nature of morality

Mind Map by samelesedy, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by samelesedy over 6 years ago


Mind Map on nature of morality, created by samelesedy on 06/18/2013.

Resource summary

nature of morality
1 morality of human nature
1.1 THE ATTACK ON MORALITY: nietzsche isn't concerned with what's classed as moral and immoral, he believes that what's classed as immoral and moral should be avoided or done, his concern is with the psychology of morality. nietzsche's concern with morality is that it goes against the will to power and is therefore a threat to human greatness. the conventional morality is aimed at the herd and the people who aim to avoid suffering and danger, nietzsche wants to free those who have the potential to be great from that morality.
1.1.1 he opposes all moral systems that attack or damage the values of a 'higher' man, and benefit the herd. or any morality that presupposes free will, or the idea that we can know truths about ourselves through introspection, or the similarity of people. what does nietzsche mean by morality, the morality that he intends to attack? (1) by its values, i.e. equality, pity selflessness and so on. (2) by its origins, in particular its motives, especially resentment. (3) its claim that it should apply to all. (4) emprical and metaphysical assumptions, e.g. about freedom, the self, guilt and soon.
1.2 if there were universal moral values, they would be the same for everybody, and a 'history' of morality would be similar to a 'history' of science as it would consist of how we came to know about these moral values. but we can discuss how moral values have changed over time. but not everyone accepts this and they argue that there are moral values which apply to everyone, arguing that they are grounded in reason or happiness or so on. nietzsche rejects these theories as they assume there is no natural history of morality. claims of universality assume that all people are equal and what is goo for one person is good for another, but nietzsche argues this ignores what type of people there are, namely leaders and followers.
1.3 free will and introspection
1.3.1 nietzsche argues that each person has a fixed psycho-physical constitution, and that there values, beliefs and so their lives are an expression of this. a person's constitution subscribes what they can become or do relative to their circumstances. the will then has its origin in unconscious physiological forces. in general, whatever we are conscious of in ourselves is an effect of something we are not conscious of, e.g. facts about the psycho-physiological constitution. introspection then can't lead to self-knowledge. yet conventional moralities require we make judgements on the basis of people's motives, it presupposes that we can know in ourselves, or in other, which motives cause an action. even when we have clearly formed an intention it is not always the intention that brings about the act but other factors.
1.3.2 the idea that a will is free is based on the idea that it has no causes other than itself, the person cannot will or not will. there is no cause of events which lead to a will,the will is a 'causa sui' (cause in itself). nietzsche says that our experience of willing does not necessarily lead to the idea of free will, but then how could it have come about? he argues that it supports the belief in ourselves and our right to praise. nietzsche also says that it serves the purpose of us holding people t blame for what is in their power. the idea of free will also relates to the idea that values could be the basis for an act of will. the will is not conditioned by anything of this world, the 'moral law' can determine the will its self. this locates moral values outside the normal world of causes and into the transcendental world.
1.4 MORALITY AND EVOLUTION: nietzsche argues that evolution favours tameness and commonness, this is because human society needs to be split up into commanders and followers, and as evolution proposes that the traits that are superior will survive, e.g traits which allow people to get along with many more people, this would be traits that are found it the 'herd' (followers) as they are the greatest number of people, and traits which are found in exceptional leaders will be rare, therefore evolution favours the herd. the herd even favours leaders which have common traits with them like tame, modest, hard working and so on, not leaders that can command. but the tension between free spirits being bread and the evolutionary process has led to the free spirits being motivated to overcome the ascetic ideal and prepare the conditions for new philosophers.
2 herd morality
2.1 nietzsche objects to the herd morality as it values what has no values. if each person's values help them establish favourable conditions then it will lead to the continuation of herd like people, it is therefore not something the whole human race can live by. the herd morality is a development of the slave morality which inherits most of its content, including reinterpretations of various traits: impotence - goodness of heart, craven fear - humility, submission - 'obedience', cowardice and being forced to wait - patience, inability to take revenge - forgiveness, desire for revenge - desire for justice, hatred of an enemy - hatred of injustice. happiness becomes being opposed to suffering,pity vs indifference to suffering, peacefulness vs danger, alturism vs self-love, equality vs inequality, communal utility vs endangering such utility, ridding oneself of instinct vs instinctual satisfaction, well being of the soul vs well being of the body.
