Talk:On the Genealogy of Morality

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NOTE: It would be usefull if all page numbers changed to section numbers, possibly with paragraph numbers also. Since many of the sections are small and they do not change per publisher or translator, its a more concrete way to reference Nietzsche.

Essay Three[edit]

This is drafty stuff waiting to go into the Essay Three section.

What is ascetic - sec 8 "the three splendid slogans of the ascetic ideal are well known: poverty, humility, chastity."

not as as if they were virtues - the most natural conditions of their (the philosopher's- the noble cf. Beyond Good & Evil? -the inventive-) optimum experience. preconditions of their fruitfulness.

"stuggled to maintain the will against a ... profligate generosity of hand (LOL) and heart".

No question of chastity resulting from hatred of the senses (cf. N critique of christianity - if thine eye offend thee- pluck it out), but as a result of spirituality as domineering instict- overcomes temptations.

"every artist knows how harmful the effects of sexual intercourse are when in the condition of great spiritual tension and preparation.

Schopenhauer - the sight of the beautiful fuelled his principal strength - shrewdness, perspicatity, contemplation.

Thus the aesthetic sublimates the sexual instict into a stimulus of the creative faculty- into a tool of the individual's will - into a tool of the Will to Power.

rather than a will to power over a single isolated part of life (the carpenter, the sailor, the politician, the fiction author, the teacher) the valuation of the ascetic seeks power over all life.

thus "come as no surprise that philosophers have always been favourably biased in thier treatment of the ascetic ideal."

one step further - the philosopher as an outcome of the ascetic ideal - as an upshot of ascetic values (adopting the genealogical method -tracing origins-).

the valuation of the ascetic as preceding the philosopher. the philosopher as a consequence.

inactive, brooding, unwarlike character of contemplative personality aroused deep mistrust. - the priest, the prophet - the religious man (valuing ascetiscism and the dominance of spirituality over sexuality).

the ascetic ideal is derived from the protective and healing instincts of the degenerating life. the ascetic ideal is a means of struggle against death (nihlism).

desire to overcome sickliness - this desire as otherworldly - however, this desire for otherworlds binding the ascetic preist more closely to life - he becomes a shepherd, leading the suffering, as an instruement of his otherworldly vision.


Is it possible that Nietzsche partly influenced Nozick's philosophical work 'Invariances' in the last section title The Genealogy of Ethics? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:39, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Golffling Translation[edit]

The page says that there is a translation for free somewhere:

The Birth of Tragedy and The Genealogy of Morals, translated by Francis Golffling, Garden City NY: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1956 (very free translation, superseded by later versions)

But I can not find it at all. Why is this not on Gutenberg? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 15:02, 4 January 2007 (UTC).

It ought to have been "Golffing." It is probably not yet in the public domain. NeveudeRameau 18:01, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

in this context, "free" might have been intended to mean "careless" or "inventive". 23:11, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Francis Golffing's translation was a free translation because it did not strictly translate Nietzsche's German words into exactly corresponding English words. Golffing felt free to use his own words in many places. This does not mean "free" in the sense that you don't have to pay money for the book.Lestrade (talk) 23:13, 30 April 2010 (UTC)Lestrade

Nietzsche's AntiBlack White Racism[edit]

On the Genealogy of Morals. Trans. Douglas Smith. Oxford University Press, 1998. , p. 49:

"By way of consolation to the more delicate, perhaps in those does pain did not hurt as much as it does today. At least, that might be the conclusion of a physician who has treated Negroes* (these taken as representatives of prehistoric man--) for serious cases of internal inflammation; such inflammation would bring even the best-organized European to the brink of despair--but this is not the case with Negroes. (The curve of human capacity for pain seems in fact to fall off extraordinarily abruptly, once past the upper ten thousand or ten million of the higher culture; and I personally have no doubt that in comparison with a single painful night undergone by one hysterical little bluestocking, the total suffering of all the animals put to the knife in the interests of scientific research simply does not enter into consideration.)"

Note 49 by Douglas Smith, p. 147: "Nietzsche's terminology and views here are clearly racist, assuming an evolutionary difference between white European and black African."

