Nietzsche and Morality Friedrich Nietzsche Research Paper
- Length: 9 pages
- Sources: 6
- Subject: Business - Ethics
- Type: Research Paper
- Paper: #91881758
Excerpt from Research Paper :
However, Nietzsche is keen to observe that the fact that there are varying standards of morality or different moralities does not mean that there is no form of biding morality. If this is the case therefore, then it is logical to argue that there are as well varying kinds of 'binding' originating from the varying moralities, for instance, the Christian binding cannot be deemed the same as the binding fronted by the Kantian philosophy on life. These two bindings have to be different it can be argued. Either of the Christian philosophies and moralities, or the Kantian moralities or any other out there cannot be said to be a universal phenomena but an evolution and a product of a specific circumstance meant to fulfill a given deficiency. The fact that they must have different 'bindings' also does not mean that they are therefore useless, indeed they are central for different people located at different places and possibly different times in life phases. The variance in the belief and the moralities that we hold is from what Nietzsche refers to as 'life itself' which is the valuation and giving preference to one thing or idea over the other, the discriminative aspect.
This philosopher was very concerned about the aspect of assigning a universal value to morality such that he considered it 'immoral' to assert that one standard should be used to measure morality. He asserts that the creation of positive value can only be derived from the 'pathos of distance' which is the long lasting feeling on the part of a 'higher ruling order' of its total superiority in relation to a 'lower' order, hence the idea of slave and master morality comes into play once more. Indeed it is the difference in the view and measure of morality that asserts the will of the master over the slaves hence creating the tension that exists between the two classes hence giving room for new morality to be created in a bid to reconcile the two classes and the existing differences. This then means that the aspect of slavery was not just a necessity as a tool to give pleasure to the upper class that were the masters to enable them produce their desired artifacts, but philosophically was a necessity in social-psychological aspect since it is only in a situation when the upper class has the lower class to look down upon and despise as inferior to themselves that the society is able to create positive values, that explains why the caste system was and still is existence and philosophically necessary as well.
On the perception of what is right or wrong, or good and the bad Nietzsche indicates that it is purely out of the inherent discrimination that exists within man. This involves man placing one thing as better or of value over the other. This then means that for man to have a positive discrimination of things, then there is need to have positive sense of self first and that, he says, can only exist in a society of 'rank-orders', where distance exists. Here therefore applies the objection that Nietzsche has against assigning a universal code to morality, he says this kind of approach tends to break down the rank-ordering that exists, and rightfully so, within the society. According to him, the rank-order dictates that there should be different codes of behavior or morality that governs members of a given rank to those that govern members of another rank. If this rank-order is destabilized, then the distance between the two ranks will be compromised and in effect, the ability to generate new positive values will diminish as well. This inability to generate new positive values is viewed as decadence and according to Nietzsche is the worst thing that can happen to a society. The health of a society in terms of morals depends on the continued ability to generate new positive values (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2010 ).
The other outstanding claim that Nietzsche makes concerns 'free will'. He asserts that there is nothing like 'free will' in the existence of man. However, the fact that he denies the existence of 'free will' does not mean that the will is unfree or is enslaved, but rather he claims that the pair, that is free and unfree will is a mere fiction of man and has not direct relationship or even practical application to 'the will'. The concept of 'free will' is seen here as an invention of the weak slaves who appropriated language to express their desires, which cannot be achieved as well. Nietzsche asserts that, in line with this argument, there is nothing like an 'agent' behind a given action, but just the action itself. For instance he gives an example that there is noting like 'it' rains but just raining itself. A person can be weaker or stronger but none of these implies that the person has the 'free choice' to be or not to be stronger or weaker. Therefore, he argues that the free will is used by the slaves in a quest to get power within and among themselves. The first thing is that the slaves use the free will to falsely upraise themselves by turning their weakness into the point and source of self-congratulation. Indeed, the slave is not aggressive or successful (as already noted above) due to the fact that they are weak but, with the free will, they have the fall back excuse to account for their lack of success or deficiency. They say they had a moral merit for not doing what they could have done to be aggressive. So, instead of accepting that they are weak and unable to do certain things, they claim that they are morally superior hence chose no to do it. The second thing is that the slaves use the free will to try and contain or confound the strong as much as possible. The argument of the slave is that, if they can successfully manage to fix their fictitious notion of free will in the thought trends of the strong, then, they shall have significantly improved their living conditions. This is bearing the fact that the strong will now think of the slaves as having free will hence the strong will start dropping some of their actions directed towards the slaves consequently making them less powerful than was before they believed in the free will of the slaves, a situation that is advantageous fro the slaves.
From this account of free will, Nietzsche therefore indicates that 'good' and 'evil' depends on the notion of the slaves about 'free will' and the same applies to the notions of 'guilt', 'remorse', 'sin' and such like. All these, he says are misinterpretations of the existing physiological conditions. For instance, he says guilt arises from the expectation that the person will suffer pain due to failure to discharge debts. This is a physiological condition which is a combination of the intrinsic fear and the need to direct aggression towards self.
Generally, Nietzsche rejects the assertion that there should be a prescription of morality and that this prescription should apply to all the people, and that the proper stand and evaluation should be such that everyone should in principle agree with the morality. He also emphasizes that the 'slave revolt' only produced 'reactive' values instead of new 'positive' values.
Philo G., (2011). The Basics of Nietzsche's Morality: Master and Slave Morality. Retrieved May 18, 2013 from http://voices.yahoo.com/the-basics-nietzsches-morality-7543272.html?cat=37
Raymond G., (2013). Nietzsche and Morality. Retrieved May 18, 2013 from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1468-0378.00024/pdf
Roger C., 2008). Nietzsche and Morality. Retrieved May 18, 2013 from http://philosophynow.org/issues/70/Nietzsche_and_Morality
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, (2010 ). Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy. Retrieved May 18, 2013 from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nietzsche-moral-political/