Assess Nietzsche's Account of Noble Values

Assess Nietzsche's account of noble values

In this essay it will be argued that Nietzsche's noble values are an assertion of his pragmatism, supported by an ideology which is born out of his perspectivist approach to truth. It will be argued that due to his denial of metaphysics and an intransitive realm altogether, Nietzsche encounters vast numbers of unavoidable contradictions and inconsistencies in his approach to morality, and that these, coupled with the reply put forward by Sayer's qualified ethical naturalism, are enough to conclusively defeat the master/slave morality he proposes. In doing this, Nietzsche is left with no philosophical shield with which to defend his noble values, which can now be exposed as nothing but a self-preservative ideology, and as such can be discounted from any salient philosophical discussions.

Friedrich Nietzsche, in Beyond Good and Evil, placed a lot of focus on master and slave morality, and displayed an underlying obsession with hierarchy in his account of 'noble values'. He argues relentlessly that the nature of the aristocratic society and noble values are of a fundamental importance for the development of humanity as a whole; without the notion of aristocracy, there would be no sense of self-improvement and development – and no culture. It is these very notions of rank, ruler-ship, social order and slavery that allow us to strive towards what he calls “self-overcoming” - that is, by thinking that we are better than others we also learn to look at our own qualities and characteristics with a critical eye, and seek to 'overcome' or better ourselves.

Nietzsche argues that refinement of character leads to what he terms “a pathos of distance” - a keen sense of one's own difference – whether looking down upon one's own 'lower' self, or the aristocrat or noble looking down on the 'lower' classes. He maintains that the first aristocrats were simply a stronger people than those they conquered, in both a physical and a...