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The Genealogy of Morals [Paperback]

Friedrich Nietzsche
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 23 2003 Dover Thrift Editions

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up a contrast between what he calls "master" morality and "slave" morality and shows how strength and action have often been replaced by passivity and nihilism.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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The Genealogy of Morals + Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future + Thus Spake Zarathustra
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From the Back Cover

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up a contrast between what he calls "master" morality and "slave" morality and shows how strength and action have often been replaced by passivity and nihilism.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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important work Feb. 7 2006
By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This particular piece of Nietzsche's writing is a marvelous work - it is interesting and lively, much as Nietzsche's own writing and tendency toward the dramatic was noted by his contemporaries.
Nietzsche's father was a Lutheran minister, but he died five years after Nietzsche's birth in 1844. Nietzsche was raised by his mother, grandmother and aunts; later in his life, his sister would become executor of his estate (after Nietzsche had become incapable of managing his own affairs) and reshape his philosophy and writings in her own idea - this becomes a running motif in later anthologies of Nietzsche; editors can quote and clip to fit their own agendas. In some ways, that is true of the text here, but in much less inappropriate ways than others, particularly Nietzsche's first editor, his sister.
Nietzsche was a star pupil from his earliest days at university in Bonn and Leipzig. His formal study was in classical philology, but his attentions turned in various directions quickly during his writing and professional life - he had an intense interest in drama and the arts, with Wagner's music and Greek drama in principal interest. His first book was devoted to these topics - 'The Birth of Tragedy'. It was not highly regarded at the time, but has since become much more appreciated as an anticipation of later developments in philosophy and aesthetics.
Nietzsche's life after this period was a very choppy one - he left the university, claiming illness, and while this developed later to be a true situation, at the time is was probably academic politics and difficulties fitting in with the establishment he was trying to break. He had a formal falling-out with Wagner, even writing later a piece entitled ' Nietzsche contra Wagner', finished just a few week prior to his going insane.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing Aug. 18 2004
Format:Paperback
Nietzsche, like no other philosopher that I have read, has changed the way that I see the world. This is a book to read if you want to learn something about yourself. Nietzsche may have gone insane and had delusions that he was God, but he revolutionised modern thought. There is a special place in hell for German philosophers, but it's a place that's worth visiting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Awful translation Jan. 28 2013
Format:Paperback
Dover Thrift Editions are cheap and budget friendly. However, the translations they use are dated and awkward to modern readers. This book is an excellent example of awkward. One sentence on page 2 has 10 comma's! Whatever point the author was trying to make was completely butchered in this translation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than meets the eye Dec 20 2012
By murray TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Near the end of Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche figured out a new technique for esoteric writing, and wrote: Whenever a man finishes building his house, he discovers what he needed to know to begin. Then he wrote On the Geneology of Morals.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Master and Slave moralities Oct. 11 2010
By sean s. TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
On the Genealogy of Morals was published by Nietzsche in 1887.

He uses his genealogical method to uncover and analyze the dramatic differences between a Good vs. Bad morality originating among Masters, and a Good vs. Evil morality originating among Slaves.

Though the terminology used by the two groups may be similar, the origins, meanings and consequences couldn't be further apart.

Nietzsche writes that "the judgement 'good' did not originate among those to whom goodness was shown. Rather, it was 'the good' themselves, that is to say, the noble, powerful, high-stationed and high-minded who felt and established themselves and their actions as good, that is, of the first rank, in contradistinction to all the low, low-minded, common and plebeian. It was out of this pathos of distance that they first seized the right to create values and to coin names for values... that is the origin of the antithesis 'good' and 'bad'."

The Masters defined themselves as 'good' as the result of "a powerful physicality, a flourishing, abundant, even overflowing health."

The Slaves, or more specifically the "representatives" of the Slaves, the Jewish and Christian priests, "dared to invert the aristocratic value equation (good = noble = powerful = beautiful = happy = beloved of God), saying 'the wretched alone are the good; the poor, impotent, lowly alone are the good; the suffering, deprived, sick, ugly alone are pious, alone are blessed by God, and you, the powerful and noble, are on the contrary the evil, the cruel, the lustful, the insatiable, the godless to all eternity; and you shall be in all eternity the unblessed, accursed and damned!".
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