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Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morality

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Nietzsche's influential ideas about what it means to be moral.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Nietzsche's On The Genealogy of Morality - A Polemic, which he published in 1887 towards the end of his working life and in which he considered the price humans have paid, and were still paying, to become civilised. In three essays, he argued that having a guilty conscience was the price of living in society with other humans. He suggested that Christian morality, with its consideration for others, grew as an act of revenge by the weak against their masters, 'the blond beasts of prey', as he calls them, and the price for that slaves' revolt was endless self-loathing. These and other ideas were picked up by later thinkers, perhaps most significantly by Sigmund Freud who further explored the tensions between civilisation and the individual.


Stephen Mulhall
Professor of Philosophy and a Fellow and Tutor at New College, University of Oxford

Fiona Hughes
Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Essex


Keith Ansell-Pearson
Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Available now

48 minutes

Last on

Thu 12 Jan 2017 21:30


Fiona Hughes at the University of Essex

Keith Ansell-Pearson at the University of Warwick

Stephen Mulhall at the University of Oxford



David B. Allison (ed.), The New Nietzsche: Contemporary Styles of Interpretation (The MIT Press, 1985)

Daniel Conway, Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals (Continuum, 2008)

Ronald Hayman, Nietzsche, A Critical Life (Oxford University Press, 1980)

Christopher Janaway, Beyond Selflessness: Reading Nietzsche’s Genealogy (Oxford University Press, 2007)

Walter Kaufmann, Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Anti-Christ (Princeton University Press, 2013)

Brian Leiter and Neil Sinhababu (eds.), Nietzsche on Morality (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Simon May (ed.), Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morality: A Critical Guide (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

F. Nietzsche (ed. Keith Ansell-Pearson and trans. Carol Diethe), On the Genealogy of Morality (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

David Owen, Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morality (Acumen Publishing, 2007)

Weaver Santaniello, Nietzsche, God, and the Jews: His Critique of Judeo-Christianity in relation to the Nazi Myth (SUNY Press, 1994)

Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen M. Higgins (eds.), Reading Nietzsche (Oxford University Press, 1988)

Robert Solomon (ed.), Nietzsche: A Collection of Critical Essays (Anchor Books, 1973)

Tracy B. Strong, Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of Transfiguration (University of California Press, 1988)


Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Stephen Mulhall
Interviewed Guest Fiona Hughes
Interviewed Guest Keith Ansell-Pearson
Producer Simon Tillotson


  • Thu 12 Jan 2017 09:00
  • Thu 12 Jan 2017 21:30

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