Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals: Critical Essays edited by Christa Davis Acampora (Critical Essays on the Classics: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.) This astonishingly rich volume collects the work of an international group of scholars, including some of the best known in academia. Experts in ethics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, political theory, aesthetics, history, critical theory, and hermeneutics bring to light the best philosophical scholarship on what is arguably Friedrich Nietzsche's most challenging text. Including essays that were commissioned specifically for the volume as well as essays revised and edited by their authors this collection showcases definitive works that have shaped Nietzsche studies alongside new work: of interest to students and experts alike. Sections are devoted to the topic of genealogy generally, the numerous essays on specific passages, the applications of genealogy in later thinkers, and the import of Nietzsche's Genealogy in contemporary politics, ethics, and aesthetics. A lengthy introduction, annotated bibliography, and comprehensive index make this an extremely useful guide for the classroom and advanced research.
"This volume is an excellent collection of essays. It offers the right mix of perspectives, topics, and settings that will help any reader of the Genealogy, students and scholars alike, in navigating one of Friedrich Nietzsche's most important and challenging texts. Highly recommended." —LAWRENCE J. HATAB, Louis I. Jaffe Professor, Old Dominion University
"Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals looms larger in the Nietzsche canon with each passing year. Something about this work speaks to the ethical predicament of modernity in a way that seems to be full of promise and is yet deeply unsettling and enigmatic; hence the continuing and increasing discussion of this work by philosophers. Christa Davis Acampora's collection brings together an impressive group of writers who have been at the forefront of contemporary debates on the Genealogy. For the near future, this will be the standard work of reference on the topic." —HENRY STATEN, University of Washington
"This is an exceptionally strong collection, gathering together some of the most insightful commentary on Nietzsche's most important book from leading scholars in North America, Europe, and beyond over the last twenty years. This substantial new volume is a very welcome contribution to the literature and ought to occupy a prominent place on any list of recommended reading for students of Nietzsche's text." —DUNCAN LARGE, University of Wales at Swansea
CONTRIBUTORS: Christa Davis Acampora, Keith Ansell Pearson,
Babette E. Babich, Eric Blondel, Daniel W. Conway, Ken Gemes, Jürgen
Habermas, Salim Kemal, Paul S. Loeb, Mark Migotti, Wolfgang Muller-Lauter,
Alexander Nehamas, David Owen, Robert B. Pippin, Aaron Ridley, Alan
D. Schrift, Gary Shapiro, Tracy B. Strong, Christine Swanton,
Christa Davis Acampora is associate professor of philosophy at
Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New
York. Her numerous publications include A
Nietzschean Bestiary, coedited with Ralph R. Acampora (2004).
She is executive editor of The Journal of Nietzsche Studies.
Excerpt: Right from the start, Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals presents us with some intriguing questions. Simply considering its title—and the choices that translators have made in rendering it into English—opens a number of them. Although several essays in this volume discuss these issues, I shall briefly mention them here because they raise concerns that from the outset will direct readers down different paths. At stake is Nietzsche's general task, how it stands in relation to what might be considered related works or approaches, and how it has been appropriated (and might be extended in the future) in philosophy, political theory, history, and the other related areas of inquiry that have taken to the notion of "genealogical" investigation. So, we shall begin with that very beginning.
The original German title reads: Zur Genealogie der Moral: Eine Streitschrift. The German preposition zur—a contraction of zu and the article der—is common enough. It can mean "toward the" or "on the." In a helpful article annotating the Genealogy, David S. Thatcher recounts Walter Kaufmann's reasons for preferring "on" in the translation he completed with R. J. Hollingdale—a survey of other uses of zur by Nietzsche suggests he does not use it to intend "toward"—and other translators have followed this lead.' I do not find this to be conclusive evidence, though, and it does make a difference whether Nietzsche thought he was contributing to (a body of work on) genealogy, whether he was writing on (hut not himself doing) genealogy from which he was distancing himself, or whether he thought he was leading us toward something that we are not yet in a position to do or to see. These are not mutually exclusive goals and, regardless of the precise translation upon which we settle, it is appropriate to see Nietzsche as having each of these aims. He is 'contributing to a certain body of work devoted to determining the development of human beings such that they became social creatures who developed what we today call "morality." And he is distancing himself from particular ways in which some of his contemporaries have endeavored to do this, as I mention briefly below.
