The Relation between Sovereignty and Guilt in Nietzsche's Genealogy

European Journal of Philosophy 20 (S1):E107-e142 (2012)
Abstract
This paper interprets the relation between sovereignty and guilt in Nietzsche's Genealogy. I argue that, contrary to received opinion, Nietzsche was not opposed to the moral concept of guilt. I analyse Nietzsche's account of the emergence of the guilty conscience out of a pre-moral bad conscience. Drawing attention to Nietzsche's references to many different forms of conscience and analogizing to his account of punishment, I propose that we distinguish between the enduring and the fluid elements of a ‘conscience’, defining the enduring element as the practice of forming self-conceptions. I show that for Nietzsche, the moralization of the bad conscience results from mixing it with the material concepts of guilt and duty, a process effected by prehistoric religious institutions by way of the concept of god. This moralization furnishes a new conception of oneself as a responsible agent and holds the promise of sovereignty by giving us a freedom unknown to other creatures, but at the price of our becoming subject to moral guilt. According to Nietzsche, however, the very forces that made it possible have spoiled this promise and, under the pressures of the ascetic ideal, a harmful notion of responsibility understood in terms of sin now dominates our lives. Thus, to fully realize our sovereignty, we must liberate ourselves from this sinful conscience
Keywords Nietzsche  Sovereignty  Guilt  Autonomy  Conscience  Free Will  Sin  Nihilism  Ascetic Ideal
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0378.2011.00484.x
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 29,472
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Nietzsche and Philosophy.Gilles Deleuze & Michael Hardt (eds.) - 2006 - Cambridge University Press.
A Theory of Justice.John Rawls - 2009 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Philosophy and Rhetoric. Oxford University Press. pp. 133-135.
Nietzsche on Free Will, Autonomy and the Sovereign Individual.Ken Gemes & Christopher Janaway - 2006 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes( 80 (1):321-357.

View all 29 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Nietzsche Contra Freud on Bad Conscience.Donovan Miyasaki - 2010 - Nietzsche-Studien 39 (1):434-454.
Guilt, Bad Conscience, and Self-Punishment in Nietzsche's Genealogy.Christopher Janaway - 2007 - In Brian Leiter & Neil Sinhababu (eds.), Nietzsche and Morality. Oxford University Press. pp. 138--54.
Friedrich Nietzsche: A Philosopher of Immoralism?Rafael Pangilinan - 2009 - Lumina: An Interdisciplinary Research and Scholarly Journal of Holy Name University 20 (2):1-28.
On God and Guilt: A Reply to Aaron Ridley.Mathias Risse - 2005 - Journal of Nietzsche Studies 29 (1):46-53.
Arendt and Nietzsche on Responsibility and Futurity.Rosalyn Diprose - 2008 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 34 (6):617-642.
How Does the Ascetic Ideal Function in Nietzsche's Genealogy?Lawrence J. Hatab - 2008 - Journal of Nietzsche Studies 35 (1):106-123.
Added to PP index
2011-09-29

Total downloads
65 ( #85,689 of 2,210,836 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #355,701 of 2,210,836 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature