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Nietzsche’s Genealogy as Enlightenment Lecture Three Dr. Peter Kail St. Peter’s College, Oxford.

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Presentation on theme: "Nietzsche’s Genealogy as Enlightenment Lecture Three Dr. Peter Kail St. Peter’s College, Oxford."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nietzsche’s Genealogy as Enlightenment Lecture Three Dr. Peter Kail St. Peter’s College, Oxford

2 GM II ‘Guilt’, ‘Bad Conscience’ and the Like A packed and complex essay! Seems to involve an brief account of conscience as memory of the will leading the ‘sovereign individual’ Naturalism. Conscience ‘not the voice of God in man’ The emergence of ‘bad conscience’ and guilt

3 The Explananda Bad Conscience: negative evaluative awareness of one’s own behavioral dispositions Guilt: negative evaluative awareness of one’s having transgressed or failed to conform to some norm

4 Bad Conscience Bad Conscience is ‘a sickness but like pregnancy is a sickness’ (GM II 19) Unpleasant But the ‘womb of ideal and imaginative events’ (GM II 18) and How the ‘soul first grows in man’ (GM II 16)

5 Bad Conscience and Cruelty This is my claim: almost everything we call ‘higher culture’ is based on the spiritualization and deepening of cruelty. The ‘wild animal’ has not been killed off at all; it is alive and well, it has just become – divine (BGE 229) Hostility, cruelty, joy in persecuting, in attacking, in change, in destruction – all this turned against the possessor of such instincts: that is the origin of bad conscience (GM II 16) How?????

6 Cruelty Enjoyment in inflicting pain (and viewing its infliction) as widespread and instinctual Brief historical appeal - forms of torture (GM II 4) The festivals of cruelty, ancient and modern Nietzsche sees this as expression of the will to power; enjoyment in cruelty cannot be accommodated into more basic desire for pleasure

7 What is the will to power? ‘Life itself is essentially appropriation, injury, overpowering what is alien and weaker…it is a basic organic function; it is a consequence of the will to power, which is after all the will to life (BGE 259) Explanatory of a variety of human endeavour

8 Curbs on Expression ‘Blond Beasts’ and the need for society: imprisoned in the ‘state’ ‘All instincts that do not discharge themselves externally turn inward’ (GM II 16) External rules imposed on the animal and at the same time expression of cruelty curb and so it be comes internalized.

9 Curbs on Expression and the Emergence of Bad Conscience Cruelty becomes expressed in severe probing and negative evaluation one’s first-order tendencies One sees one’s self as actual or potential transgressor of socially determined norms and punishes one’s self The two elements come together - norms and internalization

10 Curbs on Expression and the Emergence of Bad Conscience Leads to evaluative self-awareness Imposes a form or structure on wantons The ‘greatest and and most uncanny sickness…suffering of man from man himself – as the consequence of a forceful separation from his animal past…becoming something so new, deep, unheard of, enigmatic, contradictory and full of future’ (GM II 16)

11 GM III ‘What ascetic ideals mean?’ Different meanings for the artist and philosopher Key discussion of the priest The completion of the genealogy - the religious interpretation of guilt Truth and the ascetic ideal

12 Priest and the Ascetic Ideal The Priest as inventor and key interpreter of asceticism An ‘essentially dangerous’ type (GM I 6) A psychological type again, like masters and slaves Characterized by key behavioural dispositions

13 The Priest and the Ascetic Ideal Priest’s psychological type (GM III 13): disgust at suffering, ‘life against life’ and a ‘suicidal nihilism’ (GM III 28) More self-hatred than slaves, more psychological suffering and disgust at the world Behaviour = withdrawal and self-hatred

14 Practice and Interpretation Priests - ascetic practice [Brauch] of withdrawal assigned a meaning [sinn] or interpretation in order to make sense of otherwise meaningless suffering in the world (GM II 7 on practice and meaning) The meaning attached to withdrawal a sublimation of the ‘unsymbolic’ purity (GM I 6)

15 The ‘Chief Trick’ Priestly reinterpretation of slave values and suffering Meaningless suffering (GM II 4) Slave’s coping mechanism = ‘innocent’ relief (GM III 18) of mechanical activity, petty pleasures, and community What reinterpretation of slave values and suffering?

16 The ‘Chief Trick’ II ‘…the exploitation of the sense of guilt’ (GM III 20) linked to debts to ancestors. Speculative anthropology and ‘rude kind of logic’ (GM II 21) Judaism as monotheistic These concepts become ‘involved in the concept of God’ (GM II 21), so that ‘self-torture [reaches] its most gruesome pitch of severity and rigor (GM II 22)

17 The ‘Chief Trick’ III The notion of freedom invented by the slaves exploited by the priest Guilt is a punishment for (willful) failure to live up to norms (sin) Redirection of ressentiment: the target is now one’s self, so that one is the object of blame with respect to bad conscience and guilt (GM III 20) An interpretation of suffering Asceticism as self-punishment (and net increase in suffering), and so valorization of slave virtues of self-denial Asceticism as downgrading of value of earthly existence

18 Masters and Slaves Clearly not ‘master morality’, the spontaneous ‘overflowing of the WTP Allows valourization of weakness The religious dimension and the interpretation of suffering as seductive to the masters The concept of God as all knowing witness of our guilt promotes the universal and unconditional status of the ascetic values The death of God and the threat of nihilism : GM III 28

19 Science and the AI All of modern science [Wissenschaft] is supposed to bear witness [to a counter-ideal] – modern science which, as a genuine philosophy of reality, clearly believes in itself alone, clearly possess the courage for itself, and the will to itself, and has up to now survived well enough without God, the beyond, and the virtues of denial (GM III 23)

20 Science and the AI The truth is precisely the opposite of what is asserted here: science has absolutely no belief in itself, let alone an ideal above it: and where it still inspires passion, love, ardour, and suffering at all, it is not the opposite of the ascetic ideal but rather the latest and noblest form of it. Does that sound strange to you? (GM III 23)

21 Science and the AI GS 344 In what way we, too are pious Science presupposes unconditional will to truth, so there is a prior question “‘I will not deceive, even myself’; and here we stand on moral ground’ Suggestion: God as omniscient promotes total and maximal honesty

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