But it is also clear that Nietzsche thinks he is leading us or preparing us for something we have not yet been able to do, to begin a new inquiry, namely, to understand something about ourselves in terms of what we are now and what our future possibilities might he, and perhaps also to exhibit a way of investigating a variety of facets of human existence and how those features have acquired their meanings. Any doubt that Nietzsche's aims include being on the way toward something, should he dispelled when we read the very first lines of the book: Nietzsche, evoking a line from one of his favorite philosophers, Heraclitus, tells us that, "We are unknown to ourselves," suggesting that part of his enterprise involves helping us, as readers, to become less of "strangers to ourselves" (an idea Ken Genies discusses at length in his "Strangers to Ourselves" in this volume).; We are so because "we have never sought ourselves."
Heraclitus is reported to have made the uncanny claim, "I went seeking myself." This thought is uncanny because it would seem that nothing is closer, and perhaps least in need of being sought, than ourselves. Faith in the transparency of the self seems to be one of the key ideas in modern philosophy—consider, for instance, the grist of self-knowledge in Descartes' Meditations. Gemes explores what is uncanny or, in the German unheimlich—literally "un-home-ly"; we might also think of it as "unsettling," "disturbing," or "uprooting"—about Nietzsche's project in On the Genealogy of Morals.
The Genealogy is supposed to be about us, about drawing us into a project aimed at knowing ourselves better, as Gemes elaborates in detail, and Robert B. Pippin and Tracy B. Strong treat in their essays. Pippin's "Lightning and Flash" explicates the curious passage in the first essay where Nietzsche seems to deny that we are "selves" at all (GM 1:13). Strong, in his "Genealogy, the Will to Power, and the Problem of a Past" describes how "weak" and "strong" wills relate to the degree to which one manages to listen to "knowing conscience" and "become the one you are" (GS 270).
Nietzsche's opening indicates that the story of the book might resonate in some way with the story of ourselves. The same paragraph continues with a citation from the first book of the New Testament, Matthew 6:21: "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." In other words, your highest aims (i.e., what you treasure) will direct your desires (i.e., what you pursue and how you go about it). Many of Nietzsche's hooks aim to call our attention to asking the question of what our highest aims are and how we might produce (by artistically creating visions of) that to which a human life might vibrantly aspire. But although Nietzsche cites the hook of Matthew here, he does not simply reiterate its answer. Nietzsche's "good news," we must imagine, will involve a transformation or a revaluation of what are identified as the treasure and the heart of Christianity (that is, it involves a deep exploration of what is prized or valued most highly and the desire or passion that motivates the pursuit of such).
Nietzsche's Genealogy constitutes a new beginning, some kind of seeking; it is on the way toward something, perhaps the discovery of a new "treasure." And, in case we need further convincing of this point, at the end of the second essay of the Genealogy, following Nietzsche's account of the development of modern morality and what he calls "the bad conscience," he evokes the image of "the man of the future, who will redeem us" from the mess he has just described, and he ties this redemptive image to the name of his Zarathustra (GM 11:24 and 25). Paul S. Loeb in his "Finding the Übermensch in Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morality" goes to great lengths to show how this is so and the difference it makes for how we think about what is the future alternative for which Nietzsche argues. All of this is followed by an elaborate analysis, specifically an exegesis of the nature of ascetic ideals (about which Wolfgang Muller-Lauter sheds considerable light in his "Nihilism as Will to Nothingness"). And that discussion concludes with consideration of whether (and, if so, how) it is possible to generate meaning and significance in any way other than through ascetic practices, which Nietzsche considers to be destructive and ultimately self-undermining. So, it is clear that Nietzsche's project is on its way toward somewhere but that it does not ultimately reach its conclusion. This is not Nietzsche's last word on the matter, and he does not consider his account complete.
There is no disagreement among translators about the translation of Genealogie, naturally, but as one can see when reading the essays collected here, the relation of genealogy to history, to the "English psychologists" Nietzsche dismisses in his preface and first essay, to the work of his former friend Paul Rée, and to "genealogy" as practiced by those inspired by Michel Foucault are considerably contentious issues. Numerous authors included here treat facets of these concerns (e.g., Alexander Nehamas in "The Genealogy of Genealogy: Interpretation in Nietzsche's Second Untimely Meditation and in On the Genealogy of Morals," Gary Shapiro in "Translating, Repeating, Naming: Foucault, Derrida, and the Genealogy of Morals," and Alan D. Schrift in "Nietzsche, Deleuze, and the Genealogical Critique of Psychoanalysis: Between Church and State"). How does this influence the reader from the very start? The matter concerns what counts as a "start," because there is considerable variation in how certain key words relating to beginnings and origins in Zur Genealogie der Moral are translated. These words give us some clues about just what Nietzsche intends by "genealogy" and whether and how he is practicing or applying it (and there is disagreement about whether genealogy is a method or an interpretative activity that one practices in an exemplary fashion—see Babette E. Babich, "The Genealogy of Morals and Right Reading: On the Nietzschean Aphorism and the Art of the Polemic" on this point).
