Sunday, April 25, 2010

There were two things that we have discussed about Nietzsche so far that have really piqued my interest firstly how he deals with intelligence and secondly how he deals with the actor and action. In the last class, as some people have pointed out, we spent a good chunk of time on intelligence in The Genealogy of Morals; on rather Nietzsche thought it was good or bad. It seems to me that to Nietzsche Intelligence is a sort of Non-factor when it comes to determining good or bad. He would argue that the way in which a person uses their intelligence could be used determining if they were slave or noble because a slave would be dependent on intelligence, in the form of cunning and deceit, to survive and get ahead in life. At the same time a noble could be strong and beautiful but also intelligent and use their intelligence as an additional tool to achieve their own self-interested goals. In addition we spent a lot of time on the way slaves came to see a separation between action and actor (the example of the lightning being separate from the flash was our primary example). In Nietzsche’s argument there is no separation the lightning is the flash it doesn’t cause it. Therefore if we develop this Nietzsche believes that a person is their actions and due to this morality is a false construct because there is no right or wrong course of action there is just whatever action happened. The actor cannot be held responsible for his actions because they are him; he did not choose to do them he just did them. What bothered me about this was if this is so how did the slavish people come to believe that there was a separation between actor and action. It seems like we are able to perceive making decisions about what action we take; it’s not like we are operating on autopilot and things just happen. I suppose that the way we perceive our choices is merely an illusion that we force on ourselves so as to feel better about our weak states but that seems like a stretch, no?

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