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Discussing The Genealogy of Morals (mostly the first two essays) and Beyond Good and Evil Ch. 1 (The Prejudices of Philosophers), 5 (Natural History of Morals), and 9 (What is Noble?).
We go through Nietzsche's convoluted and historically improbable stories about about the transition from master to slave morality and the origin of bad conscience. Why does he diss Christianity? Is he an anti-semite? Was he a lazy, arrogant bastard? What does he actually recommend that we do?
Buy the Genalogy and Beyond Good and Evil or get them online here and here.
End song: "The Greatest F'in Song in the World," from 1998's Mark Lint and the Fake Johnson Trio Get the whole album free.
Hi there. Sorry i find the host really immature and difficult to listen to. Grow up.
Taking Nietzsche (not pronounced ‘ne shee’) literally is missing the point. Step back from your narrow agenda to see the bigger picture. Then you will have your answers. Good analysis at times, stick to that narrative.
Mark Linsenmayer says
You may appreciate our subsequent treatments of him more: http://partiallyexaminedlife.com/2013/11/11/ep84-nietzsche/ gets right at the heart of him, while http://partiallyexaminedlife.com/2015/07/06/ep119-1-nietzsche/ is, well, I’m sure you’re familiar with that book.
Oh, and sorry I find you condescending and humorless. 🙂
They’re a bunch of good friends sitting around discussing philosophy.
Don’t be such a bore, Tristan!
Starting from the beginning and this is the most interesting and accessible episode so far. I was a philosophy major as an undergrad and my dad was a Philosophy professor so this has been extremely entertaining while I am doing the more drone parts of my job. How can clever and funny guys be humorless?
Mark Linsenmayer says
Thanks! (Wait, who’s being humorless?)
Anthony Verbalis says
An informative and entertaining discussion, as usual. Thank you for reading Nietzsche, so I don’t have to. And based on your discussion, I won’t.
It seems painfully clear there is a short, straight line between Nietzsche’s ideas and the Third Reich. Nietzsche himself may not have been antisemitic, but what a gift his ideas were to racists who all too easily identify with being the master race against inferior “slave” races. I wonder what were Nietzsche’s feelings were about slavery in the US, and whether he ever wrote about it?
The man might have been brilliant, but that would just put him in the category of “evil genius”. Toxic, toxic stuff.
I don’t think that is a particularly fair criticism to call his work toxic stuff. It is easy to oversimplify and to cast a grand narrative that labels people as evil or good. After all, every hero needs a villain, and what better way to cast ourselves as virtuous.
I have always enjoyed reading Nietzsche. He is a breath of fresh air to read compared to some of the painfully tedious analytic philosophy.
One of the things that I find interesting about Nietzsche is how seriously he takes the historical and cultural contingency of moral values. He doesn’t operate on the all too common assumption that values are simply embedded within the DNA of nature waiting for any rational individual discover their self-revealing truth. As if moral values are these universal, timeless, transhistorical, transcultural realities. This seems very different than so much of modern moral philosophy.
I love much of Nietzsche’s negative criticism, but I struggle to see how his positive project can be taken seriously. The question of “what comes next” is something that always left me perplexed and usually unsatisfied. Nietzsche saw that the passing of Christendom meant that there can be no return to pagan naivete. But if the will is bound to no external measure but itself, then what sort of world would come out of such an uncertain a vision? I think he sees two paths for the future: a nihilism where the lack of transcendent aspirations turn us into insects who aspire to nothing beyond the momentary consolations of material contentment, or some great act of will, inspired by a new this-worldly myth powerful enough to replace the old and other-wordly myth of the Christianity (i.e., the myth of the Übermensch).
Maybe we are all still worshiping the shadow of the Buddha? I’m not really sure. Nonetheless, it’s difficult for me to take the Übermensch stuff seriously.
Also — I loved the comment on Nietzsche being the philosopher of the angsty adolescent. Reminded me of this existential comic: http://existentialcomics.com/comic/125
Wayne Schroeder says
Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra outlines three metamorphoses of the spirit
1) The camel which carries the weight of established values such as education, morality and culture
2)The lion which destroys and is the critique of all established values, and finally
3) the child of innocence carrying a mirror which reveals our monstrousness, who creates new values and new principles of evaluation.
Nietzsche’s stages moving beyond the triumph of nihilism:
1) Resentment against everything that is active. Projection of blame–“It’s your fault.”
2) Bad Conscience. Introjection of blame–“It’s my fault.”
3) The ascetic ideal–Life, salvation is judged according to values that are said to be superior to life–lead to nothingness. The ascetic are carriers (donkey, buffoon) of the weight of responsibility to higher values, rather than the creative lightness of the dancer.
4) The death of God. The negation of the higher values are replaced by human values (“morals replace religion; utility, progress, even history replace divine values”). This is the higher man who claim to embrace all of reality, but are still carriers, burdened by human values (the Yes of the donkey).
5) The last man and the man who wants to die. The Last Man says all is vain, “better a nothingness of the will than a will to nothingness.” Here is the “will to deny reactive life itself, and inspires in man the wish to actively destroy himself, a readiness for transmutation by “an active becoming of forces, a triumph of [the aggressivity that belongs to] affirmation in the will to power,” like the “lightening that announces the thunder that follows, what is affirmed.”
“Joy emerges as the sole motive for philosophizing.” (Ref: Chapter 3 Pure Immanence, “Nietzsche”)
Matt Murphy says
Finally getting around to listening to this podcast. Pleased to learn there are so many years to go through. Previously not so pleased to hear the closing music… Until now. “The Greatest F’in Song in the World,” is a F’in triumph. or AN F’in triumph. I feel certain I now know what Tenacious D was singing about in their song “Tribute”.
Mark Linsenmayer says
Glad you dug it. Here’s the rest of that album: http://marklint.com/FJTalbum.html
Most likely, if you like one song, repeated listens will reveal the virtues of the others.
Ryley Alger-Hempstead says
Hi guys, I’m a big fan of the show.
So I know you related (and probably Nietzsche related) the slave morality’s development of introspection to Hegel’s master-slave dialectic. I was listening to Beyond Good and Evil on LibriVox and in “Predjudices of Philosophers” he says about the Will that “It is an emotion, in fact the emotion of the command. That which is termed “Freedom of the Will” is essentially the emotion of supremacy and respect TO HIM WHO MUST OBEY (emphasis mine). I am free, he must obey.”
The Hegel interpretation definitely makes sense to me but I don’t really get what he’s saying here “respect to him who must obey,” surely the one who wills would not only not respect one who obeys, but wouldn’t have the ability to consider it, since the blonde beasts just “did” things and never thought about them.
I also thought this quote would be interesting (apologies if it seems like I’m implying that you guys aren’t familiar with this) to Wes, when in the 1984/Orwell episode, he mentioned about the problem of all “will to power” theories boiling down to pleasure
Maybe your dilemma could be the result of an inaccurate quote? If “supremacy and respect to…” is actually “supremacy IN respect to…[emphasis added]” then it all makes sense?
Anyway, that comment was three and a half years ago and this problem is a distant memory, at best.