Artificial and Unconscious Selection in Nietzsche's Genealogy: Expectorating the Poisoned Pill of the Lamarckian Reading

Genealogy 3:1-23 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX


I examine three kinds of criticism directed at philosophical genealogy. I call these substantive, performative, and semantic. I turn my attention to a particular substantive criticism that one may launch against essay two of On the Genealogy of Morals that turns on how Nietzsche answers “the time-crunch problem”. On the surface, there is evidence to suggest that Nietzsche accepts a false scientific theory, namely, Lamarck’s Inheritability Thesis, in order to account for the growth of a new human “organ”—morality. I demonstrate that the passages interpreted by some scholars to prove that Nietzsche is a Lamarckian can be reinterpreted along Darwinian lines. I demonstrate that Nietzsche hits upon the right drivers of phenotypical change in humans, namely, torture and enclosures (e.g., walls of early states), but misinterprets their true impact. Nietzsche believes that these technologies are responsible for producing what I call “culture-serving memory” and the bad conscience by causing emotions that once were expressed outwardly to turn inward causing the “psychological digestion” of the human animal. In reality, however, these mechanisms are conducive to breeding a particular type of individual, namely, one who is docile, by introducing artificial and unconscious selective pressures into the environment of early humans. In showing that Nietzsche’s genealogical account of memory and bad conscience is not underpinned on a false scientific theory and is consistent with Neo-Darwinism, I deflect a potentially fatal blow regarding the veracity of Nietzsche’s genealogies.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,419

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Nietzsche e a Psicanálise.Alfredo Neto - 1997 - Cadernos Nietzsche 2:41-53.
Nietzsche's Modernism: Dialectics and Genealogy.Adam Rosen-Carole - 2012 - Idealistic Studies 42 (2-3):161-225.
Genealogy and Irony.Robert Guay - 2011 - Journal of Nietzsche Studies 41 (1):26-49.
Nietzsche’s Genealogy: A Textbook Parody.Andrew Inkpin - 2018 - Nietzsche Studien 47 (1):140-166.
Nietzsche’s Pragmatic Genealogy of Justice.Matthieu Queloz - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (4):727-749.
Nietzsche, Sin and Redemption.Renée C. F. Reitsma - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Essex


Added to PP

45 (#262,150)

6 months
9 (#96,348)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Brian Lightbody
Brock University

References found in this work

The Emotional Construction of Morals.Jesse Prinz - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Nietzsche, Genealogy, History.Michel Foucault - 1978 - In John Richardson & Brian Leiter (eds.), Nietzsche. Oxford University Press. pp. (139-164).

View all 35 references / Add more references