Against Nietzsche

Is it sensible to say that the terms of right and wrong are meaningless? Those things which have no meaning then cannot be selected by name – for we have already associated the names with meanings. Enough of theoretical logic, however. I start this way because it was of Nietzsche's opinion that right and wrong did not exist beyond mere words. The concepts are pointless. His nihilism is my first disagreement: we must be acting in a way that suggests an influence from some external source. Okay, this does not contradict Nietzsche insomuch; he would have added that, yes, we have been influenced for our actions, but that using the will, we are able to do whatever we please. Nietzsche was very Libertarian in his approach to morality, in that he did not believe in any of our actions being determined – with the exception that we are not to blame for the negative consequences of our actions, due to the fact that we would not be acting for the purpose of good and evil (since, those things do not exist).

Then why do we act if not for the ‘doing good and avoiding evil’[1]?

Nietzsche asserted that life is about making our own decisions for the benefit of the self, and that morality thus is unnecessary, as is the conscience. He said that to work for benevolence is pointless and weakening for the self. Thus, if morality existed, acting in a moral mind - no matter the motive – would be detrimental to one’s own growth of the free spirit. He also appeared quite negative when on the topic of emotion, as if he had a shred of Kantian[2] feeling within him: to ignore emotions as part of the decision-making.

Nietzsche, how could you say such a thing? Why do you uphold the pleasure of independence, when pleasure in itself is often a wrong? Yet, ‘wrong’ does not exist in his torturing children for pleasure would not be an evil act...?

I cannot say if Nietzsche distinguishes between ‘wrong’ and ‘evil’. Indeed, he believed that actions out of love (note that he does not specify what sort of love this might be, be it self-love, hedone, or a love of evil) were actions exempt from good and evil. One could still argue that a person might do everything out of love, but that these things are not necessarily good. When I first considered the statement, I was casa, thinking in less of a Platonic term, more towards the amour coris[3] ; now, I am having second thoughts as to what Nietzsche might have been suggesting by his statement.

Here, the free spirit loves itself and moves through life acting towards its self-interest. Nietzsche once again justifies this by saying that there is much potential for growth through this control and autonomy: the power of the will.

Even if Nietzsche’s hope that Philosophers of the future might use experimental methods is a well-grounded idea alone – of course, Psychology is a frequent of the experimental and theoretical – one could argue that he takes too direct a route to morality through constant trial and error without stopping for purpose and situation. Then again, what is error for the nihilist!

We must haul into court and mercifully interrogate our feelings of devotion...the whole morality of self-renunciation...” Well, I disagree!

[1] See Aquinas’ Synderesis Rule

[2] See Immanuel Kant’s ethical theory

[3] Latin: ‘love of the heart’, ie. Romantic love. This relates to the casa of ‘fallen’.

The End

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