Slave Morality and the Revaluation of Values

Abstract

What exactly does Nietzsche mean when he describes himself as an 'immoralist'? Does he really reject all morality? Confounding the issue, Nietzsche himself seems to take a number of conflicting positions on the topic of morality. What is he really attacking - the moral values themselves or merely the effects of those values? Is he a moral nihilist, or is his criticism simply aimed at specific forms of morality? I maintain that neither of these possibilities is the case. Instead, I argue that Nietzsche's immoralism is best understood in a straightforward literal sense - namely, Nietzsche is not a new kind of moralist offering a new moral system but an unapologetic iconoclast who challenges, not merely certain forms of morality, but morality itself. However, I argue that this does not commit him to some sort of value nihilism. Nietzsche is not opposed to valuing, just moral ways of valuing. Instead, Nietzsche's values are related to health versus sickness - values that are ultimately rooted in Nietzsche's notion of the will to power. I maintain that this is what he means by a `revaluation of all values' - he wants to reorient the very way in which we value. Chapter 1 explores Nietzsche's critique of the various forms of morality while Chapter 2 establishes the anchor for his revaluation of values in the form of the will to power and his notion of health. In Chapter 3 I examine the sickness of the ascetic ideal while Chapter 4 contrasts Paul's revaluation with Nietzsche's. In the final chapter I contrast Nietzsche's positive ideal of health with the full array of sick types delineated in Chapter 2. Based on this analysis, I then articulate Nietzsche's positive views in connection to major features of his thought like the will to power and the eternal return.

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