The problematic words in question are Herkunft, Ursprung, and Entstehung, and their compounds. Roughly, these words could he translated as "descent," "origin," and "emergence" in that order. How we think about Nietzsche's use of these words is related to what we consider his project to be in On the Genealogy of Morals.' Is Nietzsche providing us with his own view of the "descent of man" in the form of a developmental story that is similar to or at odds with the "descent of man" as provided by Charles Darwin and other evolutionary theorists? Is Nietzsche offering a story about an "original condition," something like the "state of nature" that early modern philosophers provided in their political philosophies? Is he endeavoring to disclose the "true origins" of morality in order to show that religious morality, particularly, is not what we think it is? Is he tracing the emergence of nobility (and/or slavishness) in the manner of a pedigree? Is he giving us a naturalistic account of the emergence of morality among human beings? Is genealogy chiefly critique, and is it supposed to be different from (and more effective than) making a logical argument against that which is criticized? And if the latter, is there any way to legitimately make judgments about the superiority of differing genealogical critiques, if universal reasoning about these matters has been undermined? These are questions that we confront when we consider from the beginning what Nietzsche intends by "genealogy."
The first section of this volume addresses the nature of Nietzsche's genealogical project. Keith Ansell Pearson's "A 'Dionysian Drama on the "Fate of the Soul"': An Introduction to Reading On the Genealogy of Morality" addresses many of the questions raised above, providing a far-reaching hut specific scope through which to consider how Nietzsche envisions the incorporation of knowledge with the love of our fate. Of particular interest are Ansell Pearson's discussion of the soul, bad conscience, and guilt, in which he describes how Nietzsche retains a conception of soul as "a system of valuations and value-affects," how had conscience is fated as the internalization of the " 'instinct for freedom— and "will to growth," and how guilt is the idealized moralization of the debtor-creditor relation that affords a particularly intense manifestation of cruelty turning hack on itself. The drama of the soul, then, is the pressure and play of these affects, which is the source of our undoing as well as our possible creativity. In the second chapter, "Nietzsche, Re-evaluation and the Turn to Genealogy," David Owen describes how Nietzsche's turn to genealogy is motivated, in part, by his concern to provide a naturalistic account of our valuing of truth. Owen provides an especially compelling account of how this problem develops for Nietzsche, dating hack to his earlier reflections on morality in Daybreak. It is this account of the value of truth, Owen argues, that provides Nietzsche's rationale for why we should abandon Christianity. Alexander Nehamas, in "The Genealogy of Genealogy," ties genealogy to Nietzsche's earlier views on history to show how genealogy aims at an interpretation that creates a new relationship to the past. This new relation does not necessarily involve a falsification of that past. Moreover, Nehamas argues, such interpretative activity is tied to how phenomena acquire meaning and significance at all (on this latter point especially, compare the concerns of Habermas). Eric Blonde!, in his "Nietzsche's Style of Affirmation: The Metaphors of Genealogy," argues that Nietzsche's genealogy endeavors to bring forth relations between body, language, and world to provide a bodily basis of meaning. Nietzsche's genealogy, Blonde! argues, constitutes a symptomatology of morality, which also considers the conception of the body that issues from and appears within the set of signs that constitutes morality. Aaron Ridley's "Nietzsche and the Re-evaluation of Values" shows how Nietzsche's genealogy is bound up with a project of re-evaluating intrinsic values as intrinsic. This project links genealogy with an effort to authoritatively re-evaluate the values of traditional morality in a way that does not itself depend upon the authoritative origins (God, pure reason, etc.) of traditional morality. And, in a new work, Tracy B. Strong articulates the project of genealogy as reflecting the desire to "transform the present by changing the past." To explain how this seemingly impossible task might be plausible, Strong discusses Nietzsche's conception of will, its directions (or Wohins), and how such directions affect the qualities of will in terms of their relations to themselves and their pasts. Of particular interest is Strong's distinction of slavish and noble types in terms of their relations to their past, how their genealogies affect and effect their activity in the present and the future toward which they strive.
