Friedrich Nietzsche | Genealogy of Morals (part 1) | Existentialist Philosophy & Literature

14 Jan 2013   57:09   159
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We begin our study of one of Friedrich Nietzsche's great systematic works, The Genealogy of Morals, focusing on the first essay: "Good and Evil", "Good and Bad".

In this section of the work, Nietzsche discusses the origin of the notion of "Good", and distinguishes between an original, noble, self-asserting valuation of Good vs. Bad, and a reactive, common/slave, denying valuation of Evil vs. Good.

We also discuss the concept of ressentiment -- a reactive mode of valuation which becomes established within people, culture, and institutions -- and the present situation of Western culture as one marked by nihilism.

Nietzsche also engages in important critique of the "English psychologists", who he thinks fundamentally misunderstand the origins of morality and moral conceptions by attempting to focus on utility or usefulness. Hebert Spenser is one of the figures whose Ethical views Nietzsche contests.

For Nietzsche, a more fruitful approach is suggested my philology, or the story of classical languages. The history of our moral concepts can be reconstructed by examining the uses of terms such as "good" and its opposites.

Three main figures - and their determinate types of valuation - are examined: the Noble, warrior, kingly type; the Priestly type, and the Mass or Herd of common people.

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