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Nietzsche: On the Genealogy of Morality

3. The Second Essay

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About this Lecture


In this essay, Ben discusses the second essay in Nietzsche's 'On the Genealogy of Morality'. This essay attempts to trace a similar pattern to that of the first, providing a pre-Christian account of a phenomenon (in this case, 'bad conscience') and showing how it has been seized upon and transformed in order to serve the interests of a particular group, and to the detriment of the great men whose flourishing is Nietzsche's sole concern.


Published in 1887, the Genealogy of Morality is the locus classicus of Nietzsche's criticism of contemporary morality and religion. The book is divided into three essays: the first deals with the origins of Christian and contemporary secular morality; the second is an essay on the moral psychology of guilt; and the third is an examination of what Nietzsche calls the ascetic ideal. After an introductory module, which gives an overview of Nietzsche's life and broader philosophical ideas, there is one module for each of the three essays.


Ben Martin is a second-year BPhil student at Brasenose College, Oxford. He studied PPE as an undergraduate and is now writing his thesis on the philosophy of self-deception. His academic interests span epistemology, ethics, and the history of philosophy, particularly Nietzsche and Wittgenstein.

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APA style

Martin, B. (2018, August 15). Nietzsche: On the Genealogy of Morality - The Second Essay [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Martin, B. "Nietzsche: On the Genealogy of Morality – The Second Essay." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,