Nietzsche's preface and the beginning of his first essay help us to discern what it is that he is doing, but a review of the different translations most commonly available to readers of English shows how difficult it is to map these points to translation of the three problematic words pertaining to origins described above. It is clear that there is at least one kind of "genealogy" that Nietzsche is not practicing, namely, whatever it is that he associates with "English psychologists." But here Nietzsche's targets are not completely transparent, because he does not identify them by name, except to tell us that his former friend Paul Rée (himself not an Englishman) has written a book that closely resembles, and by Nietzsche's estimation is far too influenced by, the works of these people." We certainly have some clues as to their identity, and the matter is clearly related to how Nietzsche thinks about Darwin, those he influenced (such as Herbert Spencer), those who embrace a utilitarian view (such as John Stuart Mill), and those associated with a certain kind of empiricism (such as John Locke and David Hume; see Ansell Pearson in this volume). So, if Nietzsche is involved in a naturalistic project, it is certainly somehow different from that in which he considers these figures to be involved. Anyone arguing that Nietzsche is giving us that kind of story of descent must satisfactorily address this problematic matter.
Moreover, it appears that Nietzsche is not offering us a genetic account of morals, at least not in the manner of tracing them to a specific, singular origin whose value endures or inheres in our current morals and practices.' Nietzsche's GM II seems to make this clear in his discussion of the purpose of punishment. There, Nietzsche is considering the relation between punishment and the development of morality. He advises that we cannot read these purposes off the particular morals and sanctions we have today—tracing them back in time is not as simple as tracing a family tree.
Purposes do not evolve in a particular direction over time, rather they can be (slowly or quickly) redirected, reorganized, absorbed into something that we consider to be completely different or new, and so forth:
The cause of the origin of a thing [die Ursache der Entstehung] and its eventual utility, its actual employment and place in a system of purposes, lie worlds apart; whatever exists, having somehow come into being, is again and again reinterpreted to new ends, taken over, transformed, and redirected by some power superior to it; all events in the organic world are a subduing, a becoming master, and all subduing and becoming master involves a fresh interpretation, an adaptation through which any previous "meaning" and "purpose" are necessarily obscured or even obliterated. (GM II:12)
And what accounts for these changes, what is meant by "becoming master"? Tracy B. Strong elaborates an approach in his account of the masterful relation to oneself that constitutes "becoming what one is," Daniel Conway describes the evolutionary development (and demise) of the masters throughout Nietzsche's text, and Christine Swanton explores how "mastery" might be a component of a kind of virtue theory. Answering this question sheds light on translation of the final word in the main title of Nietzsche's text—Moral—because what Nietzsche in GM II:l 2 describes as "becoming master" refers to a basic idea that unites the three different essays of the book and pinpoints Nietzsche's general interest in the whole process of development and change in moral values, that is, morality as such.
Another way of describing that which drives such change in morality is to call it, with Nietzsche, will to power. In GM I, he provides an account of mastery and power that considers a distinctively human capacity for achieving power, for becoming master, through the process of valuation. In GM II, Nietzsche considers how that particular feature of human existence has focused on a specific kind of mastery of the affects and the physiological organizations they express. And in GM III, Nietzsche considers the way in which the ascetic ideal is the general form of the kind of mastery that the first essay identified as characteristically human, namely, the creation of meaning through valuation and revaluation. The ascetic ideal is an expression of "becoming master" insofar as it reflects an attempt to achieve mastery through dominating and suppressing some aspect of existence in pursuit of something supposedly "higher"—what is "higher" is considered so and acquires its value through destruction of what presently is. What Nietzsche calls "will to power" can be seen as characteristic of this process—there is not something that is willing power behind this activity. Rather, the general phenomenon itself is, as Nietzsche continues in the passage with which we began this line of consideration, "a succession of more or less profound, more or less mutually independent processes of subduing, plus the resistances they encounter" (GM II: 1 2). All events in the organic world unfold thus, and in On the Genealogy of Morals Nietzsche endeavors to highlight how such can be seen in the case of the human animal.
In this respect, Nietzsche is clearly seeking to contribute to a naturalistic account of the phenomenon of morality. It is common now for those discussing Nietzsche's ideas about will to power to link them with his understanding and critique of then-contemporary evolutionary biology and to situate this concern in the context of various theories of natural forces and/or psychological drives." This way of characterizing Nietzsche's naturalism equates it, not without some tension, with a kind of scientism. The "tension" to which I allude refers to the fact that Nietzsche is explicitly critical of science. Indeed, as Gemes outlines and Ansell Pearson mentions in this volume, Nietzsche argues in the third essay of the Genealogy that the scientific enterprise, which would appear to be a good opponent of the Christian ascetic ideal Nietzsche so vociferously and polemically rails against, turns out to be the most recent manifestation of the very same ideal, particularly in its commitment to truth. So those who argue that Nietzsche's project is to provide a naturalistic account of morality or our moral psychology (as Owen, Ridley, and Swanton do) have to reconcile this idea with Nietzsche's criticism of science (on naturalism in Nietzsche, see also Pippin's essay in this volume).