James Winchester, "Nietzsche's Racial Profiling" in Race and Racism in Modern Philosophy. Ed. Walls, Andrew. Cornell University Press, 2005. 255:

"At one point Nietzsche suggests that black skin may be a sign of lesser intelligence as well as a sign that one is closer to the apes (Dawn/Daybreak 241). Nietzsche clearly shares some of the basic tenets of nineteenth-century race theory ... In On the Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche writes that Negroes are representatives of prehistoric men (vorgeschlictlichen Menschen) who are capable of enduring pain that would drive the best-organized European to despair (Genealogy 2.7). Today most would see this claim about Africans as a prejudice. Who today would defend the claim that blacks feel pain less acutely than whites, particularly given that such a characterization could be used to justify the enslavement and maltreatment of blacks? ... William Preston uses this passage to make the claim that Nietzsche is a cruel racist, and there are in fact many places that support this claim (William A. Preston, "Nietzsche on Blacks" in Existence in Black: An Anthology of Black Existential Philosophy. Gordon, Lewis. Routledge, 1997, 169). Preston also argues that Nietzsche is equating Negroes to lab animals and that Nietzsche feels that blacks are worth so little that men of distinction will not derive much pleasure in oppressing them. As we have already seen, Nietzsche states unambiguously that cruelty is essential to every 'higher' culture..."

"In On the Genealogy of Morals, we find a discussion of the Aryan race, which is, Nietzsche proclaims, white. Against Rudolf Virchow, whom Nietzsche credits with having created a careful ethnographic map of Germany, Nietzsche argues that dark-haired peoples of Germany cannot be Celtic. Germany's dark-haired people are essentially pre-Aryan. Nietzsche further argues that suppressed races are coming to the fore again in Europe, and one can see this on the basis of the emergence of darker coloring and shorter skulls. He says it is even possible that modern democracy, or even more likely modern anarchism and the inclination for the commune, 'the most primitive form of society which is now shared by all socialists in Europe', is a sign of the counter-attack of the pre-Aryan races. The Aryan race may very well be in a state of physiological decline..."

Gooding-Williams, Robert, "SUPPOSING NIETZSCHE TO BE BLACK--WHAT THEN?" in (same author) Look, a Negro!: Philosophical Essays on Race, Culture and Politics. Routledge, 2005.

"While new and still newer Nietzsches continue to thrive...older Nietzsches remain-one of which is Nietzsche, the philosopher of aristocratic radicalism, but likewise the brutally scathing critic of socialism, feminism, and liberalism-indeed, of all forms of modern egalitarianism. This, for example, is the figure Georg Lukacs describes in writing that Nietzsche's 'whole life's work was a continuous polemic against Marxism and socialism' (The Destruction of Reason). Similarly, it is the figure William Preston evokes when...he insists that 'Nietzsche's whole philosophy-and not just his view of blacks-is racist.' In an essay meant for an anthology devoted to black existentialism ('Nietzsche on Blacks' in Existence in Black: An Anthology of Black Existential Philosophy. Gordon, Lewis. Routledge, 1997, 169), Preston asks, 'Can Nietzsche help black existentialists find answers to their own questions?' 'No' is Preston's clear response to this question, but a careful reading of his argument urges a still stronger conclusion-namely, that progressive philosophers given to a serious engagement with issues like white supremacy, colonialism, black politics, and black identity-whether or not they are existentialists, and whether or not they are black-have no use for Nietzsche. Preston tends toward this conclusion when he claims that Nietzsche saw suffering black people as laboratory animals that he wanted 'to make ... suffer more.' In effect, Preston argues that black and other progressives have no use for Nietzsche, because Nietzsche was a 'cruel racist' and a forwardlooking, trans-European 'man of the Right.'

...In his excellent essay on Nietzsche and colonialism, Robert Holub remarks that events heralding Germany's emergence as a colonial power (Germany began to acquire colonies in Africa and the Pacific in 1884) 'reached their height during the years that Nietzsche was composing his major works' ('Nietzsche's Colonialist Imagination: Nueva Germania, Good Europeanism, and Great Politics' in The Imperialist Imagination: German Colonialism and its Legacy, ed. Sara Friedrichsmeyer, Sara Lennox). Holub also reminds his readers that Nietzsche became personally involved with colonialism through the adventures of his sister and brother-in-law, Elisabeth and Bernhard Forster, founders of the Paraguayan colony of Nueva Germania. Finally, and most important for my purposes, Holub recognizes that this personal involvement has 'a philosophical counterpart in [Nietzsche's] writings.' More exactly, he acknowledges that Nietzsche's philosophical imagination becomes a colonialist imagination when it conjures the images of the 'good European' and a 'great politics' to envision a caste of 'new philosophers' that would rule Europe and subjugate the entire earth. A critic of the sort of nationalism the Forsters embraced,

Nietzsche endorsed a supranationalist imperialism, and his 'untimeliness ... involves his unusual way of approaching the problems posed by foreign affairs and world politics. Eschewing the nationalist, mercantile, and utopian/idealist approach to colonization, he developed ... a conceptual framework that entailed a geopolitical perspective. In the 'good European' he found a term for a future elite that could overcome the nation-state, create a superior cultural life, and achieve domination of the world. With 'great politics' he offered an alternative to parliamentary life and actual colonial fantasies, as well as a vague blueprint for global conquest on a grand scale.'

