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Nietzsche: On the Genealogy of Morality

4. The Third Essay

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About this Lecture


In this module, Ben discusses the third essay in Nietzsche's 'On the Genealogy of Morality', in which Nietzsche attempts to uncover what he calls 'the meaning of Ascetic ideals'. After giving an outline of the third essay, Ben asks whether Nietzsche believes in the existence of truth at all, and (if he doesn't) whether he is simply contradicting himself. The module ends with some suggestions for further reading.


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.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

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

MLA style

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