Genealogy and Immanent Critique

As we have seen, Nietzsche's emigration beyond good and evil contributes to his campaign to eliminate the surplus suffering engendered by Western morality. For an example of his "immoral" critical method in practice, let us turn now to the Genealogy . Before interpreting the ascetic ideal and Western morality as symptomatic of a certain form of life, Nietzsche must first gain access to an empirical "case history." He thus sets out in the Genealogy to articulate a more detailed account of the history and development of our values within the framework of justification that asceticism provides.

As we have seen, Nietzschean genealogy gains hermeneutic access to the historical phenomenon in question via its parasitic inhabitation of the dominant interpretation of that phenomenon. Rather than import some external or transcendent standard of evaluation, Nietzsche takes as his starting point the dominant interpretation of Western morality, as reflected in the history and practice of Christianity. [16] Central to the self-understanding of Christian morality is the voluntaristic conviction that anyone and everyone could have acted otherwise . Christian morality thus takes as originary for its enterprise a freely determined choice to cultivate the virtues of humility

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