Nietzsche and Max Scheler on 'Ressentiment': An Inquiry Into the Substructure of Hate

Dissertation, Depaul University (1988)

Ressentiment, a subject important for the late Nietzsche and the early Scheler, has not beome a highly debated or highly visible topic in Nietzsche and Scheler research or in twentieth century thought. One of the chief goals of my dissertation is to demonstrate the importance of ressentiment not only with respect to Nietzsche and Scheler studies, but to philosophical thinking in general. My inquiry compares and synthesizes the two thinkers' views on ressentiment. More than that, it goes beyond their views on ressentiment and enunciates original views in the following areas: the justification why the impulse for revenge and envy are the de facto starting points of ressentiment, the elucidation of Scheler's sketchy conspectus of the progression of feeling toward ressentiment, the emphasis of the "refeeling" element of ressentiment, which is interrelated to a wholly new way of understanding how repression functions within the ressentiment experience, propounding a theory that shows precisely how ressentiment falsifies value, a comprehensive characterization of ressentiment, an historical overview in chronological order of important ressentiment figures, movements, peoples, and concepts, which reveals the historical geneses of ressentiment and how it is transmitted down through the ages, a demonstration revealing that Nietzsche and Scheler set forth "ways" of preventing ressentiment, but not "ways" to overcome it. In bold strokes, let me present the major aspects of my dissertation. In the initial chapter, I lay the groundwork for an understanding of ressentiment, examining, among other things, ressentiment types. Chapter 2 is devoted to explicating value from both Nietzche's and Scheler's viewpoints, the rationale for this being that we must understand what is being falsified before we can know how ressentiment falsifies it. In the third chapter, the phenomenon of ressentiment is circumscribed, as I discuss its starting points, the progression of feeling toward ressentiment, the rudiments of ressentiment, and conclude with a comprehensive characterization of it. Chapter 4 offers an historical overview of ressentiment figures, movements, peoples, and concepts, with an in-depth analysis of whether or not Christianity is tinged by ressentiment. The concluding chapter shows various "ways" by which ressentiment can be prevented and asserts that while ressentiment can be prevented, it cannot be overcome
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