One way of resolving the tension between Nietzsche's naturalism and his critique of science is to say that while Nietzsche might be critical of science earlier in his career, he changes his mind in his "mature writings" (generally thought to be those following Thus Spoke Zarathustra, sometimes reaching back a bit earlier). This is the approach of Brian Leiter in his Routledge Guidebook Nietzsche on Morality, where he claims that "The Genealogy, and Nietzsche's mature philosophy generally, proposes a naturalistic explanation, that is, an explanation that is continuous with both the results and methods of the sciences."" Since Leiter appears to think that appreciation of Nietzsche's aesthetic interest is appropriate only for consideration of the literary (and hence nonphilosophical) aspects of Nietzsche's work, he virtually ignores it in his interpretation of the Genealogy. This leads him to largely ignore what Nietzsche has to say about interpretation in the Genealogy and to limit discussion of creativity to consideration of how (rare human psychological) types have certain creative capacities of discovery (of truths consistent with and in accordance with the methods of the physical sciences).
Other readers of Nietzsche endeavor to show how a different (i.e., nonscientistic) naturalism emerges when Nietzsche's aestheticism is taken seriously. This is not to say that Nietzsche rejects science or a standpoint in which science is given priority over other perspectives, but rather that Nietzsche recognizes all human knowing is not only partial but also an act of creativity." This last notion is intricately linked to genealogy by Salim Kemal in his chapter "Nietzsche's Genealogy: Of Beauty and Community," which appears in the final section of this volume. Nietzsche's concern in the Genealogy is with the phenomenon of morality as such and not simply particular moral views. It unfolds in a context that is naturalistic but which highlights the (natural) aesthetic powers of human beings. Thus, my own view is to side with those who translate the German Moral as "Morality," although this book uses the title most familiar to English-speaking audiences from Kaufmann and Hollingdale's rendering it as "Morals."
Finally, we should consider the subtitle to the hook. It also strikes a bell-tone that should reverberate through one's reading of Nietzsche's text. Nietzsche tells us from the very beginning that what he is presenting is provocative—Eine Streitschrift, appropriately translated "a polemic," literally "fighting writing." Why would one write a polemical treatise on the topic of morality? What makes it so controversial? What, precisely, does it attack? What constitutes its attacking? And how does Nietzsche see his hook as playing a role in a larger contest? These interesting questions are raised and explored in greater detail in several of the chapters that follow. For example, Shapiro takes notice that in titling his work thus, Nietzsche might be indicating not only that he is initiating an agon or contest with those "outside" the text but also within it, that the book constitutes a dialogue rather than a diatribe; and Babich explains how this reflects Nietzsche's involvement of his readers, baiting them to follow him and personally bringing them into the genealogical project.
Where do these considerations of genealogy and polemicizing about morality lead? As noted above, the essays in the first section of this book, "On Genealogy," consider what it means to engage in genealogy as a philosophical practice and to reconcile what it means to practice genealogy with Nietzsche's ideas about truth, perspectivism, art, science, and history. Some consider how genealogy might be thought to be an alternative not only to other kinds of scientific approaches but also to other philosophical methodologies, such as dialectic (e.g., Migotti). Some consider how genealogy stands in relation to "gay science" and what light it sheds on thinking about Nietzsche's kind of philosophical thinking, ourselves as readers of Nietzsche, and philosophical practices we might wish to develop and exercise in the future (e.g., Owen).
The second part of this volume, "Reading Nietzsche's Genealogy," provides readers with focused analyses of specific passages in the Genealogy. Mark Migotti in his "Slave Morality, Socrates, and the Bushmen: A Reading of the First Essay of On the Genealogy of Morals" elaborates Nietzsche's discussion of the slave revolt in morality as described in GM I and considers how it could be possible that it could have been successful. Through consideration of Nietzsche's views of Socrates, Migotti deepens our understanding of what Nietzsche considers "masterful" and "slavish," and he offers some fascinating discussion of the plausibility of Nietzsche's view as an empirical hypothesis. In his extensive discussion of GM 1:13, Robert B. Pippin also considers the slave revolt in morality described in the first essay but focuses on a particular feature of this revolt—namely the creation of a subject, lying behind and thus capable of responsibility for its actions, a separation Nietzsche likens to separating lightning from its flash. Pippin elaborates an expressivist concept of subjectivity that facilitates resolving a dilemma that arises when considering Nietzsche's "anti-agent" view in GM I:13 and the conception of agency that forms the basis of his critique of slave morality in the first place.
