This is a summary/commentary on Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morality.


Historical refutation as the definitive refutation. – In former times, one sought to prove that there is no God – today one indicates how the belief that there is a God could arise and how this belief acquired its weight and importance: a counter-proof that there is no God thereby becomes superfluous. – When in former times one had refuted the ‘proofs of the existence of God’ put forward, there always remained the doubt whether better proofs might not be adduced than those just refuted: in those days atheists did not know how to make a clean sweep. (D, §95)

Greatest of all is the one who can be the most solitary, the most hidden, the most different, the person beyond good and evil, the master of his virtues, the one with an abundance of will. (BGE, §212)

Preface

§1 “We are unknown to ourselves”, we do not understand ourselves, we mistake who we are [presumably N is going to help us to know more about ourselves]

§2 GM is about the origins and descent of our ‘moral prejudices’. N is confident that he is right!

§3 What is origin of terms ‘good’ & ‘evil’? God? no: origin of evil ¬ beyond world. Under what conditions did man invent these value judgements? what is the value of these values? ­ or ¯ human flourishing? sign of distress, poverty, degeneration? or fullness, strength, courage, confidence?

§5 question of origin of morality Þ question of value of morality. sceptical of unegoistic ‘virtues’: compassion, self-denial, self-sacrifice – detrimental to life

§6 “we need a critique of moral values, the value of these values should itself, for once, be examined – and so we need to know about the conditions and circumstances under which the values grew up, developed and changed… People have taken the value of these ‘values’ as given, as factual, as beyond questioning”

is ‘good man’ higher value than ‘evil man’? higher = advancement, prosperity, benefit of man in general, inc. in future. perhaps opposite true? perhaps ‘good man’ has trait which benefits present at expense of future? so morality could Þ man never reaching highest potential power & splendour?

§8 we shouldn’t just take N’s words at face-value; we need to interpret them, ruminate