Holub's description of Nietzsche's geopolitics helps put Preston's remarks into perspective. Thus, when Preston describes Nietzsche as a forward-looking, trans-European 'man of the Right,' he alludes to Nietzsche's colonialist fantasy of a future, European elite that would dominate the world beyond Europe. When he describes Nietzsche as a racist, he reminds us that this fantasy is, in part, the fantasy of a black Africa subjected to European rule, and that Nietzsche's antiblack racism (evident, for example, in his suggestion that the black race is less intelligent than the white races; see Daybreak, aphorism 241; On the Genealogy of Morals, second essay, aphorism 7, where Nietzsche takes blacks as representatives of prehistoric man) in tandem with his enthusiasm for breeding higher human beings, suggests that he imagined an 'imperialism of the future' as involving the domination of racially inferior black Africans by racially superior white Europeans. In short, Preston exposes the white supremacist connotations of Nietzsche's colonialist imagination."

Cf. Abir Taha, Nietzsche, Prophet of Nazism: The Cult of the Superman: Unveiling the Nazi Secret Doctrine; William Preston, Nietzsche as Antisocialist —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:58, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Black, black, black. That's all you hear today. After a while it gets sickening.Lestrade (talk) 23:03, 30 April 2010 (UTC)Lestrade

Fair use rationale for Image:GenealogyofMorality.gif[edit]

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Bias Toward Specific Edition, and Title[edit]

This article's infobox seems biased toward a particular translation of the work, going so far as to make it the theme of the infobox. I also notice that the title of the article follows that of that translation, while in most of the literature I've seen it translated as On the Genealogy of Morals. Personally, I'm partial to the latter — Zur Genealogie der Moral should be different from Zur Genealogie der Moralität — but I think the deciding factor is what most scholars call it. What does everyone think? Has this been discussed already? RJC Talk Contribs 05:35, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

I had the same thought, so I've been looking around to see who's using what translation. So far as I can tell, scholars are split on this issue. On the Genealogy of Morals seems to be the older, more established translation. On the Genealogy of Morality is newer, but it seems to be gaining some momentum and is supported by some prominent scholars. Some links:
I don't really have a preference as to which translation we use for the title of the Wikipedia article. I do, however, think it would be good to note somewhere in the article that the title has commonly used alternate translations. I also agree that, if possible, the infobox should not list info for a specific translation/edition/printing of the text.Fixer1234 (talk) 14:48, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree. Both titles seem to be used, but the version with "Morals" is, I think, the more established and better known name in English. The "principle of least surprise" suggests it should be there, I think. john k (talk) 02:58, 11 September 2008 (UTC)


"It is a work of sustained brilliance and power"? Please. DDSaeger (talk) 00:26, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