Discussion of GM II opens with a focus on the neglected first two sections of the text. Christa Davis Acampora reconsiders Nietzsche's reference to "the sovereign individual" in GM 11:2 in her "On Sovereignty and Overhumanity: Why It Matters How We Read Nietzsche's Genealogy 11:2," arguing that contrary to the dominant currents in Nietzsche studies (reflected in several essays in this volume, including Ridly, Strong, and Gemes), Nietzsche's reference to the sovereign individual signals his rejection and the self-overcoming of an ideal he thinks we already hold. In his "Finding the Ubermensch in Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morality," Paul S. Loeb argues for the significance of Nietzsche's Zarathustra in understanding his Genealogy. Loeb's position has significant implications for how we are to take Nietzsche's remark about the "sovereign individual," discussed in the previous essay, how this relates to Nietzsche's overhuman ideal suggested at the end of GM 11, and how this latter ideal reflects some unappreciated views Nietzsche has about memory, history, and time. More specifically, Loeb offers analysis of what "overcoming" involves, providing a unique interpretation of eternal recurrence as the overcoming of "mere animal" forgetting, such that we remember all of our past lives that are buried deep in our subconscious. This yields what Loeb calls a "second forgetting" that is part of the new kind of conscience that further develops the capabilities that came with the invention of "had conscience" described in On the Genealogy of Morals. In this respect, readers might compare Loeb's vision of the future (or further possibilities) with the views presented by Ansell Pearson and Conway.
Babette E. Babich in "The Genealogy of Morals and Right Reading" introduces us to the third essay of the Genealogy in her focus on what she describes as both the readerly and writerly aspects of the aphorism. Obviously, reading an aphorism requires a certain kind of practice. As Babich notices, the aphorism is both uniquely accessible and difficult. Its brevity and memorable relation of ideas makes it easy for most to get something (if only half) from it. But because the aphorism is a distillation of a complex set of relations that the author is arranging and transforming, appreciating the aphorism in its fullness, particularly when authored by a master, is rather difficult. And, as Babich illustrates, it is potentially quite painful, for the aphorism is barbed like a hook. It is intended to bait and then catch its audience. To illustrate this feature, Babich applies an art of interpretation to an analysis of the first essay of the Genealogy, which reveals its deeply anti-anti-Semitic intentions. Such a reading compares interestingly with Yirmiyahu Yovel's chapter included in the volume, since Yovel highlights this facet of Nietzsche's writings but has a rather different interpretation of the nature of his remarks about the ancient (pre-Second Temple) period.
Two further points from Babich's essay are worth noting here, since they are relevant to reading not only Nietzsche's book but also this one. Throughout her essay, Babich increasingly provides a greater sense of what is meant by the writerly aspect of philosophical reading in which writer and reader are not so distinct. Reading is not simply a matter of receiving the message or communicative intent of the author, who is the creator or cause of such a message. Instead, readers are involved in the work of the aphorism insofar as reading involves a kind of writing, too. That is to say that all reading involves both a rewriting of the text in the process of recreating for oneself the organization of ideas presented and an artful appropriation of such ideas. This, Babich claims, is what it means for an aphorism to he learnt by heart, harkening back to Nietzsche's preface to On the Genealogy of Morals, and it is related to what it means to write in blood, harkening back to the section of Thus Spoke Zarathustra from which the epigraph to GM III is drawn.
