- Paperback: 242 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (October 30, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 052169163X
- ISBN-13: 978-0521691635
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Nietzsche: 'On the Genealogy of Morality' and Other Writings: Revised Student Edition (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) 2nd Edition
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'The clarity of the ... translation and the supporting apparatus (chronology, further reading, biographical synopses, and index) make this an excellent edition for student use, as indeed it is intended. ... what makes [it] particularly useful is the inclusion of material from other works by Nietzsche to which the Genealogy refers, such as Human, All Too Human, Daybreak, Beyond Good and Evil, and The Gay Science, as well as ... the early texts, 'The Greek State' and 'Homer's Contest'.' British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Don't question the title.
"[A]ll religions are, at their most fundamental, systems of cruelty" (41) - and they are ultimately perpetuated by priests whose own state of inferiority once upon a time led to a great revolt in the world such that the priests came out on top and the powerful were castigated. One can, in many ways, see the old Protestant polemic against Catholicism now turned against not just Protestantisms, but against all religion in general. In many ways Nietzsche's attack on asceticism is like Martin Luther's, only without any positing of salvation from Christ. Instead, salvation comes from the anti-Christ, who is also an anti-nihilist, that frees people to enact their own "will to power" - an aesthetic creating that pays no attention to distictions between good and evil.
Nietzsche seeks what he terms "the revaluation of all values", particularly in the realm of moral judgment; the aesthetic will to power exists to return us "to the innocent conscience of the wild beast" (25) for "no cruelty, no feast" (46). By claiming that our current conceptions of "good" are ultimately due to the ressentiment of religious persons thousands of years ago, he is able to claim that our current understanding of "good" is really actually the opposite of what it purports to be. Aesthetics of the Nietzschean sort is "beyond good and evil" and therefore far closer to the old morality of nobility that once reigned supreme in the West before the revolt of the priests. In short, "what if God himself turned out to be our oldest lie?" (119)
This is not just an attack on religion, however, for Nietzsche sees the "ascetic ideals" of religion as being identical to those of philosophers: "the unconditional will to truth is faith in the ascetic ideal itself, evin if, as an unconscious imperative, - make no mistake about it, - it is the faith in a metaphysical value, a value as such of truth as vouched for and confirmed by that ideal alone" (119). Even our faith in science is based upon the old idea that truth really exists - that it is "out there" to be discovered - which means, ironically, that in their claims of the existence of truth religion and science are actually far closer together than they often like to think of themselves as being.
What Nietzsche lacks in clear argument and justified evidence he attempts to make up in rhetorically rich polemics, delivering a text that will sway many, even if they don't know why. Perhaps, then, it is no surprise that, as the back of the book states, he "is one of the most influential thinkers of the past 150 years". Regardless of what one makes of him - and intellectual historians such as Steven Aschheim have noted that there have been a bewildering number of interpretations of Nietzsche since he went insane in 1890 - he is, because of his influence (whether on the Nazis or on radical French intellectual in the 1960s or the doyens of intellectual posers) worth reading. This is not his most literary work by any stretch of the imagination - one should read Thus Spoke Zarathustra for an example of Nietzsche's literary genius - or his most pointed and polemical - Twilight of the Idols and The Anti-Christ, which often come together in a single volume, are Nietzsche short, fast, and hard. Genealogy of Morality, however, represents an important step in the development of his own thought, and therefore in much intellectual history since. If that is one's interest, then Nietzsche's Genealogy is worth reading.