Chapter 26. "Slave and Master Morality" by Friedrich Nietzsche

Table of Contents
Ideas of Interest from Beyond Good and Evil
The Reading Selection from Beyond Good and Evil
Related Ideas
Topics Worth Investigating

Nietzsche, Thoemmes

About the author…

Friedrich Nietzsche's (1844-1900) intuitive and visceral rejection of the economics, politics, and science of European civilization in the 19th century led him to predict, "There will be wars such as there have never been on earth before." His dominant aphoristic style of writing and his insistence of truth as convenient fiction, or irrefutable error, have puzzled philosophers who think in traditional ways. Nietzsche seeks to undermine the traditional quest of philosophy as recounted by Russell and, instead, seeks to reveal the objects of philosophy (truth, reality, and value) to be based on the "Will to Power."

About the work…

In Beyond Good and Evil[1] Nietzsche detects two types of morality mixed not only in higher civilization but also in the psychology of the individual. Master-morality values power, nobility, and independence: it stands "beyond good and evil." Slave-morality values sympathy, kindness, and humility and is regarded by Nietzsche as "herd-morality." The history of society, Nietzsche believes, is the conflict between these two outlooks: the herd attempts to impose its values universally but the noble master transcends their "mediocrity."

Ideas of Interest from Beyond Good and Evil

  1. How does Nietzsche explain the origins of society? What are the essential characteristics of a healthy society?

  2. Nietzsche states that a consequence of the "Will to Power" is the exploitation of man by man, and this exploitation is the essence of life. What does he mean by this statement? Is exploitation a basic biological function of living things?

  3. What does Nietzsche mean when he says that the noble type of man is "beyond good and evil" and is a creator of values?

  4. Explain in some detail the differences among the master-morality and the slave-morality. Are these concepts useful in the analysis of interpersonal dynamics?

  5. Explain Nietzsche's insight into the psychology of vanity. Why is vanity essential to the slave-morality? How does it relate to the individual's need for approval? Is Nietzsche asserting that the vanity of an individual is a direct consequence of the individual's own sense of inferiority?



Friedrich Nietzsche. Beyond Good and Evil. Translated by Helen Zimmern. 257-261.