Nietzsche's Ethics and His War on Morality


Nietzsche famously attacked traditional morality, and propounded a controversial ethics of "life-enhancement". Simon May presents a radically new view of Nietzsche's thought, which is shown to be both revolutionary and conservative, and to have much to offer us today after the demise of old values and the "death of God".

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Nietzsche famously attacked traditional morality, and propounded a controversial ethics of "life-enhancement". Simon May presents a radically new view of Nietzsche's thought, which is shown to be both revolutionary and conservative, and to have much to offer us today after the demise of old values and the "death of God".

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198238461
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford
  • Publication date: 3/16/2000
  • Pages: 232
  • Lexile: 1670L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Birkbeck College, University of London
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Table of Contents

A Note on Sources
List of Abbreviations
Pt. I The New Ethic Versus the Old: Nietzsche Versus 'Morality'
1 Introduction and Methodology 3
1.1 Overview of the book 3
1.2 Exegetical difficulties 7
2 Foundations: Nietzsche's Conception of Values 9
2.1 The nature and function of values 9
2.2 'Will' 13
2.3 'Power' 15
2.4 The historical determination of values 18
2.5 Affirming the necessity of history: the value of truth 23
2.6 Conclusion 25
3 'Life-Enhancement': Its Degrees and Types 26
3.1 'Life-enhancement': three criteria 26
3.2 Nietzsche's evaluation of values and concepts 36
3.3 Nietzsche's evaluation of the manner of valuing: 'masters' and 'slaves' 41
3.4 Is 'master/slave' coextensive with 'life-enhancement/life denial'? 45
3.5 The scope of 'master' and 'slave' categories 49
3.6 'Master' and 'slave' as typology rather than history 51
3.7 Conclusion: 'good/bad' versus 'good/evil' 52
4 Non-moral versus Moral 'Guilt' and 'Bad Conscience' 55
4.1 Objectives and distinctions 55
4.2 The non-moral form of 'guilt' and of 'bad conscience' 57
4.3 The moral form of 'guilt' and of 'bad conscience' 70
4.4 Conclusions 74
Endnote: Outline of a model for guilt and shame 77
5 Asceticism in Life-Enhancement and Life-Denial 81
5.1 The 'ascetic conceptual form': a definition 81
5.2 Life-enhancing expressions of the ascetic form 83
5.3 Life-denying expressions: the ascetic ideal's structure and motives 88
5.4 Forcing truth to be a conditioned value 92
5.5 Is the ascetic ideal necessarily life-denying? 94
5.6 Why the 'transcendent' need not presuppose the ascetic ideal 96
5.7 In what sense is the ascetic ideal man's only meaning 'so far'? 99
5.8 Conclusion 102
6 The New Ideal: 'To become what one is' 104
6.1 The conception of morality rejected by Nietzsche: a summary 104
6.2 A life-enhancing ideal: 'to become what one is' 107
6.3 The 'sovereign individual' 116
6.4 'Eternal Return' 119
6.5 General claims in Nietzsche's ethics: the case of cruelty 126
6.6 Conclusion 134
Pt. II From Old to New: Nietzsche's Revaluation of the Value of Truth - A Case Study
7 Scope of the Case Study 137
7.1 Why choose the value of truth? 137
7.2 Strategy for the case study 139
7.3 Nietzsche's conception of truth 139
7.4 Nietzsche's statements on the nature of truth 145
7.5 The empirical nature of Nietzsche's truth-claims 147
7.6 Nietzsche's talk of falsehood 149
7.7 Conclusion 149
8 The Unconditional Value of Truth: Nietzsche's Pioneering Critique 151
8.1 The value of untruth 152
8.2 The nihilism of the unconditional 155
8.3 The poverty of some truths 158
8.4 The elusiveness of truth about the 'deep' structure of reality; and the lost riches of the 'superficial' 158
8.5 The paralysing effects of reflective self-consciousness 160
8.6 The danger of premature self-knowledge 161
8.7 Truth out of error 161
8.8 Conclusion 163
9 The Unconditional Value of Truth: An Assessment of Nietzsche's Critique 165
9.1 Introduction 165
9.2 Knowledge and control over nature 166
9.3 Truth-telling and social relations 168
9.4 Life-enhancing Judaeo-Christian reasons for valuing truth 169
9.5 Conclusion 172
10 The Valuation of Truth in Nietzsche's Philosophy 175
10.1 Grounding Nietzsche's valuation of truth 177
10.2 What truths are valuable? 182
10.3 For whom is truth valuable? 186
10.4 When (over a lived life) is truth valuable? 190
10.5 Conclusion 193
Bibliography 199
Index 207
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