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In the Genealogy of Morals and The Ethics of Ambiguity Nietzsche and de Beauvoir both criticize and propose an alternative to nihilism according to which means there are no objective values purposes or meanings in life So nihilists believe that the established values eg the value of truth-telling etc in our society are merely artificial constructions In this paper Ill first discuss Nietzsches criticism of nihilism by making use of his analysis of bad conscience and the ascetic ideal and then go on to discuss his alternative proposal of a more ideal way to exist Then Ill turn to de Beauvoir and do the same after which Ill compare and contrast these two philosophers criticisms and alternative proposals Next Ill provide an objection against de Beauvoirs proposal 1 Before I can explain Nietzsches criticism of nihilism I need to first discuss his general philosophical view in which the concepts of bad conscience and the ascetic ideal play crucial roles Nietzsche observes that under most circumstances human beings act according to their natural tendencies in particular desires and aggressiveness However the slave morality which is what Nietzsche thinks most people subscribe to regards acting according to these natural tendencies as bad And since these instincts were devalued and suspended p64 in the slave morality therefore people were encouraged to feel guilty and bad whenever they experience these instincts Moreover since we cannot externalize such tendencies in a socially acceptable way the only way for us to cope with this oppression is to turn our natural tendencies inwards upon ourselves or in other words to suppress them Thus we are essentially contradicting our own innate tendencies Nietzsches concept of ascetic
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