How is Nietzsche’s genealogy of morality relevant to his revaluation of values? I consider and reject two potential explanations: (1) the value of contemporary morality depends on historical facts and (2) history serves as evidence for the properties of contemporary morality. I then propose an alternative account. On this view, Nietzsche’s historical story helps us “structure our interpretation” of morality by indicating whether and where we should expect to find coherence in our current moral practice. Moreover, Nietzsche’s history contributes to a critique of contemporary morality because it reveals that morality is unlikely to have the kind of “unity” required by many of its defenders. After defending this account of how Nietzsche’s historical claims are relevant to his critique, I use the account to explain why Nietzsche’s genealogy mixes fact and fiction.
Post-Kantian European Philosophy Seminar Convenors: Joseph Schear, Manuel Dries, and Mark Wrathall