.

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The neurological illness of Friedrich Nietzsche. Acta neurol belg ; La Gaya Dementia: Nietzsche als Patient. Friedrich Nietzsche and his illness: a neurophilosophical approach to instrospection. J Hist Neurosci ; 22 2 Koszka C. Friedrich Nietzsche : a classical case of mitochondrial encephalomyopathy with lactic acidosis and stroke-like episodes MELAS syndrome?

Selling sickness: the pharmaceutical industry and disease mongering. BMJ ; Fukuyama F. Rio de Janeiro: Rocco; Henriques RP. Fleck L. Madrid: Alianza Editorial; Carrara S, Carvalho M. Astor D. Safranski R. Nietzsche was a professor of philology at the University of Basel from the relatively young age of twenty-four.

Under a Schopenhauerian framework, Nietzsche began his philosophical career by writing, in The Dionysian Worldview ,. There are two states in which man arrives at the rapturous feeling of existence, namely in dreaming and in intoxication.

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Due to chronic migraines, nausea and convulsions, Nietzsche frequently took opium. This alone affected his thinking, as can be understood from his letter to close friends:. To this, I think, sensible insight into the state of things I have come after taking a huge dose of opium—in desperation. But instead of losing my reason as a result, I seem at last to have come to reason. Nietzsche even devotes two poems in his book The Joyous Science to poppy-derived opium. Nietzsche also became a heavy user of chloral , ostensibly a sedative. In the winter of —3, owing to that terrible influenza, he had for the first time used chloral regularly, in large doses.