Babich applies her reading of the aphorism to the dispute in the secondary literature about whether it is the epigraph or the first section of the third essay for which the remainder of the essay is to serve as an exegesis as Nietzsche directs his readers in GM P:8. She reaches the same conclusions as John Wilcox and Maudemarie Clark (simultaneously advanced on different grounds by Christopher Janaway). These parties agree on an important fact that Wilcox and Clark establish on empirical grounds and Babich and Janaway establish largely on interpretative or hermeneutic grounds. Does it make any difference how they got there, given that both reached the same truth? Babich offers a tremendous example of how it does, and the comparison with Janaway puts this in even greater relief than her modest endnote on the matter. Certainly, historical knowledge (which might be taken to he of an empirical sort—that is a knowledge of the existence of such persons as Hippocrates and their development of such rhetorical mnemonic and therapeutic devices such as the aphorism) plays a role in Babich's ability to recognize the aphorism and to not mistake an epigram for an aphorism. But her essay is more than an application of this prior historical knowledge or a building upon the historical facts—her view is further developed through an application of an art of interpretation that allows her to illuminate the complex facets of the aphorism (to not simply get the easy half) and to see how these are reflected not only in the third essay of Nietzsche's GM but in the book as a whole, including the interesting account of the work of the first essay as it ensnares the anti-Semite. The discovery of materials in an archive does not accom plish or even properly prepare one for this philosophical work. A similar critique might be charged against Janaway's essay—while Janaway does a good job of showing how the interpretative error of past commentators led them to some torturous efforts to explain how the third essay could possibly be an exegesis of the epigraph from Zarathustra, he concludes that Nietzsche's original claim about this matter from the preface ultimately is fairly straightforward or that it is not "as radical" as Nietzsche's readers have taken it to be. Having properly identified the aphorism through reasonable practices of interpretation, Janaway has understood at most only half. Finally, in Babich's emphasis on the work of the aphorism and its readerly and writerly characteristics, her interpretative exposition allows her own readers to see for themselves (she does not do all of the work for them) both that GM III is clearly an exegesis of what is numerically designated as the first section and why the epigraph is apt.'
Thus, Ken Gemes is somewhat distinctive among interpreters of GM III in that he begins his "'Strangers to Ourselves': The Key Message of Nietzsche's Genealogy" not with the epigraph or even the first section of the essay but rather with Nietzsche's ' important preface and the opening of the book as a whole. Gemes's guiding concern is to elaborate how our being "strangers to ourselves" is revealed in the third essay where Nietzsche shows how the contemporary embrace of the scientific viewpoint, which we consider to supersede if not reject the religious perspective Nietzsche criticizes, is actually the ultimate embodiment of the ascetic ideal. And it is a highly influential elaborate account of the ascetic ideal and its relation to nihilism that concludes the second part of this volume: Wolfgang Muller-Lauter's, "Nihilism as Will to Nothingness," which is reprinted here in its entirety. Muner-Lauter focuses on the conceptions of will and power that shape Nietzsche's discussion of asceticism and ascetic ideals in GM III. More specifically, Muller-Lauter describes Nietzsche's conception of the rough distinction between weak and strong wills (granted that characterizing things in this way is "crude" and that Nietzsche's view is more subtle), and the "disgregation" that is characteristic of the weak's decadent nihilism. Muller-Lauter's discussion has been highly influential in interpretations of Nietzsche's idea of will to power and bad conscience (see, for example, Tracy B. Strong, in this volume), and he provides a particularly helpful account of what it would mean to "will nothingness."'?
The third and fourth parts of this volume treat prominent criticisms and applications of genealogy, including the relevant aesthetic, political, and ethical dimensions of Nietzsche's work. In the third part titled "Critiquing Genealogy," Jurgen Habermas argues in an excerpt from "The Entwinement of Myth and Enlightenment" that genealogy aims to be critical in a complete or total way. It is thus that the Genealogy provides the model for Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer's later The Dialectic of Enlightenment. But such a radical critique undermines even the norms of rational discourse and thereby leaves genealogy's adherents resorting to mythology rather than reason. Gary Shapiro distinguishes genealogy from the practice of tracing a family tree, but sees it as related to recognition of what Wittgenstein would later describe as "family resemblances" insofar as the project of uncovering the various historical layers involves identifying and listening to the multiple voices one finds in a text. Shapiro challenges Habermas's reading of Nietzsche and illustrates how Foucault and Derrida appropriate genealogy in their own works. Through an ingenious analysis of Derrida's writing on Claude Levi-Strauss, Shapiro illuminates the ways in which Derrida engages in "repeating the genealogy of morals" (Of Grammatology) through a self-critique of science that is similar to that found in Nietzsche's Genealogy (particularly GM III). Alan Schrift continues the discussion of those influenced by Nietzschean critique in his "Nietzsche, Deleuze, and the Genealogical Critique of Psychoanalysis." Schrift argues that the analytic critique of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari's Anti-Oedipus follows that of Nietzsche's GM insofar as Deleuze's psychoanalyst is the most recent version of Nietzsche's priest, and the methods of analysis share a logic of productive desire that organizes the diagnosis of disorder and its therapies. Readers might compare Schrift's account of the Oedipal drama at the center of psychoanalysis's effort to produce a need for the solution it offers with Ansell Pearson's account of Nietzsche's Dionysian drama of the soul.
