Examining Good and Bad Conscience in Friedrich Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals

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Friedrich Nietzsche is recognized for being one of the most influential German philosophers of the modern era. He is known for his works on genealogy of morality, which is a way to study values and concepts. In Genealogy of Morals, Friedrich Nietzsche mentions that values and concepts have a history because of the many different meanings that come with it. Nietzsche focused on traditional ethical theories, especially those rooted in religion. Not being a religious man, he believed that human life has no moral purpose except for the significance that human beings give it. People from different backgrounds and circumstances in history bend morality's meaning, making it cater to the norms of their society. For example, the concept of what is "good" in the ancient Greek culture meant aristocratic, noble, powerful, wealthy, pure, but not in modern era. Meaning, in the past the term “good” was not applied to a kind of act that someone did but rather applied to the kind of person and background they had. Nietzsche’s project was to help expand one’s understanding by re-examining morality through genealogy of morality; helping one to be more aware of a potential confusion in moral thinking. He feels that the current values and concepts that have been instilled into a society are a reversal of the truth, forcing him to believe that one’s moral systems had to have been created within society. In the works of genealogy of morality, Nietzsche traces out the origins of the concepts of guilt and bad conscience, which will be the main focal point, and explaining its role in Nietzsche’s project against morality. It will be argued that guilt and bad conscience goes against Nietzsche’s role against morality because it can conflict with the moral co...

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...ason this situation would go against morality is because the person would be punished for their actions, because it goes against society’s moral code.

In conclusion, there is no absolute truth or meaning behind the concepts and values of guilt and bad conscience except for the meanings that human beings give it. Because of the meanings that human beings give values and concepts, Nietzsche is free to argue that in his opinion, guilt and bad conscience goes in opposition to his role against morality because it can conflict with the moral codes in society. Depending on what society considers morally right determines if a certain concept or value will go against it. As Nietzsche might have mentioned before, the history and meanings behind a concept or value are not created by the world but is created by different groups with different cultural heritages and beliefs.
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