2.1.1 this morality though has no intrinsic value, and it often endangers human greatness. as greatness requires suffering in general but this goes against the herd morality and the feelings of the many. it goes against the development of higher people and deems what the higher people do, or need to do to get greater as evil, this limits those people who have the potential to be great leaving them with self- doubt and self-loathing. nietzsche sees this morality to be shrewed and stupid. it contains and controls powerful instinctual emotions and drives, this is shrewed because these are dangerous to the herd person, who does not have a strong enough will to control their emotions and to stand up to others. but it is stupid because it is based on misunderstanding and fear and opposes the development of higher people. it even undermines its own moral values, as it is based on fear there can be no neighbourly love or alturism. the herd morality has moved away from the ascetic ideal and has become a form of utilitarianism as it's aimed at happiness in this world rather than redemption in the next. but with the loss of the ascetic ideal there is nothing to inspire people to become greater and overcome their weaknesses, or find powerful or creative responses to their resentment. this leads nietzsche to praising christianity for its ability for greatness in architecture and art.
2.2 nietzsche criticises modern ideas, these include values of: democracy, equality, work ethic, a morality that opposes suffering, and beliefs in science and positivism (view that morality should limit itself to what is given in experience and the study of science). he argues that these values originate from religion. nietzsche opposes the view of equality, which is so present in democracy, as inequality is so natural in human life and society, so what does equality rest upon? equality and democracy are instincts of the herd morality, as they favour what is unexceptional and mediocre. those who support these values, even if atheist, are supporting the values of christianity as they aim for a 'free' society where everybody is equal. the morality is grounded in the avoidance of suffering, which they think ofas objective, they are unable to recognise sufferings perspectival nature.
2.2.1 when nietzsche opposes pity he does not mean that we should be heartless, he opposes pity as the basis for morality as suffering is the origin of greatness. (1) pity wrongly preserves the weak and prevents people from becoming stronger through suffering. (2) pity demeans both the person giving and receiving pity. the pitied person is shown a lack of power and their self-respect will be undermined, so pity brings them more suffering. the person pitying suffers for the person suffering, again doubling the suffering, they show a lack of self-respect as pity shows a sense of false equality, 'you' and 'i' suffer together. (3) humans inevitably suffer, so trying to alleviate suffering goes against life. (4) pity sees individuals as valuable, but as nietzsche argues the goal of humankind lies in its highest specimen.
2.2.2 nietzsche criticises the modern idea of work ethic (work is morally good an it sets you free), as this destroys time for self-contemplation and reflection which is vital for a religious life, the work ethic therefore requires this time. believers in modern ideas often feel superior to religion, but in fact they don't understand it. they don't understand whether they should treat it as work or leisure, as their minds have become s narrow in their categories of understanding. they seek to be tolerant but avoid the pain of real tolerance, fail to show proper reverence for what is of real value, feeling if they have the right to investigate everything, they lack shame. even though nietzsche attacks religion he has enormous regard for it, he has no respect for those who reject religion thoughtlessly. thinkers who had 'freed' themselves from religion and advocated modern ideas had thought of themselves as 'free spirits', turning over past conceptions of right and wrong, advocating a new basis for society. but nietzsche agues that they are merely continuing the christian ideas under a new guise, supporting further domination of herd values and undermining the conditions necessary for human greatness. by contrast though the new philosophers will see humankind as degenerating, they see the '"fate that lies hidden behind the stupid innocence and blissful ignorance of modern ideas"
2.2.3 nietzsche does not criticise science but scientism, a faith in science having the ultimate source of knowledge and solutions to the problems of life and suffering. but science does not genuinely explain the world, it just describes it. this is accepted and applauded by positivism, as science goes along with the popular idea that we can only know about what we can see and touch. nietzsche agrees but argues that we must treat the evidence of our sense cautiously as the sense are guided by our values. believers in science and positivism fail to recognise this as it goes against their morality, they think that scientific knowledge is unconditional and objective. and so science can't replace philosophy for two reasons: (1) it is philosophy that establishes truth of perspectivism, the perspective of science is a foreground perspective as it doesn't realise it's a perspective. (2) science incorporates values but doesn't dictate or create values, this is the job of the new philosopher.
