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Weekdays/Time: Thu (11:00 to 13:00)
Started: 27/04/2017 (Number of Weeks: 10)
End Date: 06/07/2017
Tutor Approval Required? No
Nietzsche is the most celebrated philosopher of all time and the most controversial. Explore his legacy as a moral thinker.
This short course provides an opportunity to discuss the philosophical contributions of some of the main theorists working in this area. This course is offered by the School of Ideas based in Richmond London which is a 20 minute connection from Waterloo.
Experiments Undertaken in Beyond Good and Evil (1886)
and The Genealogy of Morals (1887)
OUTLINE OF THE 10-WEEK COURSE
The first 5 weeks of the course will be on Beyond Good and Evil, and the second 5 weeks on The Genealogy of Morals.
Students will be expected to have read both texts before the course begins.
Week One: Nietzsche’s view in BGE of the totally human origin and significance of moral values. His contention that morality, as a human creation, has a basis in emotion. The point that this emotivist outlook challenges the entire rationalist tradition in moral thinking.
Week Two: Nietzsche’s arguments that the emotions which he says lie at the basis of morality are those which he associates with what he calls ‘the will to power’—the urge of all living things not only to survive but, more so, to express their life-energy. The link he makes between ‘will to power’ and fitness for biological survival. The controversial character of this criterion for defining biological fitness.
Week Three: The clash between Nietzsche’s concept of evolutionary ethics and the Christian view of ethics. More points on the differences between Nietzsche’s values and those of Christianity. Also, beyond the reference to Christianity, Nietzsche’s opposition to communal-humanitarian values.
Week Four: In contrast to Nietzsche’s arguments against communal-humanitarian values, alternative moral arguments made by him which can be considered worthy of attention i.e. his objections to:-- social conditions that are too comfortable; extremes of egalitarianism; cults of ordinariness.
Week Five: Again in positive commentary, Nietzsche’s view of a new kind of exceptional individuality which he claims to is emerging in European culture; the continuing relevance of this view. However, the negative comments that must be made on a different ethical theme: what Nietzsche calls ‘master morality,’ which he regards as superior to what he terms ‘slave morality.’ A brief critique of ‘master morality.’
Week Six: Introduction to GM, emphasising that this book continues the topic, begun in BGE, of the differences between ‘master morality’ and ‘slave morality.’ Nietzsche’s arguments about the class-origins of the two moralities
---the former allegedly coming from a blood aristocracy, and the latter allegedly from a plebeian class.
Week Seven: Nietzsche’s contention that, while ‘master morality’ is an overt, direct and honest expression of the ‘will to power,’ ‘slave morality’ is a covert, indirect and dishonest expression of that will. Nietzsche links ‘slave morality’ to Christianity, and laments that, in his view, this morality has now triumphed in modern culture. But he hopes that ‘master morality’ may yet re-assert itself.
Week Eight: In connection with his negative view of ‘slave morality’ and Christianity, Nietzsche’s arguments about the origin of what he calls ‘bad conscience.’ His endorsement of ancient Greek religion and morality. Also, his praise for an ascetic way of life, but one quite separate from what he says is the Christian outlook, and one having close ties with the life-style of the atheistic philosopher.
Week Nine: Having previously defended one kind of ascetic life-style, Nietzsche now attacks another kind—that of the “priestly caste,” as found, he says, in all religions. This kind he pillories as anti-natural and perverse. As a riposte to it, he offers the image of the man who combines bodily soundness with intellectual strength.
Week Ten: A recapitulative discussion of Nietzsche’s views about asceticism. Then a general revision of whatever points have arisen on the course to which students wish to return, for further consideration.
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