Lecture 14 - Nietzsche on Power, Knowledge and Morality

author: Iván Szelényi, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: June 24, 2012,   recorded: November 2009,   views: 2878
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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Description

Today we take a bridge into the twentieth century, constructed by Nietzsche, Freud, and Weber's critical theory. Each author is different in important ways, but they also agree on two crucial points: we must subject our consciousness and assumptions to critical scrutiny and, along with increasing liberation and rationalization in some ways, modern society also has repressive elements. Nietzsche is the oldest of these thinkers; he dies in 1900 and stops working a decade before due to mental illness. While he was ill, his sister, a proto-Nazi and associate of Hitler, cared for him. Her control of his papers and how they were released to the public painted him as a proto-Nazi himself, but reading his whole oeuvre illuminates that Nietzsche subjected Judaism and Christianity to the same scrutiny. In The Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche attempts to use the genealogy method to be critical of modern morality without taking a certain vantage point. We discuss most specifically his genealogy of the ideas of good and bad and of good and evil.

Reading assignment:

Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality, pp. 1-67

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