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32 Cards in this Set

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Why does Nietzsche diagnose contemporary European culture as nihilistic?
Nietzsche saw his age facing a fundamental crisis of values. With the rise of science, the Christian worldview no longer held a prominent explanatory role in people's lives--a view Nietzsche captures in the phrase "God is dead." However, science does not introduce a new set of values to replace the Christian values it displaces. Nietzsche rightly foresaw that people need to identify some source of meaning and value in their lives, and if they could not find it in science, they would turn to agressive nationalism, racism, or, worse, the view that no values have any meaning.
What is meant by Nietzsche's phrase "re-valuation of all values"?
Nietzsche seeks to find a place "beyond good and evil." By psychologizing the underpinnings of morality, he shows that our values are not themselves fixed and objective but rather express a certain attitude toward life. By exposing morality as a fiction placed on top of fundamental psychological drives, Nietzsche wants to encourage us to be more honest about our motives and more realistic in the attitude we take toward life. Such honesty and realism causes a "revaluation of all values." Without the crutch of naive, uncritical moral codes, we become an entirely different, and healthier, species of being. (See Ubermensch).
What is Nietzsche's perspectivist conception of truth?
Nietzsche is critical of the very idea of objective truth. Trying to adopt a ""God's-eye view" of reality is only evidence of an inflexibility in our thinking (and is a symptom of saying "no" to life). A healthy mind is flexible and recognizes that there are many different ways of considering a matter, some better than others. "Truth" is simply the name given to the point of view of the people who have the power to enforce their point of view. The only reality is the will to power, and truth, like morality, is just another fig leaf placed on top of this reality.
Why does Nietzsche see Christianity as a life-denying force?
In Christian morality, Nietzsche sees an attempt to deny all those characteristics that he associates with a healthy life. The concept of sin makes us ashamed of our instincts and our sexuality; the concept of faith discourages our curiousity an natural skepticism and the concept of pity encourages us to value and cherish weakness. Furthermore, Christian morality is based on the promise of an afterlife, leading Cristians to devalue this life in favor of the beyond. Nietzsche argues that Christianity springs from a resentment for life and those who enjoy it, and it seeks to overthrow health and strength with its life-denying ethic. (See ressentement)
What is Nietzsche's doctrine of the will to power--as a psychological insight?
The will to power (WTP) is a psychological insight: our fundamental drive is for power as realized in independence and dominance. This will is stronger than the will to survive, as martyrs will die willingly for a cause if they feel doing so will increase their power. Likewise, it is stronger than the will to sex, as monks willingly renounce sex for the sake of a greater cause. While the WTP can manifest itself through violence and physical dominance, Nietzsche is more interested in the sublimated WTP, in which people turn their WTP inward and pursue self-mastery rather than mastery over others.
What does Nietzsche mean by ressentiment?
Ressentiment describes the bitterness and hostility that accompanies an impression of one’s own inferiority. Ressentiment, according to Nietzsche, naturally leads to the projection of one’s weakness as strength and the scapegoating of another/others. Ressentiment also precedes the notion of fairness and the equality of people.
According to Nietzsche, what is the relationship between ressentiment, justice, and the legal justice system?
According to Nietzsche, ressentiment is characteristic of weaker, despicable people, and the cause of revenge. It is not the basis of fair justice because justice should not be reactive. People acting out of ressentiment take more than an eye for an eye, because it is they who have been offended. They cannot act in a calm and objective manner, which is necessary in legal justice. The legal system is active, not reactive, because it defines what is right and wrong and the consequences of actions from the time of establishment, not from the time of transgression or injury. (See section 11 of the 2nd essay for details)
What was Nietzsche’s view of sin and guilt as portrayed by the Church?
Nietzsche attacked the concepts of guilt and sin. He thought that Christianity’s claim that humans are all inescapably flawed and guilty was psychologically debilitating. He said that we should be life-affirming and self-esteemed, and that the concepts of guilt and sin hinder the fulfillment of human potential. He thought that sins, especially the seven deadly sins, are just manifestations of human instinct. Sloth, lust, pride, greed, rage, gluttony, and envy are all part of human nature; they should be moderated, but not entirely and completely repressed.
What was Nietzsche's view of Jesus?
Nietzsche interprets Jesus’ life entirely differently than early and present-day Christians. Nietzsche accuses Jesus’ followers, particularly Paul, of perverting Jesus’ teachings. Nietzsche thinks that Jesus himself did not ascribe to the feelings of “guilt” and “sin” associated with slave morality and thus with Christianity. Rather, Jesus was a man who lived by his actions. The message he shared was a message for this life, not a promise of redemption and salvation. Nietzsche thinks that Paul was a representative of the priestly class. His ressentiment against the Jews led him to change the teachings and history of Jesus’ life in order to exact revenge upon the Jews, who crucified Jesus. Jesus subsequently became the representative of Christianity, a religion that, according to Nietzsche, perpetuates slave morality and is dependent upon ressentiment and the herd mentality.
How was the development of the Christian God related to the debtor-creditor relationship?
In The Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche traces the evolution of the gods. He sees a parallel between the development of gods and the development of the debtor-creditor relationship. The members of the original tribal communities in ancient times revered their ancestors, who had enabled the existence of their tribe. Along with this feeling of reverence came a feeling of debt. The members of the tribe owed payment to their ancestors for their sacrifices. This payment took the form of sacrifices, music, feasts and so on. As the tribe became more powerful, the debt to the ancestor inevitably increased. As the debt increased, the fear of the ancestor increased. Eventually, if the tribe became powerful enough, the ancestors became so terrible and fear-inspiring that they acquired godly status. Therefore, Nietzsche writes that the coming of the Christian God was “accompanied by the maximum feeling of guilty indebtedness on earth” (90).
How does Nietzsche interpret the concept of guilt?
Nietzsche views guilt as a creditor-debtor relationship, derived from "the sphere of legal obligations" (Second Essay, Section 6). In this sense, guilt is also associated with suffering, because the guilty party can pay off his debt if the creditor makes him suffer. Nietzsche believed this would clear one's debts, because "to MAKE suffer was in the highest degree pleasurable." Therefore guilt is a legal obligation to a creditor of higher social standing, which can be cleared by suffering, which repays the creditor with the pleasure of inflicting pain.
Why is forgetfulness necessary to enable pride?
Forgetfulness enables pride because without it people would be so dragged down by the issues/problems of their pasts that they would be unable to experience the future with any sort of optimism. One might expect the world and future to be like one's past had been--and this, especially if one's experience was negative, would make one less willing to go forward in life. Also, some things are better left to the past as they would always, even in moments of triumph, serve to remind us of our past failures and possibilities for more in the future.
If Nietzsche's statement that humans are not born ready to make promises is true, when are they ready?
According to Nietzsche, humans develop the right to make promises once they have attained self mastery. This means that they have the mastery over their own decisions and circumstances and are not in limbo over how their actions are judged by others. Without this mastery, humans would be unable to completely control their actions since they are still influenced by outside stimuli, and therefore can’t promise someone that their actions will for sure be carried out in the way promised.
What is nihilism? What are Nietzsche’s views on nihilism expressed in The Genealogy of Morals?
Nihilism is the idea that there exists no meaning, purpose, or value. To Nietzsche, nihilism is something viewed as suicidal; one should strive not to become nihilistic. This is noted on the last page of The Genealogy of Morals, praising the ascetic ideal (something he does not do) as at least being an alternative to this nihilism.
How does Nietzsche discuss philosophers in The Genealogy of Morals?
In part 7 of the third section, Nietzsche beautifies philosophers in portraying them as very important beings who are very individualistic. He emphasizes that philosophers have never been married. “A married philosopher belongs to comedy.” He also compares them to an animal who has possession of wings, compared to other animals that have not, in the next part.
Describe the doctrine of the eternal recurrence, and explain its significance.
The “eternal recurrence” doctrine is based on the nineteenth century hypothesis that if the universe contains a finite amount of matter yet will exist for an infinite amount of time, then every possible arrangement of matter will exist an infinite number of times. Nietzsche was not so interested in the literal truth or falsehood of this doctrine as he was in the (in his opinion, very powerful) implications of accepting it. After all, if every arrangement of matter will come into being an infinite number of times, then every moment of one’s life will be repeated infinitely. This idea, presumably, should motivate people to ensure that every moment of their life is one of brilliance, one worthy of repetition. Nietzsche saw this as a new myth to replace the defunct Christian narrative, thereby avoiding the slide of western society into nihilism by replacing a lost sense of meaning and significance.
What is “the will to power"?
