Examining Good and Bad Conscience in Friedrich Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals

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Friedrich Nietzsche is recognized for being one of the most influential German philosophers of the modern era. He is known for his works on genealogy of morality, which is a way to study values and concepts. In Genealogy of Morals, Friedrich Nietzsche mentions that values and concepts have a history because of the many different meanings that come with it. Nietzsche focused on traditional ethical theories, especially those rooted in religion. Not being a religious man, he believed that human life has no moral purpose except for the significance that human beings give it. People from different backgrounds and circumstances in history bend morality's meaning, making it cater to the norms of their society. For example, the concept of what is…show more content…
The concept of “guilt was first recognized as being similar with the German word debt. A person in debt was seen as being the one guilty” (Nietzsche 2010). According to Nietzsche, men were privileged with the ability to make and keep promises. With that in mind he always believed that in order for society to continue to work, men must enter into a world of promises that they can keep and deliver back. In order to keep a promise one must require a powerful memory and a confidence that their promise will be carried out. For whatever reason man is unsuccessful or fails to remember to keep a promise he then becomes “the indebted to the creditor”, the person to whom the promise was made (Rattan 2010). The creditor is then looked at as being superior over the debtor, while the debtor is inferior to the creditor, because he owes him something. As a way of “gaining personal satisfaction, the creditor would go through extremes to feel paid off by the debtor”, hence, punishment (Rattan 2010). In the essay of genealogy of morals it mentioned that as some forms of punishment they would, “impale on a stake, ripping people apart or stamping them to death with horses, boiling the criminal in oil or wine” (Rattan 2010). Other forms of punishment also included the creditors taking the debtors valuable possessions or inflict pain as a method of causing

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