This is not mere opinion. It is supported with a citation (and others to the same effect could be added). Check it out. ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 01:27, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
It is mere opinion, even if it has a citation. It is clearly a judgement of value. If I were to write the sentence: "Barack Obama is a better politician than John McCain", it will be inappropriate and a judgement of value regardless of how many citations I come up with. DDSaeger (talk) 19:16, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
You're missing the point. It is a value judgment but not one by a mere editor of Wikipedia. If there is a consensus among Nietzsche scholars that this work is considered his "masterpiece" and that it is a work of "sustained brilliance", then it merits inclusion in an encyclopedia. I quote:
"Providing an overview of the common interpretations of a creative work, preferably with citations or references to notable individuals holding that interpretation, is appropriate. For instance, that Shakespeare is widely considered one of the greatest authors of the English language is a bit of knowledge that one should learn from an encyclopedia. Public and scholarly critique of an artist or work, when well-researched and verifiable, helps to put the work into context and enhances the credibility of the article; idiosyncratic opinions of individual Wikipedia contributors, however, do not." - NPOV#Characterizing_opinions_of_people.27s_work ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 19:52, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
This is correct, but I don't think we can say that there is the same consensus that On the Genealogy of Morals is a work of sustained brilliance and power; I think it is, but not everyone who counts as a Nietzsche scholar likes Nietzsche. I also wouldn't go so far as to call it his masterpiece, it being presented as an addendum to Beyond Good and Evil. RJC TalkContribs 20:06, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
[edit-conflicted]I think you are selectively quoting from NPOV, Alcmaeonid. As much as I agree with the sentiments of the scholars quoted, the assessment that the Genealogy is "a work of sustained brilliance and power" is an opinion, not a fact. Per WP:ASF: "When we discuss an opinion, we attribute the opinion to someone and discuss the fact that they have this opinion. For instance, rather than asserting that "The Beatles were the greatest band ever", locate a source such as Rolling Stone magazine and say: "Rolling Stone said that the Beatles were the greatest band ever", and include a reference to the issue in which that statement was made. Likewise, the statement "Most people from Liverpool believe that the Beatles were the greatest band ever" can be made if it can be supported by references to a particular survey; a claim such as "The Beatles had many songs that made the UK Singles Chart" can also be made, because it is verifiable as fact. The first statement asserts a personal opinion; the second asserts the fact that an opinion exists and attributes it to reliable sources." With respect, it's clear cut. the skomorokh 20:09, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Gentlemen, I yield to your judgment. Please adjust the lead section as you see fit. Permit me though to also point out that the sentence under discussion is the only cited & referenced statement in the entire article, an article that reads like a undergraduate essay. Much work needs to be done here. ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 15:14, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Aye, as usual we are guilty of quibbling over minor details instead of addressing the greater issues involved. Thanks for your consideration Alcmaeonid. the skomorokh 17:16, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Too true. RJC TalkContribs 00:13, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia articles are "Wertfrei," or "value–free."Lestrade (talk) 23:07, 30 April 2010 (UTC)Lestrade

Socrates: "What do you mean by the word 'brilliant,' Vipmonides? And how was 'power' manifested?"
Vipmonides: "To be sure, can you tell me, Socrates?"

Lestrade (talk) 01:40, 5 February 2011 (UTC)Lestrade

Title of Second Essay[edit]

I've changed the title of the second essay from "'Guilt,' 'Bad Conscience," and the Related Matters," to "... and the Like" because this is the better translation; it is used by Kaufmann and others. It is superior to the previous translation; it contextualizes the problems to be discussed, stressing the connection to Nietzsche's Platonic and Aristotelian precursors for whom "the Like" was discussed as if it were an actual, substantial thing (this is perhaps not necessary to insert into this discussion, but I'll just say it anyway, as I'd rather avoid affording you twits an opportunity to chuckle about the "backwards" thinking of the Greeks - such discussions, conducted by Nietzsche's Greek forbears, discussed "the Like" as if it were a substantial "thing" for pedagogical reasons, and never imagined it to inhabit Mars or the Big Dipper). You may easily confirm for yourselves the importance of the "the Like," selfsameness, and identity generally in the essay - consult the text: the final sentence of the first chapter, the second sentence of the second chapter, and many others besides will assure you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:09, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

Hmm... that isn't really a sufficient enough reason, nor does it square with the German "Verwandtes", stemming from verwandt meaning related which has strong associations with family relations (genealogy). In addition, Nietzsche expresses in the text a fairly profound dislike for Plato. The Cambridge translations correct a number of errors made by Kaufmann, and they use the title "Related matters" and don't have a like among like in the second sentence of the second section like Kaufmann does. A quick consultation of the original German suggests that in the first section, the phrase is "Vorstellung" and under the second it's "gleich unter den Gleichen" (equal amongst equals in Cambridge, although it's ambiguous: could express equivalence or similitarity). In any case, I don't think your argument is ueberwiegend stark, and given that I don't actually see a discussion of "the Like" in the essay, I'm not sure that it's convincing. For someone writing about Nietzsche, you could stand to be a bit more of a philologist and consult the German. (talk) 13:12, 13 February 2011 (UTC)


Is it possible that Nietzsche partly influenced Nozick's philosophical work 'Invariances' in the last section title The Genealogy of Ethics? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:41, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

"English Psychologists"[edit]

Nietzsche's term "English Psychologists" refers to the Utilitarians whom he paralleled with Christianity Kantianism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Carlon (talkcontribs) 20:33, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

"Dietrich von Hildebrand"[edit]

Dietrich von Hildebrand was a giant German Philosopher (born in Italy but raised as a German) He in particular made enormous contributions to the subject of morality, being an ardent opposer of the 3rd Reich.

There ought to be an entry here about him. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:6:3A80:3ED:1541:BE3A:89F5:40AD (talk) 20:24, 4 September 2014 (UTC)