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Lecture 4 (Wk 19): OGM, The First Essay (I) Nietzsche (PY432) Matt Bennett.

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Presentation on theme: "Lecture 4 (Wk 19): OGM, The First Essay (I) Nietzsche (PY432) Matt Bennett."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lecture 4 (Wk 19): OGM, The First Essay (I) Nietzsche (PY432) Matt Bennett

2 Last 3 weeks Nietzsche’s critique of morality Nietzsche’s psychology Death of god and nihilism Creating one’s own values

3 This week Why does Nietzsche think that morality is motivated by ressentiment? The origin of one moral principle –The concepts of good and evil The difference between good/bad and good/evil –Sometimes referred to as master and slave moralities The psychology of good/evil –Ressentiment The slave revolt

4 Good/bad and good/evil Sometimes also called “master and slave moralities” (e.g. BGE 260) “Master morality” –An ethic that precedes modern morality –Central values are “good” and “bad” “Slave morality” –Modern morality aka Christian morality –Central values are “good” and “evil”

5 Good and bad Good/bad are values created by a superior class Good = a distinguishing feature of that superior class Bad = the distinguishing feature of the lower or common class (OGM I 2) Examples given by Nietzsche (OGM I 5): –esthlos; Good = truthfulness / bad = deceitful –fin; Good = blond / malus bad = dark skinned –bonus Good = warrior (ability in battle)

6 Good and evil Good/evil are values created by an inferior class Those inferiors Evil = whatever their superiors have called “good” (OGM I 7) Good = whatever makes life easier for those who suffer Examples: –Good = pity, patience, humility, friendliness (BGE 260)

7 What distinguishes “the masters” from “the slaves”? Inferior strength –“slave morality” comes from those who are in some sense “weaker” by nature –Physical strength? Spiritual or psychological fortitude? Courage? Natural selfishness? –“evil” is reserved for those who are naturally stronger Political or social inferiority –“slave morality” comes from a class that is socially subordinate, perhaps literally enslaved –“evil” is reserved for those who have political or social power Inferior ability to create values (see next slide)

8 Active and Reactive values The values of the nobles are based first on affirming their own virtue –Good/bad are values that are an expression of the noble’s self- satisfaction –“bad” is a derivative of “good”, and is created only to reinforce the noble’ self-esteem The values of the slaves are based first on denying the virtue of the nobles –Good/evil are values that express a hatred for the nobility, for the suffering of the inferior, and for the world at large –“Evil” – condemning the satisfaction of the privileged –“Good” – endorsing behaviour that helps the suffering Reactive values – values that are based on a denial of the virtue of an enemy

9 Ressentiment and the slave revolt The slaves suffer both from an unequal and oppressive society, and from their own weakness Ressentiment –Frustration with inability to do anything about suffering –Envy of those who lead a less painful existence The slave revolt –Replacing good/evil with good/bad –Make moral claims about the virtue of the weak and the vice of the strong –Eventually this moral claims become accepted not just by the weak, but by the strong as well (more of which next week)

10 The Psychology of the Slave Revolt How does adopting different values help the slaves? Nietzsche suggests that “good/evil” were invented as a solution to the slaves’ psychological problems Finding a way to cope with suffering, weakness, and a lack of power –An imaginary revenge (at least to begin with) –Change weakness into a virtue –Can’t win the game? Change the game to your advantage

11 The Psychology of Morality Why does Nietzsche think that morality is motivated by ressentiment? Morality = inter alia good/evil OGM I: good/evil a creation of ressentiment The implication: that any use of good/evil distinction is motivated by frustration and envy This applies when we –Praise pity, patience, humility, friendliness –Condemn cruelty, selfishness, pride, power

12 21 st century example? Tax avoidance Tax avoidance has recently become a moral issue Alleged to be selfish and damaging to those less fortunate But are moral arguments against tax avoidance motivated by frustration in poverty and envy of the rich?

13 Next week Free will Reading: –Re-read OGM Essay I –Bernard Williams ‘Nietzsche’s Minimalist Moral Psychology’ European Journal of Philosophy (available for free on EJP website)

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