(Friedrich Nietzsche) Genealogy of Morals Summary

Topics: Morality, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ressentiment Pages: 2 (629 words) Published: November 29, 2005
According to The Genealogy of Morals, Friedrich Nietzsche's account of history regarding the origin of morality posed a decadent contention that deeply challenged him. This problem resulted in an enlightening new perspective that altered his foundation of morality: a question of value. His objection was to clarify the origin of the moral language, in order to establish a placement for the value of morality. He began his journey by theorizing the division of individuals into two types of morality- master and slave morality.

The masters had a powerful physicality, and were defined as independent and noble. The master morality valued pride, faith, and confidence within themselves and maintained a strong animosity toward selflessness and the weak. Antithetical to the master morality was the slave morality. The slaves maintained an insignificant, oppressed character. "The slave morality begins when ressentiment itself becomes creative and gives birth to values" (36, 10). The slaves were accused of directing all views outward rather than to focus on the self. Nietzsche found this kind of behavior as "the very essence of ressentiment" (37, 10).

Nietzsche's quest into the origin of morality began with his critique of the English psychologists traditional genealogy. In this account, people discovered satisfaction in selfless acts, and those that benefited from those actions defined them as ‘good'. An early concept of ‘goodness' was established, yet it was later transformed into an effect of habit; the original concept was forgotten. Friedrich Nietzsche was disturbed with the English's claim to the origin of the term. He believed that the masters were the founders of morals, and that the concept originated from a principle of utility.

Nietzsche justified his theory of origin because the master morality was the initial morality, therefore the concept of ‘goodness' came from the noble, as they thought themselves and their actions to be ‘good'. The...
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