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The Origins of Good and Evil According to Nietzsche In his work On the Genealogy of Morality Nietzsche intends to investigate not only the origin but more importantly the value of morality While Nietzsche does not specifically define morality he speaks of the values of compassion self-denial and self-sacrifice GM Preface 5 Nietzsche thinks that people have taken the worth of these values as something given as beyond dispute Until now people have not doubted that good is of higher value in other words is of greater benefit to mankind than evil for instance Nietzsche asks What if the opposite were true He suggests that maybe what we call good is actually a danger to mankind and what we call evil is of higher value GM Preface 6 In the First Treatise Nietzsche attempts to answer this question by showing how these terms have evolved to arrive at their present meanings I will first explore Nietzsches account and critique of these concepts and will then give my own view of his account The origin of good and evil starts with the transition from nomadic societies to permanent settlements This transition could not have occurred without natural born leaders These leaders the nobility considered themselves and their actions good Bad was defined as the opposite of good and came as an afterthought to the nobles Bad was used to denote those who were not good who were base and vulgar GM First Treatise 2 To those high virtues of the noble Nietzsche attributes the birth of the people of resentment The values of the nobles were unattainable to most people and these people therefore resented the nobles and considered them evil They considered those unlike the nobles such as themselves as good This is how the opposing values of good and bad versus good and evil arose According to Nietzsche this change from good and bad to good and evil took place when the
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