On the Genealogy of Morality : A Polemic, Paperback

On the Genealogy of Morality : A Polemic Paperback

3 out of 5 (2 ratings)


This new edition is the product of a collaboration between a Germanist and a philosopher who is also a Nietzsche scholar.

The translation strives not only to communicate a sense of Nietzsches style but also to convey his meaning accuratelyand thus to be an important advance on previous translations of this work.

A superb set of notes ensures that Clark and Swensen's Genealogy will become the new edition of choice for classroom use.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Co, Inc
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: History of Western philosophy
  • ISBN: 9780872202832


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Of all the books by or about Nietzsche, I think this particular edition of the Genealogy would be the best place for the novice to start. The introduction by Clark (a very well regraded Nietzsche scholar) is excellent and provides a workable framework for interpreting a text (and an author) that can often be difficult to decipher. The scholarly apparatus is exhaustive; the editors provide end notes that cover nearly every page in the original text and help the reader to make sense of Nietzsche's sometimes unclear allusions and provide voluminous biographic and bibliographic detail covering both Nietzsche and the interlocutors he mentions in the text (as well as a few he merely alludes to). As for the text itself, I think it is notable primarily for the genealogical analysis of the concepts of good/right-bad/wrong and for a glimpse of Nietzsche's "perspectivalist" epistemology in the third section. These views have been highly influential (although not among philosophers as such) over the past century and anyone that wishes to understand the course and trajectory of 20th century thought should be aware of them. Nietzsche is a master stylist, so the reading is fun as well as thought provoking.Of course, the central question, considering Nietzsche qua philosopher, is this: Does Nietzsche get thing right?I think it's pretty clear that the answer is "no". Although his castigation of scientific atheism as an extension (perhaps the highest extension) of religious asceticism shows depth and brilliance, he doesn't ever give us any solid arguments for thinking that truth itself hinges on particular standards of evaluation. Nietzsche seems to me to be skeptical of the idea of truth as correspondence (the standard view) because it situates truth outside of life. It makes truth something that transcends individual human beings. Perhaps this is true, and given Nietzsche's rejection of any and all transcendent things it makes sense that he'd want to reject truth conceived of in this way. What isn't clear is that he CAN do this, that is, that his view is warranted. The fact that the correspondence of theory of truth has implications that Nietzsche finds repulsive is no reason for thinking that it's false.Furthermore, without some notion of truth as correspondence, it's not clear that his earlier critique of moral concepts has any real bite.

Review by

A book of 3 essays. Almost stopped reading after introduction. Then again half way through first essay. Found a few statements interesting in first 2 essays.Found third essay a bit more interesting.Neitzsche mentions becoming more Chinese. Also shutting down animal aspects of humans and hibernating, internalizing instincts. I wonder how Nietzsche exercised.