Beyond Selflessness: Reading Nietzsches Genealogy

Paperback | August 1, 2009

byChristopher Janaway

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Christopher Janaway presents a full commentary on Nietzsche's most studied work, On the Genealogy of Morality, and combines close reading of key passages with an overview of Nietzsche's wider aims. Arguing that Nietzsche's goal is to pursue psychological and historical truths concerning theorigins of modern moral values, Beyond Selflessness differs from other books on Nietzsche in that it emphasizes the significance of his rhetorical methods as an instrument of persuasion. Nietzsche's outlook is broadly naturalist, but he is critical of typical scientific and philosophical methods fortheir advocacy of impersonality and suppression of the affects. In contrast to his opponents, Schopenhauer and Paul Ree, who both account for morality in terms of selflessness, Nietzsche believes that our allegiance to a post-Christian morality that centres around selflessness, compassion, guilt,and denial of the instincts is not primarily rational but affective: underlying feelings, often ambivalent and poorly grasped in conscious thought, explain our moral beliefs. The Genealogy is designed to detach the reader from his or her allegiance to morality and prepare for the possibility of newvalues. In addition to examining how Nietzsche's 'perspectivism' holds that one can best understand a topic such as morality through allowing as many of one's feelings as possible to speak about it, Janaway shows that Nietzsche seeks to enable us to 'feel differently': his provocation of thereader's affects helps us grasp the affective origins of our attitudes and prepare the way for healthier values such as the affirmation of life (as tested by the thought of eternal return) and the self-satisfaction to be attained by 'giving style to one's character'.

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Christopher Janaway presents a full commentary on Nietzsche's most studied work, On the Genealogy of Morality, and combines close reading of key passages with an overview of Nietzsche's wider aims. Arguing that Nietzsche's goal is to pursue psychological and historical truths concerning theorigins of modern moral values, Beyond Selfles...

Christopher Janaway is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southampton.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:296 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:August 1, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019957085X

ISBN - 13:9780199570850

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Table of Contents

A Note on Translations and Abbreviations1. Nietzsche's aims and targets2. Reading Nietzsche's Preface3. Naturalism and genealogy4. Selflessness: the struggle with Schopenhauer5. Nietzsche and Paul Ree on the origin of moral feelings6. Good and evil: Nietzsche's artistic revaluation7. Free will, autonomy, and the sovereign individual8. Guilt, bad conscience, and self-punishment9. Will to power in the iGenealogy/i10. Nietzsche's illustration of the art of exegesis11. Disinterestedness and objectivity12. Perspectival knowing and the affects13. The ascetic ideal, meaning, and truth14. Beyond selflessnessBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Intelligent and illuminating...a valuable resource for Nietzsche scholars...there are ample rewards in terms of intelligent and discerning exposition of difficult passages, lucid placing of themes and arguments in historical context, and a rich and sympathetic appreciation of Nietzsche'sstyle, both as a therapeutic tool and for the philosophical assumptions that underlie it." --Brian Leiter, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews