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About the Author: Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844–1900) is a German philosopher of the late 19th century who challenged the foundations of Christianity and traditional morality. He was interested in the enhancement of individual and cultural health, and believed in life, creativity, power, and the realities of the world we live in, rather than those situated in a world beyond. Central to his philosophy is the idea of “life-affirmation,” which involves an honest questioning of all doctrines that drain life's expansive energies, however socially prevalent those views might be. Often referred to as one of the first existentialist philosophers along with Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855), Nietzsche's revitalizing philosophy has inspired leading figures in all walks of cultural life, including dancers, poets, novelists, painters, psychologists, philosophers, sociologists and social revolutionaries.

From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


The Genealogy of Morals Cover Image

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Paperback, Published in Apr 2003 by Dover Publications

ISBN10: 0486426912 | ISBN13: 9780486426914

Page count: 128

Written in response to a book on the origins of morality by his erstwhile friend Paul Rée, the three essays comprising The Genealogy of Morals — all three advancing the critique of Christian morality set forth in Beyond Good and Evil — are among Nietzsche's most sustained and cohesive work.
In the first essay — starting from a linguistic analysis of words such as "good," "bad," and "evil" — Nietzsche sets up a contrast between what he calls "master" morality and "slave" morality and shows how strength and action have often been replaced by passivity and nihilism. The next essay, looking into the origins of guilt and punishment, shows how the concept of justice was born — and how internalization of this concept led to the development of what people called "the soul." In the third essay, Nietzsche dissects the meaning of ascetic ideals.
It is not Nietzsche's intention to reject ascetic ideals, "slave" morality, or internalized values out of hand; his main concern is to show that culture and morality, rather than being eternal verities, are human-made. Whether or not you agree with all of his conclusions, his writing is of such clarity and brilliance that you will find reading The Genealogy of Morals nothing short of exhilarating.

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