Nietzsche despised Socrates. He rejected the Socratic way of identifying reason with virtues, and virtue with eudaemonia (human flourishing). In his work on ancient Greek thinkers, Nietzsche asserts that the truly great spirits (destiny’s children) are motivated by instinct and that the frigid, self-aware reason, which Socrates represents, was not only antagonistic to instinct but also a sign of decadence. According to Nietzsche, the teachings of Socrates (and his disciple Plato) precipitated the decay of Ancient Greek culture and paved way for a Roman takeover. He excoriates Socrates for being ugly, noting that ugliness is symptomatic of a perversion—the man with a monstrous face, Nietzsche maintains, must have a monstrous soul. He even conjectures that Socrates might not even be of Greek extraction.
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