A complex and multifaceted concept not adequately expressed on a single flashcard, the will to power is what Nietzsche considered the fundamental and most powerful human drive. It is sometimes manifest as a will to assert dominance over others, but should primarily be interpreted as a drive for vitality and self-actualization. Nietzsche believed all life forms were motivated by the will to power- a tree, for example, “seeks” not simply to survive but to grow and flourish. Similarly, Nietzsche believed, humans are not motivated simply by the desire to survive or to experience pleasure (except the englishman, of course). Many, such as the ascetics, will renounce these things in order to satisfy their will to power by turning it inward and asserting it over themselves through self-mastery. This inward turn is also observed when humans are organized into societies: those forced to repress their will to power turn it towards themselves in an aggressive manner, resulting in the rise of “bad conscience.”
The Ubermensch
The Ubermensch is Nietzsche’s ideal individual. This individual harnesses its will to power in order to achieve great things. The individual may use its will to power in order to produce great works of art, or to rule over others, but mainly N's focus with this ideal is "self-overcoming," or self-mastery. Another key characteristic of this individual is its transcendence from other moral systems. The individual does not fear the social retribution that may come from rejecting existing systems. Contrasted with "The Last Man" (the ultimate couch potato, concerned only with comfort), the Ubermensch represents a kind of spiritual, rather than biological, evolution.
Slave Morality
Slave morality is that of the dichotomy between good and evil (as opposed to the good/bad dichotomy of the masters). In slave morality those traits held by the masters or aristocrats are viewed as evil (i.e. power, sensual desires, and the act of sating physical necessities such as the consumption of food), whereas the downtrodden state of the slaves is glorified (i.e. the creation of virtues such as meekness, poverty, and chastity). Slave morality also includes a debtor-creditor aspect, in which an individual owes another for their actions. Slave morality arose from the resentiment felt by the lower classes regarding the superior status of the upper classes.
What does Nietzsche mean by ressentiment?
Ressentiment describes the bitterness and hostility that accompanies an impression of one’s own inferiority. Ressentiment, according to Nietzsche, naturally leads to the projection of one’s weakness as strength and the scapegoating of another/others. Ressentiment precedes the notion of fairness and the equality of people, as it is the root of “slave morality.”
Describe Nietzsche’s concept of the ascetic ideal.
The ascetic ideal is a mode of life in which man/woman renounces the world’s material or sensual pleasures. Nietzsche describes the ascetic ideal as a source of purpose, an enabling force of the will (for some). According to Nietzsche, man/woman is a “diseased” animal who suffers, but does not understand the sense of suffering. Ascetism brings suffering under the perspective of guilt, and also emphasizes patience and abstinence as virtue. This allows the sufferer to escape nihilism by associating virtue with suffering, thus creating a will to self-denial. In the face of suffering, people can reject the world on their own terms. As Nietzsche states, “man will wish Nothingness rather than not will anything at all.”

For example: Instead of suffering senselessly through starving, I can reject food through the ascetic ideal and my own will.
What is bad conscience according to Nietzsche?
Bad conscience is the form of guilt a person feels toward themselves. It is seen as a debtor creditor relationship with themselves. The main question Nietzsche asks is “to what extent can suffering balance debts and guilt with ourselves?” In response he would reply guilt is a pleasurable experience that repays minds debts, the pleasure balances out the guilt, and in the end repays it. So in the end, according to this definition, there are no consciences, just guilt, which can be repaid through bad conscience.
Why does Nietzsche say “autonomous and moral are mutually exclusive”? (p. 59)
Nietzsche does not dismiss being moral; instead, he specifies the act of being supramoral. Supramoral involves being above the customs and traditions that define “morals.” A supramoral person is in charge of his own consciousness and thus makes has a freedom and right to make promises. Nietzsche is not declaring these conditions in a relativistic way, in which all men can create their own morals; instead, he is acknowledging a choice to live morally without the influence of external judgments.
How does Nietzsche see Nihilism affecting modern man?
Nietzsche sees Nihilism as the greatest danger to man’s morality. The church plays a large part in his arguments about loss of meaning. People are relying so heavily on God, yet they have no actual faith to sustain a meaningful devotion. Yet at the same time we rely on these customs and traditions so heavily that man no longer has integrity. Man is “weary” of himself because nihilism has breed a kind of breakdown on morals and thus nothing matters. Nihilism affects modern man, because it debauches his will, his search for meaning and his hopes.
What evidence does Nietzsche provide that "guilt" orginated from the notion of debts and credits?
