Who Was Nietzsche’s Genealogist?


Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals is deservedly part of the ethical canon, but it is also be enormously and insistently absent-minded. I’m going to first present, as a textual puzzle, a handful of forgetful moments in the first two essays of the Genealogy. To address the puzzle, I will take up a familiar idea, that the Genealogy is both a subversive account of ethics and of what it is to be an intellectual. I will describe a strategy for reading the text that makes these out to be differently and more closely connected than they are usually taken to be. That will allow me to address a persistent worry in the secondary literature, by explaining how the Genealogy’s criticism of morality can be something other than an instance of the genetic fallacy, yet also not lapse into one or another form of moralism. On the way, I will suggest that Nietzsche’s text requires us to modify one of the standard constraints on interpreting philosophical writing.

Download options


    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,743

External links

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

Through your library


Added to PP

67 (#174,913)

6 months
2 (#258,871)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Elijah Millgram
University of Utah

References found in this work

Vagueness and Contradiction.Roy A. Sorensen - 2001 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Nietzsche, Life as Literature.Alexander Nehamas - 1985 - Harvard University Press.
Nietzsche on Morality.Brian Leiter - 2002/2014 - Routledge.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations