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On the Genealogy of Morality & Other Writings

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  691 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Friedrich Nietzsche is one of the most influential thinkers of the past 150 years and On the Genealogy of Morality (1887) is his most important work on ethics and politics. A polemical contribution to moral and political theory, it offers a critique of moral values and traces the historical evolution of concepts such as guilt, conscience, responsibility, law and justice. ...more
Paperback, student, 195 pages
Published October 30th 2006 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1887)
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Muhammad Arqum
Sep 28, 2015 Muhammad Arqum rated it really liked it
Second from this eccentric mad genius and although it wasn't as streamlined as The Antichrist, it still offered the anticipated food for thought that I can regurgitate for a while.

Some of the topics covered are:
- Master and Slave Morality
- The sick must be kept away from the healthy.
- Amor Fati, love all the tragedies and losses and delights and health and sickness of your life. It is your fate, be a man of action, but what cannot be changed must be loved.
- The ascetic ideals
- Man will rather h
Aug 09, 2016 James rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Well, it has been a few years since I read the Genealogy, and this is now my third translation I've tackled--and, in my opinion, a very fine one.

What makes this such an important work is that Nietzsche, in a somewhat Hegelian vein, tries to explain why the analytical philosophers (or British Psychologists, as N refers to them) are an improvement on the old transcendatelly founded view of morality but not fully conscious of the prejudices that effect their own interpretations of morality. The ps
Nate Markham
Jan 25, 2012 Nate Markham rated it it was amazing
This one is a doozy! Nietzsche "clearly" lays out his theory for a two fold evolution of morality, creditor morality and debtor morality. (more popularly known as master/slave morality)

He shifts perspectives throughout this book (and his entire work) weaving together a picture of morality throughout history from the perspectives of the master and the slave. This literary trick is what leads to most of the misinterpretation of Nietzsche, including my own!

One of the main themes throughout is the
Jan 28, 2010 Jenn rated it liked it
Oh Nietzsche, you so crazy!
Aug 22, 2016 Bookshark rated it liked it
This is a hard book to rate, because just as you might expect from a philosopher who seeks to move us beyond good and evil, there is a great deal of viciousness and brutality here alongside his genuine insights and moving call for a new set of values which affirm rather than degrade life. Some of the most disgustingly racist and misogynist passages in his work can be found here, as well as some of his most horrifying celebrations of violence. Ironically I read these passages as signs that ...more
Lukas op de Beke
Apr 02, 2016 Lukas op de Beke rated it really liked it
The Genealogy of Morality is broken up in three essays. Of these three essays, I was under the impression that only essay 1, which covers the opposition between the master and slave morality and the infamous trick that the slaves pulled on the masters in order to gain the upper hand, and to a lesser extent also essay 2, titled "Bad conscience", are really about tracing a genealogy, i.e., the ultimate origin of morality.

Nietzsche's attachment to aristocratic morality- once upon a time personifie
Sep 20, 2015 Zari added it
Shelves: philosophy, article
"To renounce belief in one's ego, to deny one's own "reality" -- what a triumph! not merely over the senses, over appearance, but a much higher kind of triumph, a violation and cruelty against reason -- a voluptuous pleasure that reaches its height when the ascetic self-contempt and self-mockery of reason declares: "there is a realm of truth and being, but reason is excluded from it!"
But precisely because we seek knowledge, let us not be ungrateful to such resolute reversals of accustomed perspe
Mar 01, 2014 Michael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Before origin films were popular for comic book heroes, Nietzsche told an origin story for those values which provide the basis for constructing a hero. This book contains that story.

I find On the Genealogy of Morality to be a work of practical philosophy. In the preface, Nietzsche asks:
"under what conditions did man devise these value judgments good and evil? and what value do they themselves possess?" (Kaufmann translation)

These two questions set the stage for the three essays of the book. Wh
Oct 25, 2012 C rated it it was ok
Seriously people what is all the fuss about? Normally I think ad hominem attacks should be set aside when reviewing philosophy, but it is painfully clear that this man was mentally diseased. His writing isn't artistic, engaging, or unique, it's downright mad. And not angry mad, but Edgar Allen Poe overdosing on opium and caffeine mad.