2.3 why should we reject the herd morality and accept the value nietzsche gives to will to power? life is the will to power, and without life nothing can be valued, valuing life is valuing the ground of all values. but weak forms of life, the herd, are still life, and even dominate life. so we can coherently value life, and the herd, without valuing the will to power as nietzsche does.
3 nobility
3.1 has evolved out of master morality and can be found in its purest form in the new philosopher. the noble person has a sense of themselves in knowing what is good and bad, and the new philosopher creates values. the noble person feels full of greatness and power, while the new philosopher expresses the will to power in its purest form and are full of joy in the affirmation of life.the noble person despises what is weak, the new philosopher ranks people on how much suffering and truth they can bear. both are independent and are not moved by the suffering of the common people.
3.1.1 the best sign of a high rank is to recognise that there is an instinct for rank, not only among humans, and a sense of what is great, every elevation of human beings ahas been and will be achieved through hierarchical societies. noblility involves a grand attitude (e.g. the perspective of eternal return) and a longing for 'expansive inner states' not a sense of being caught up in oneself, but a continual 'self-overcoming'. this shouldn't be understood in the usual moral or spiritual terms, e.g. overcoming one's selfishness or transcending human desires. it isn't guided by fixed values but involves the creation of new values, which requires the self-overcoming of all that is too weak to sustain such originality. nietzsche finds nobility in individuals (a certain type of individual), 5 important characteristic traits: (1) noble man is solitary, independent and uses others as a means to his ends. (2) is driven by his work, having unified his personality to focus on his project, he seeks responsibility. (3) is essentially healthy, knowing what is good for him and choosing that. (4) wills his life unconditionally and perhaps can will the eternal return. (5) has reverence for himself, honouring himself as powerful, and exercising power over himself and striving for his own values. the higher man is most likely involved in artistic or creative work, which precisely requires solitude, an obsessiveness about one's project, an indifference to others opinion, a certainty about oneself and a respect for the traditions for which one has inherited. there are consequences to the noble person's sense of self worth: (1) they can't understand vanity, they start off with a good opinion of oneself, independently of what others think, and then demand that their work is recognised by others. the common person,by contrast, starts off with what other people think of themselves (just as a slaves worth is bestowed by its master). (2) they are egotistical as they believe that others should be sacrificed for their development, this isn't selfishness as they take responsibility for the human race. (3) they respect and revere other noble people as they see something of themselves within them. (4) they don't 'look up' so its very unlikely that they will believe in god, as nietzsche believes the idea of god belongs in slave morality. to be noble one must use suffering, in oneself, to become greater. the noble person suffers greatly but will not cease in their aim to grow stronger. they will not evoke pity, so will not try to display their suffering, instead they will wear a mask, e.g. one that treats suffering casually. nobility is not for everybody and nietzsche sees it as unreasonable for herd people, who have an inability to face the truth about oneself to adopt nobility, he only aims to free those higher people from living by the standards of herd morality.
4 history of morality
4.1 one of nietzsche's primary concerns with morality is how certain values which are associated with the herd became values. morality is a product if historical development, we can't understand a moral value or psychological state unless we use history, because that value or state of mind frequently inherit several different meanings from different times in the past. through understanding its history we can distinguish the different meanings and feelings, and see how they have changed over time. in turn this helps us t understand that there alternatives to these values and states.
4.1.1 he offers us the history of nobility. barbarians, who are 'predatory' humans conquered more peaceful of weaker cultures, when in power they established a class based on the natural hierarchy of humans. nietzsche had in mind the societies of ancient Rome and Greece when talking about an aristocratic class, as they lived in conditions of constant threat of war,invasion and revolt, under these conditions strong people with intolerant values who didn't mind using 'lower' people as means to an end were praised and valuable. over time though conditions became easier for the aristocratic class and the need for strong discipline and values faded away as they were no longer necessary. individuals ended up emerging as individuals, expressing not their class but their own values and wills. this leads to a new danger located in neighbours and even oneself, it is the fear of individuality. this is met with a new morality based on being 'mediocre' and encouraging people to be the same. this is one way (according to nietzsche) that values associated with greatness were replaced by those which favoured the majority. we can identify the stages of decline of the noble/aristocratic morality: fall of greek empire, fall of roman empire, changes in european societies between the middle ages and the french revolution.
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