Nietzsche's 'Interpretation' in the Genealogy

Nietzsche, Genealogy, In the preface of On the Genealogy of Morality (GM), Nietzsche tells us the third treatise of his book is an “interpretation” of the aphorism placed at the beginning of that treatise. Much work – primarily by John Wilcox, Maudemarie Clark, and Christopher Janaway – has gone into proving that the aphorism is not the quotation from Zarathustra placed at the beginning of the treatise, but that it is Section 1 (perhaps minus the last few lines) of the third treatise. I am in agreement on this point. But it seems the limited work that has been done on explaining in what sense the third treatise is an interpretation of the first aphorism is fundamentally misguided. In particular, we do not have a grasp of what Nietzsche means by ‘interpretation’. This ought to strike us as a significant hole in the literature, for it leaves misunderstood the longest of the three treatises that comprise what is widely regarded as Nietzsche’s most important and extended analysis of morality. The goal of this paper is to fill that lacuna by illustrating 1) the inadequacies of a theory of what Nietzsche means to be doing in the third treatise, 2) what the right – that is, Nietzsche’s – understanding of ‘interpretation’ is, 3) how we ought to approach the third treatise, and 4) the particular impacts this approach has on our reading of the third treatise. In the course of proving these theses other influential readings of Nietzsche are challenged, in particular those concerning Nietzsche’s conception of the will to power and his perspectivism.
Keywords Nietzsche  Genealogy  interpretation  Third treatise
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DOI 10.1080/09608788.2010.502354
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Elijah Millgram (2007). Who Was Nietzsche's Genealogist? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (1):92–110.

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