From a philological perspective, Nietzsche claims that "the major moral concept 'Schuld' [guilt] has its origin in the very material concept 'Schulden' [debts]". Therefore, in a sense Nietzsche is examining the geneaology of words to add to his perspective on the geneaology of morals. Also, Nietzsche adds that punishment did not evolve concerning free will (which has arisen more recently), but that it is a form of retribution. In other words, the pleasure that the creditor obtains from punishing the transgressor is a form of exchange that restores justice. Using historical evidence, Nietzsche cites the Twelve Tables of Roman, which explicitly declared "how much or how little the creditor cut off in such cases", adding to his notion of retributive justice.
Who were the key influences on Nietzsche?
Arthur Schopenhauer - Schopenhauer distinguished between will, the fundamental reality of the world, and representation, which is the manifestation of the will. Nietzsche used this distinction in his philosophy of the Apollonian and Dionysian forms of art. Schopenhauer also praised music as the highest form of aesthetics, with which Nietzsche agreed.

Wagner - In Wagner's early work, Nietzsche found what he considered to be the Dionysisan revival of western civilization as opposed to the rationalist and empty Apollonian forms of art. Wagner's music was life-affirming and fitting for an Ubermensch. However, once W became a Christian, N denouned him vociferously.
In Nietzsche's view, what is the difference between the strong's perception of the weak, and the weak's view of itself?
Nietzsche asserts that the weak view themselves as 'good' as a result of portraying the strong as 'evil,' rather than being intrinsically good in themselves. Furthermore, the weak believe that doing nothing is what makes them good, and therefore their very existence is virtuous, as if they chose to be weak (First Essay, Section 13). In contrast, the strong view themselves as 'good' because they are wealthy, strong, and powerful. They see the weak as 'bad' in a different way, involving sickness, debt (which goes hand-in-hand with guilt as far as Nietzsche is concerned), and weakness, viewed almost with pity or disgust.
Why is Nietzsche's distinction between a thing and its meaning important?
In Nietzsche's distinction between a thing and its meaning, we find the initial doubt with which N unravels many of our assumptions. For instance, punishment is at once the act of punishing and the reason behind it. However, N argues these things have diff. meanings at diff. times--i.e., the act of punishment has been at times a celebration of one's power, an act of cruelty, or simple tit-for-tat. We cannot understand something, or certainly not its origin, if we assume that it's always had the same meaning. Thus, his emphasis on genealogy.
What is Nietzsche’s view on self-mastery/self-overcoming?
Nietzsche’s self-mastery is integrated into his view on the will to power. He says that people must turn the will to power inward and pursue self-mastery rather than mastery of others. Nietzsche says self-mastery is grueling and humanity is constantly tested to give in. Christian morality and nihilism are two worldviews that articulate the desire to give up on life. An example of self-mastery involves an Indian mystic who submits himself to different sorts of physical deprivation and gains insightful self-control and spiritual depth learning to control ones desires and needs, compared to that of a conquering barbarian.
How does Nietzsche view humanity?
Nietzsche says that humanity is a transition not a destination. He says we ceased to be animals when we taught ourselves to controls our instincts in order to achieve greater gains. By learning to resist some of our natural impulses, Nietzsche claims we have been able to form civilization, develop knowledge, and deepen ourselves spiritually. Nietzsche’s concept of the overman is the destination toward which we all as humans strive for. The overman has the self-mastery that animals lack but also the unrestricted and good conscience that human’s lack. The overman is in love with life and finds nothing to complain about despite the constant suffering and struggle to which he willingly submits himself.
What does Nietzsche mean by master morality?
Nietzsche believes that human morality derives from class division. There is the "slave", or the subserviant lower class, and the "master" class, or the elite class. Master morality is the set of morals believed true by the upper classes-- as Nietzsche defines these as "good" and "bad". They believe that power, beauty, and wealth are "good" and weakness, ugliness, and poverty are "bad"
What does Nietzsche mean by "slave morality"?
Nietzsche believes that human morality derives from class division. There is the "slave", or the subserviant lower class, and the "master" class, or the elite class. Slave morality is a result of "resentiment" or resentment of what the upper class has achieved and they cannot. Nietzsche explains that slave morality involves the labels "good" and "evil"; "good" being qualities such as patience, humbleness, and contentment and "evil" being everything that the masters consider good (wealth, beauty, power, etc.)