Walter Kaufmann’s Classic Lectures on Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Sartre (1960)

Walter Kaufmann lectures
Walter Kaufmann spent 33 years (1947-1980) teaching philosophy at Princeton. And more than anyone else, Kaufmann introduced Nietzsche’s philosophy to the English-speaking world and made it possible to take Nietzsche seriously as a thinker – something there wasn’t always room to do in American intellectual circles.

Without simplifying things too much, Kaufmann saw Nietzsche as something of an early existentialist, which brings us to these vintage lectures recorded in 1960 (right around the time that Kaufmann, a German-born convert to Judaism, also became a naturalized American citizen). The three lectures offer a short primer on existentialism and the modern crises philosophers grappled with. Kierkegaard and the Crisis in Religion begins the series, followed by Nietzsche and the Crisis in Philosophy and Sartre and the Crisis in Morality. You can hear them right below:

Kierkegaard and the Crisis in Religion

Nietzsche and the Crisis in Philosophy

Sartre and the Crisis in Morality

Kaufmann’s talks are now listed in the Philosophy section of our collection of 750 Free Online Courses. There you will also find courses presented by other major figures, including John Searle, Hubert Dreyfus, and Michael Sandel.

via DIY Scholar

Related Content:

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The Philosophy of Kierkegaard, the First Existentialist Philosopher, Revisited in 1984 Documentary

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The Philosophy of Nietzsche: An Introduction by Alain de Botton


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  1. Piotr says . . . | June 4, 2011 / 5:25 pm

    Thanks, I enjoyed his talks so much!

  2. Trey says . . . | December 31, 2011 / 2:48 pm

    Is Walter still alive? I have dire need to speak with him about nietzche. It’s an Apollonian and dionysian problem put together and made real. Cough. Hint. I most definitely need guidance on this path someone dreamed up for me. And I’m tired of taking walks alone and debating nietzche to myself cuz my wife’s too busy taking care of the kid.. So Walter! Do you wanna help nietzches little monster lol. Anyway what does the moonlight have to be like to see the symbol on the birth of tragedy?

  3. Trey says . . . | December 31, 2011 / 2:50 pm

    Damn… He isn’t around. Um…. Beep blupe borp

  4. Yahia Lababidi says . . . | January 25, 2012 / 6:26 pm

    What a treat! It was Kaufmann’s Nietzsche that got my world spinning faster as a late teen. Around ten years later, I came out with my first book (aphorisms) and nearly ten years after that my book of essays, ‘From Nietzsche to Belly Dancing’. Still meditating on Nietzsche, and the artist as mystic (in current issue of Agni magazine:

  5. Caruthers Minor says . . . | February 12, 2012 / 12:10 pm

    Nietzsche spent most of his intellectual life reacting against the final part of Schopenhauer’s Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung. Kaufmann minimized this and tried to make it seem that Nietzsche was mostly concerned with Hegel’s concept of development.

  6. Michael says . . . | June 22, 2012 / 12:01 pm

    Respectfully, Kaufmann was non-religious, even though as a child and adolescent he briefly was religiously involved first as a Protestant, then a Catholic, and finally a Jew. But he quickly put aside all religion…as he writes about in no uncertain terms in his book “Faith of a Heretic.”

    To describe him as “a German-born convert to Judaism” is, therefore, inaccurate.

  7. JKop says . . . | September 29, 2012 / 2:15 am

    Nietzsche seems to be widely misunderstood. Brian Leitner highlights some common myths about Nietzsche at

  8. autocad kursu says . . . | December 30, 2012 / 1:41 pm

    I’ve found that the best data subject, thank you

  9. Chris says . . . | September 15, 2013 / 3:18 am

    Yeah! This is tip top! Thanks for posting!

  10. heinrich6666 says . . . | December 17, 2013 / 5:42 am

    It’s not inaccurate. It’s just superficially accurate.

  11. A.R BHAT says . . . | January 10, 2014 / 5:29 am

    Does this statement belong to Sartre.If it does do you have any proof ? Here is the statement,
     “When we speak of forlornness, we mean only that God does not exist and that we have to face all the consequences of this….The existentialist thinks it very distressing that God does not exist, because all possibility of finding values in a heaven….

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