The Genealogy Of Morals By Friedrich Nietzsche

1771 Words Dec 12th, 2016 8 Pages
PHIL 2030 Final Essay
Alex Vanden Heuvel, Professor Lay, Fall Semester 2016
Responding to Prompt 1

On the Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche is typically listed as one of the most important philosophical works of the modern era. It is only modern, of course, to philosophical standards, being a mere 129 years old. It is also one of the most controversial works of its time, having the dubious distinction of being connected to Nazi ideology; it also has a not very subtle racist, sexist, and Darwinist bent that is a reflection of Nietzsche himself. That being said, I think that it is also serially misunderstood. Nietzsche directly mentions the role of interpretation in ethical discourse in the Genealogy, and the interpretive element factors heavily into one’s understanding of the polemic and by extension, ethics philosophy as a whole. Throughout the book, Nietzsche uses interpretation as a tool in itself to make a constructivist and existentialist argument about the history of ethics as whole. His idea that man has used interpretation throughout history, and the interpretive elements in Genealogy outside of the historical analysis, seem to say that almost all ethics are derived from interpretation and therefore constructivist in nature, which is a heavily existentialist argument. For example, the entirety of the first essay is based heavily upon the role of interpretation in the development of the early ethical systems that Nietzsche argues are built on the…
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