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Nietzsche’s genealogy’s contribution to ethics

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  1. Introduction
  2. The structure of 'On the Genealogy of Morals'
  3. The master-slave analysis
  4. Analysis of bad conscience
  5. The idea of the omnipotent God
  6. Asceticism
  7. Conclusion
  8. Bibliography

Friedrich Nietzsche is arguably one of the most influential philosophers of the 19th century as he challenged the roots of Christianity and the morality that came from it. He was a believer of life, and the realities of the world, not in the life that was rooted in religion. In other words, he did not believe, in fact he argued against that which was based on the world beyond. The core of his philosophy was rooted in the questioning of doctrines that were not positive for life and this included the doctrine of Christianity which Nietzsche saw so many people dedicating their life to, and he believed it to be an unnecessary source of stress and worry for people. He wrote many influential pieces, one of which was On the Genealogy of Morals, A Polemic. This was a collection of three essays that expanded on his critique of Christianity that he began in his earlier writing in Beyond Good and Evil. It begins with an examination of master morality and servant morality, and holds that the traditional ideals that this religion put forth, particularly those dealing with morality were just a product of self-deception because they were created with the wrong ideals as a guiding point. It is here where we see the reference to Nietzsche's ?blond beast? which has come to be a point of great controversy for some in reading his work. He builds on these ideas in the second essay by arguing that Christianity has confused the ideas of conscience and guilt, as this religion has socially constructed them by causing people to turn against their own natural inclinations. He also discusses how punishment arose out of the creditor-debtor relationship. Finally, in the third essay, he emphasizes the truth-oriented ascetic ideals that lie at the root of art, religion and philosophy.

[...] Nietzsche takes a scathing view of the Christian moral worldview and the ideals of the ascetic as he believes them to be both psychologically and physiologically damaging. Asceticism serves to weaken the body and the will. In this essay, he argues that those who embrace ascetic principles are in fact damaging themselves. It does not matter what stage one is in when they embrace the ascetic, it will only serve to make one worse Nietzsche argues. (Nietzsche, 1967). Nietzsche's conclusion in the third essay of Genealogy that the solution to the ascetic worldview, especially the one that is promoted in Christianity is not the modern scientific worldview, as this is merely an extension of the former. [...]


[...] Those who held the perspective of the masters understood the good to be a reference to themselves, and to their own qualities. This meant that those who were different (from those who perceived themselves as masters) were bad. Those people that had less vigorous perspectives of slaves on the other hand, believed themselves to be good only derivatively. Those who judged their masters as evil were able to conclude that they were good, and this is in the negative sense because they lack their master's evil traits. [...]


[...] He seems to allow for the possibility that there may be many possible solutions to this problem. the most spiritual sphere, too, the ascetic ideal has at present only one kind of real enemy capable of harming it: the comedians of this idea for they arouse mistrust of (Nietzsche, 1967: 160). What he is saying here is much like that which he says in his other works, that the best solution to the problems of wide- spread ascetic ideals is the comedic, or the uncovering (like he is doing), of the absurdity that lies with these moral frameworks. [...]

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