(Updated Septmber 2017)

Nietzsche`s Genealogy of Morals

This module will be devoted to a close study of Nietzsche`s 1887 On the Genealogy of Morals, one of Nietzsche`s most influential works and most difficult works. Our primary task will be interpreting the three essays that make up the Genealogy. This will involve addressing many of the most significant themes in Nietzsche`s late work, including the opposition between master and slave moralities, ressentiment, bad conscience, guilt, and nihilism. We will also consider what kind of work On the Genealogy of Morals is, taking into account Nietzsche`s emphasis on psychology, history, and genealogy, and his presentation of various figures, including the Priest, the Sovereign Individual, the Artist, and the Philosopher.

In preparation for our reading of the Genealogy, we will spend the first three weeks considering methodological issues raised by Nietzsche's emphasis on psychology and history, as well as his deployment of rhetoric. In addition to the Genealogy , we draw on his other works, including Untimely Meditations, The Gay Science, and Beyond Good and Evil.

Learning Outcomes:

This module aims to give students a better understanding of Nietzsche`s philosophical project in his late works, and the role in that project of his `attack on morality`.

By the end of the module students will:

-be prepared to write a critical essay on some aspect of Nietzsche`s On the Genealogy of Morals;

-have acquired a better understanding of Nietzsche`s position in the history of Western philosophy in general and in the history of moral philosophy in particular;

-have developed oral and written skills in philosophic exegesis and argumentation;

-have progressed in their thinking about a number of central philosophic issues, including questions concerning ethical agency, the nature of normativity, the philosophy of Christianity, and the value of modern morality.