The first essay, "'Good and Evil,' 'Good and Bad'" contrasts what Nietzsche calls "master morality" and "slave morality." Master morality was developed by the strong, healthy, and free, who saw their own happiness as good and named it thus. By contrast, they saw those who were weak, unhealthy, and enslaved as "bad," since their weakness was undesirable. By contrast, the slaves, feeling oppressed by these wealthy and happy masters, called the masters "evil," and called themselves "good" by contrast.
The second essay, "'Guilt,' 'Bad Conscience,' and the like" deals with (surprise, surprise) guilt, bad conscience, and the like. Nietzsche traces the origins of concepts such as guilt and punishment, showing that originally they were not based on any sense of moral transgression. Rather, guilt simply meant that a debt was owed and punishment was simply a form of securing repayment. Only with the rise of slave morality did these moral concepts gain their present meanings. Nietzsche identifies bad conscience as our tendency to see ourselves as sinners and locates its origins in the need that came with the development of society to inhibit our animal instincts for aggression and cruelty and to turn them inward upon ourselves.
Central to Nietzsche's critique, then, is an attempt at genealogy that will show the winding and undirected route our different moral concepts have taken to arrive in their present shape. Morality is generally treated as sacred because we assume that there is some transcendental ground for our morals, be it God, reason, tradition, or something else. Yet contrary to our assumption that "good," "bad," or "evil" have always had the same meanings, Nietzsche's genealogical method shows how these terms have evolved, shattering any illusion as to the continuity or absolute truth of our present moral concepts.
In , we saw that Nietzsche’s critique of morality rests crucially onpsychological analyses that purport to expose the self-destructiveeffects of moral attitudes like guilt and ascetic self-denial, as wellas the corrosive mismatch between the official claims of altruisticmorality and its underlying motivation in ressentiment. Onthe positive side, Nietzsche is equally keen to detail thepsychological conditions he thinks would be healthier for bothindividuals and cultures (see, e.g., GS Pref. and 382;BGE 212; TI V, 3 and VIII, 6–7). Thus,Nietzsche’s psychology is central to his evaluative agenda andto his projects as a cultural critic. Aside from its instrumentalsupport for these other projects, Nietzsche pursues psychologicalinquiry for its own sake, and apparently also for the sake of theself-knowledge that it intrinsically involves (GM III, 9;GS Pref., 3 and 324; but cf. GM Pref., 1). Still,despite widespread appreciation of Nietzsche’s psychologicalacumen that started with Freud himself—and despite thecentrality of psychology to his philosophical method, core questions,and evaluative aims—even the most basic outlines of hissubstantive psychology remain a matter of controversy. Debate beginswith the object of psychology itself, the psyche, self, or soul.
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Given Nietzsche’s personal commitment to truthfulness and hisargument that its absence amounts to cowardice, it is no surprise tofind him, third, attacking the alleged mendaciousness and intellectualcorruption of traditional religio-moral consciousness as one of thevery worst things about it. The dishonesty of the moralistic“slave revolt” is a constant theme (GM I, 14; seealso Janaway 2007: 102–4, and GM I, 10, 13; II, 11;III, 26; TI V, 5; VI, 7; A 15, 24, 26–7, 36,38, 42, 44, 47, 48–53, 55–6), and it elicits some ofNietzsche’s most extreme and indignant rhetoric:
Perspectivism in Nietzsche's Genealogy of morals / Brian Leiter --
SparkNotes: Genealogy of Morals: Most Nietzsche scholars read the third essay of On the Genealogy Though the first (On the Genealogy of Morals, Third Essay.
Overview: Nietzsche’s Approach to Morality
the SparkNotes Genealogy of Morals Study Guide has there was no shortage of conflict and genealogy of morals third essay sparknotes excitement in the.