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LoveKnowledgeThe Life of Philosophy from Socrates to Derrida$
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Roy Brand

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231160445

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231160445.001.0001

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How We Become What We Are

How We Become What We Are

Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals

(p.73) 5 How We Become What We Are

Roy Brand

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines Friedrich Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals, in which he states that philosophy shapes the material of life into a beautiful and interesting existence. The problem for Nietzsche is the concept of desire, particularly the desire humans experience in modern times, which is limited by generations of social taming, and the growing belief that individuals have little to do in changing the world. According to Nietzsche, humans learn how not to desire, which in itself is a form of desire—the desire not to desire. He fears the nihilistic attitude that spreads when humans are left without their passions. Nietzsche's question is how to restore man's passionate engagement with knowing the world. The Genealogy of Morals reveals the role of human agency in creating meanings and values; it tells the story of the formation of moral concepts.

Keywords:   Friedrich Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals, philosophy, desire, nihilism, human agency, moral concepts

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