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The Soul of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil
Sign in via your Institution Sign in. Purchase Subscription prices and ordering Short-term Access To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above. This article is also available for rental through DeepDyve. View Metrics. Claiming to be universal in application and demanding dogmatic fealty, traditional morality, he charges, has enervated noble men and has encouraged mediocrity.
Nietzsche believes that the promotion of human greatness demands a new moral system that favors unique, particular perspectives instead of universalized dogmas. Nietzsche suggests that the degeneration of Western morality began with the writings of Plato. Nietzsche suggests that moral philosophers are not actually the disinterested, rational, and objective calculators that they believe themselves to be. Nietzsche labors to destroy the philosophic search for absolute moral truth, not because he is disinterested in morality, but because he desires that moral decision-making would take into account unique individual circumstances.
Great things remain only for the great. As universal moral dogmas are spurious, intellectual honesty is a preeminent virtue for the philosopher.
As corrosive as the philosophers have been in their promotion of moral dogmatism, Nietzsche considers traditional religion—especially Christianity—to be an even more formidable impediment to his moral project. At least philosophic moral treatises impact only those who are substantially educated. Christianity legitimizes the slave morality, but that does not mean that all religion is worthless in constructing a moral order.
Scattered throughout his largely hostile assessment of religion in Beyond Good and Evil are praises of non-Christian religions such as Judaism and Greek paganism.
The central utility of religion should be, not adherence to abstract moral dogmas, but the encouragement of action that favors strength and life. Human greatness would be an important element of his future religion, not equality.
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Nietzsche, for all of his professed hatred of moralism, retains a genuine concern for virtue. Much like religion and philosophy, it is not virtue per se that he detests.
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What he hopes to overcome is the Platonic-Christian misunderstanding of virtue that equates it with knowledge of and adherence to transcendent moral standards. The will to power is nothing less than the driving force of all human decisions. The philosophers and the religious authorities demand obedience to their universal dogmas by proclaiming them to be eternal moral truth.
What they do not recognize, however, is that not everyone needs to be obedient. The great man would need to be a commander. In contrast to the most unrefined relativists, who would insist that all moral systems are fundamentally equal, Nietzsche believes that there is a natural inequality of moralities and of people. Aristocracy, however much egalitarians despise it, is the sole mode of organization that provides for human greatness.
As such, he perceives suffering as a chance to grow and he has no qualms with exploiting the weak if it leads to great things. In the place of traditional philosophy and religion, Nietzsche proposes that the will to power should be viewed as the source of virtue. Epitomizing human greatness and strength of soul, they create new values and carry out their duties only to those sharing their rank. Table of contents Introduction; Part I. The Will to Truth and the Will to Value: 1. Setting the stage: Neitzsche's preface; 2.
Understanding the 'magnificent tension of the spirit'; 3. Philosophy and the will to value; 4. Science and the will to truth; 5. Satisfying the will to truth and the will to value; Part II. The Will to Power: 6.
By Friedrich Nietzsche
Nietzsche's soul; 7. The will; 8. The other doctrines of the will to power; Conclusion. Review quote 'Anyone engaged in Nietzsche studies at any level should surely read [this book] carefully and seriously. It is a significant addition to the current state of the field and perhaps the single strongest response to the naturalist reading of Nietzsche available today.