The fourth and final part, "Of Politics and Community," commences with Salim Kemal's "Nietzsche's Genealogy: Of Beauty and Community." Kemal focuses on the particular kind of creativity that constitutes genealogy, and he reveals how genealogical interpretation—rather than being solipsistic or particularlistic—actually supplies the basis for the creation of a communal sense of identity and the exercise of communal judgment. He thus explains how a community of creators might be possible, something that critics of Nietzsche's apparent individualism deny. His discussion of resentment and rules is particularly illuminating in this regard. Insofar as creative activity is inherently not conservative, Kemal thinks Nietzsche's sense of beauty is necessarily progressive. This stands in sharp contrast with Yirmiyahu Yovel, who argues in his "Nietzsche and the Jews: The Structure of an Ambivalence" that Nietzsche's "pro-Jewish attitude" comes "from the right" since it is "antiliberal." Yovel explains how Nietzsche's deeply ambivalent views about Jews do not simply reflect conflicting or contradictory positions but rather stem from a coherent conception of history in which Nietzsche distinguishes the ancient Jews (whom he admires), the Jewish priests associated with the period of "the Second Temple" (whom he condemns), and the modern Jews of the Diaspora (whom Nietzsche admires, in part because they did not follow the path charted by the second group, which ultimately became Christian). Yovel argues that Nietzsche is critical of the revolution" ignited by Christianity and that he advocates a return to the aristocrat-ism and virtues of the ancient Jews, traces of which are found in (seeming progressive) resistance from Jews in the modern diaspora.
Nietzsche's interest in and relevance for a theory of virtue is the topic of Christine Swanton's "Nietzschean Virtue Ethics." In an argument that might be compared with Muller-Lauter's (and Strong's) discussion of "weak" and "strong" wills, Swanton distinguishes "undistorted" from "distorted" will to power. Such distortions, malformations, or the lack thereof characterize the "healthy" and the "sick," respectively (and this way of thinking about sickness and health might also be compared and contrasted with Blondel's symptomological approach). From this, Swanton considers the possibilities for Nietzschean virtue ethics as she argues against the idea that Nietzsche is an immoralist," claiming that his work supplies material for an ethics of self-improvement, and she helpfully situates this discussion in the context of recent work on perfectionism in ethics.
Finally, Daniel Conway, in his "How We Became What We Are: Tracking the `Beasts of Prey,'" provides a novel account of both origins and future direction. Conway reconstructs a fascinating account of Nietzsche's philosophical anthropological developmental that lies behind the genealogies he offers in GM I and GM II, including Nietzsche's account of human domestication. Of special interest is his discussion of the origins of the social and political orders Nietzsche describes. This sheds important new light on Nietzsche's infamous "beast of prey" and his conceptions of "predation" and "cultivation." Drawing on this significant background, Conway is able provide a new account of "artistry" in Nietzsche's text, particularly as it contrasts with the asceticism of the priests in GM III. Conway concludes his chapter and the volume with a masterful illumination of Nietzsche's conception of the possible metamorphosis of the human animal. While artistic, this process is also thoroughly natural.The bibliography at the end of the book is arranged according to the general organizing themes of this volume, providing suggestions for further reading on the topic of the nature of genealogy, analyses of particular passages, critical applications of Nietzsche's genealogy, and issues of politics and community that Nietzsche's Genealogy raises. I have annotated that portion of the bibliography to indicate the relevance of the entry to the area of inquiry. Bibliographies for more general works on moral philosophy and psychology and Nietzsche's Genealogy follow. The bibliographic references provide direction for navigating the vast sea of monographic literature that is not included in this volume. Works appearing in journals and in collections of essays that are more difficult to access were given priority in my selection process. Some of the discussions here are classics that have defined the terms on which Nietzsche is still read today (e.g., Nehamas, Blondel, Muller-Lauter, and Haberman). Others treat some of the most prominent and thorniest issues in Nietzsche interpretation (e.g., Ansell Pearson, Owen, Migotti, Pippin, Acampora, Loeb, and Genres). Some elaborate how Nietzsche's views are relevant to contemporary discussions in ethical and political theory (e.g., Ridley, Strong, Yovel, Swanton, and Conway). And still others address broad concerns about how Nietzsche's views have been applied and how such applications might influence how we read Nietzsche in the future (e.g., Babich, Shapiro, Schrift, Yovel, and Kemal). There are many other interesting works that might have been included here, but for reasons of space and production cost could not be accommodated between these covers. My hope is that as direction for reading Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals this book marks a genuine starting point—not just for beginners but also for those who, endeavoring to "practice reading as an art" (GM P:8), begin again and again (GM III:l).