Nietzsche's 'Genealogy Of Morality'

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In the Genealogy of Morality, Friedrich Nietzsche took on a cardinal role in challenging traditional morality: a bid to provide a “critique of moral values” and an examination of “the value of these values”. Setting up his project as a ‘crusade’ against morality, Nietzsche set out simultaneous attacks on numerous targets such as Christian morality, utilitarianism, and the ethics of ‘compassion’, that make up much of our understanding of morality. This essay seeks to evaluate Nietzsche’s take on traditional morality in four parts. The first part lays out the groundwork of his challenge, as the nature of morality that Nietzsche objected needs to be clearly identified. This will be followed by an explanation of how his challenge is supposed to…show more content…
Firstly, through a historical narrative, Nietzsche postulated two value systems, ‘master morality’ and ‘slave morality’, in which the former materialized earlier than the latter. The ‘master morality’ generates the value judgment ‘good’, associated with social status of the ‘noble, aristocratic, and powerful’ (Nietzsche 1887) and the value judgment ‘bad’ by negation of ‘good’, referring to the ‘simple, plebeian, low common man’. This is done with “no derogatory implication, but simply in contrast to the nobility” (Nietzsche 1887). Here, the notion of ‘good’ is independent while the notion of ‘bad’ is derivative; that is, one is ‘bad’ if one lacks the relevant properties of ‘goodness’ that comes from the original definition. On the other hand, according to Nietzsche, ‘slave morality’, fueled by ressentiment of the weak, first came into being by defining the strong as ‘evil’, which generates the positive concept of ‘good’ merely as its reaction, in which the weak repackage its own defects as a set of virtues. “Only those who suffer are good, only the poor, the powerless, the lowly are good; the suffering, the deprived, the sick, the ugly, are the only pious people, the only ones saved, salvation is for them alone.” The distinction between the two is clear in the Genealogy: while ‘master morality’ is centered upon independence of activity, the ‘slave morality’ in contrast is built around the notion of passivity. Meanwhile, in the second essay, Nietzsche illustrated concepts of guilt, bad conscience, and the invention of gods. His major argument lies in contractual relations of debt being the origin of guilt, which explained punishment as an equivalent compensation of the unpaid debt by creditor’s infliction of pain towards the debtor. This was extended further with his propositions that the actual origin of gods is in fear, rooting from an escalated
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