Friedrich Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals – A Course in Ethics

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In this lecture we discuss main themes of Friedrich Nietzsche’s work, The Genealogy of Morals, focusing specifically on how Nietzsche can be viewed as a proponent of a Might-Makes-Right approach to moral theory, which values power over other people as the highest good.

In order to keep the discussion as simple as possible, I skip over discussion of the figure of the priest, and focus on the two main kinds of valuation Nietzsche discusses: Good and Bad, Good and Evil.

In the process we examine the relationship between the master, who produces the original valuation, differentiating between the noble and the common. We also discuss the development of slave or herd morality – the “slave revolt in morality”, which produces a second, reactive transvaluation, one which values weakness or harmlessness as good, and views the noble class as evil.

This lecture we recorded in my Spring 2013 Ethics class at Marist College.

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