The Relevance of History for Moral Philosophy: A Study of Nietzsche's Genealogy

In Simon May (ed.), Nietzsche's 'On the Genealogy of Morality': A Critical Guide. Cambridge University Press (2011)
The Genealogy takes a historical form. But does the history play an essential role in Nietzsche's critique of modern morality? In this essay, I argue that the answer is yes. The Genealogy employs history in order to show that acceptance of modern morality was causally responsible for producing a dramatic change in our affects, drives, and perceptions. This change led agents to perceive actual increases in power as reductions in power, and actual decreases in power as increases in power. Moreover, it led agents to experience negative emotions when engaging in activities that constitute greater manifestations of power, and positive emotions when engaging in activities that reduce power. For these reasons, modern morality strongly disposes agents to reduce their own power. Given Nietzsche’s argument that power has a privileged normative status, these facts entail that we have a reason to reject modern morality.
Keywords Nietzsche  morality  history  genealogy  will to power
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,201
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Mark Alfano (2013). The Most Agreeable of All Vices: Nietzsche as Virtue Epistemologist. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (4):767-790.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Martin Saar (2008). Understanding Genealogy: History, Power, and the Self. Journal of the Philosophy of History 2 (3):295-314.
James Genone (2001). Genealogy and Will to Power. Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 57 (2):285 - 298.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

141 ( #29,771 of 1,940,976 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

11 ( #88,256 of 1,940,976 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.