On God and guilt: The origins of morality in Nietzsche's Genealogy of morals
LE3 .A278 2011
Bachelor of Arts
Nietzsche’s critique of morality is multipronged, ranging from an assault on its detrimental effects for select types of persons, to a denunciation of the primacy of life-denying values therein. A complete account of his critique would require volumes; indeed, Nietzsche assigned himself this task for many years, producing numerous works that address morality.1 Instead, the focus of inquiry here will concern the specific manner in which Nietzsche suggests morality first appeared. Bernard Reginster tells us that one of Nietzsche’s primary goals is to examine the conditions under which human beings devised the notions of good and evil.2 Accordingly, I will look at how morality is said to have originated, with specific attention paid to the role that the concept of guilt (schuld3) is said to play in its development. It will be shown that Nietzsche’s account offers two primary catalysts for the origin of morality. First, he identifies the internalization of man4 as the point in which human beings created an inner-life in which moral valuation could take place, and second, he analyzes the creditor-debtor relationship and shows how it leads to a point where morality seemingly becomes necessary.
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