Marxists are often given a hard time for reducing things to the base, or (re)productive structure of a society. If someone thinks this is a bad idea, welcome to the
Bill Currie
Aug 13, 2016 Bill Currie rated it liked it
First of all I discovered I do not pronounce Nietzsche name correctly so from that point forward I was muddled in his style of writing which are long sentences of various examples of thought and references in Latin, French, German and Greek. Some footnoting explains but usually there is just a reference.

It would be impossible for me to review his writings since he speaks with a high level of knowledge regarding philosophy and philosophers which had me Googling much of the time. Yet his underlyi
Stephanie Ricker
Aug 28, 2012 Stephanie Ricker rated it liked it
Shelves: german
Our philosophy reading group recently discussed Nietzsche’s first essay in On the Genealogy of Morality. Nietzsche reminds me of a curmudgeonly old dog who has a tendency to bite but whom you love anyway, and reading him again after so long makes me want to pat him on his conceited little head. He probably would take my hand off. I expect most people don’t have such a fond impression of Nietzsche, but for me he will always be associated with the best and most mind-stretching of the classes I ...more
Aug 14, 2011 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology, theory
Not so much a single argument as a braid of related thoughts, this is a brilliant, confused little book. The aphorisms, moment by moment, are capable of being enormously generative; reading this after a full summer of Foucault was especially fun. As a whole ... well, I can't help but read it as a theology, laugh at the many very funny jokes, and scratch my head at the methodological and argumentative gaps.

I'll give the man this, though. If we were all allowed to write like him, we'd have a less
Noura Eljerbi
Dec 02, 2015 Noura Eljerbi rated it really liked it
One needs to read any of Nietzsche's works several times before one begins to understand him. Be patient, it is all worth it.
What is achieved from this book is to open up a psychological space of exploration in which we can closely question the values we have inherited by charting the historical origins of our moral values we then see that they are not absolute, but highly contingent development.
Feb 28, 2013 John rated it really liked it
As difficult to stomach as it is to put down; as a friend of mine stated "If reading Nietzsche doesn't disturb one then one is not really reading Nietzsche" -or, to quote Nietzsche "Do you like the taste of our fruit? --But of what concern is that to the trees? And of what concern is that to us philosophers?"
Nour Al-Ali
Nov 05, 2013 Nour Al-Ali rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
I read this within the scope of research, which is probably why I am very critical towards this specific text. I don't believe that morality is either black or white. Albeit context matters here, I don't agree with Nietzsche on this one.

I do, however, agree with certain aspects. I can't deny it was a disappointment to read.
Jun 25, 2013 Eugenia rated it did not like it
Disturbing. It's a philosophy of a high school bully: if I'm strong and blond, I belong to a noble race and have the right to be violent, because I enjoy it. And if you are not violent, it's just because you have no guts, you are weakling and have a slave morality.

Still it deserves reading because it helps to understand many things that happened in 20th century, especially during WWII.
Jessica Zu
Oct 17, 2014 Jessica Zu rated it liked it
the genealogical method in this short pamphlet is quite provoking. Nietzsche really doesn't like religion. Under his genealogical lens, religion was created to deal with slave's unbearable weakness and asceticism was invented to give meaning to the senseless suffering of life.
Jul 14, 2010 Ziad rated it it was amazing
Possibly Nietzsche's most straightforward text. Handles the origin of morality while at the same time discussing the related subject of freedom. A must-have for anyone wanting to delve directly into Nietzsche's philosophy.
Seong Min
Oct 03, 2009 Seong Min rated it it was amazing
Arguably, Nietzsche's best and most influential work. You can feel the shivers running down your spine while reading it.
Jeffrey Milloy
Jan 25, 2016 Jeffrey Milloy rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
really good. by far the best book we read for the term. i can see how people can become obsessed with nietzsche.
Jul 23, 2016 Vivian rated it liked it
This one had some ups and downs. But overall, kudos to Nietzsche for being such an enthusiastic writer! Definitely the least boring out of all the philosophers I've read, haha!
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Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844–1900) is a German philosopher of the late 19th century who challenged the foundations of Christianity and traditional morality. He was interested in the enhancement of individual and cultural health, and believed in life, creativity, power, and the realities of the world we live in, rather than those situated in a world beyond. Central to his philosophy is the ...more
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