Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) (German pronunciation: [ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈvɪlhεlm ˈniːtʃə]) was a 19th-century German philosopher and classical philologist. He wrote critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy and science, using a distinctive German-language style and displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and aphorism.
Nietzsche's influence remains substantial within and beyond philosophy, notably in existentialism and postmodernism. His style and radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth have resulted in much commentary and interpretation, mostly in the continental tradition. His key ideas include the interpretation of tragedy as an affirmation of life, an eternal recurrence (which numerous commentators have re-interpreted), a rejection of Platonism and a repudiation of both Christianity and egalitarianism (especially in the form of democracy and socialism).
Nietzsche began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. At the age of 24 he was appointed to the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel (the youngest individual to have held this position), but resigned in 1879 because of health problems, which would plague him for most of his life. In 1889 he exhibited symptoms of insanity, living out his remaining years in the care of his mother and sister until his death in 1900.