Can Nietzsche's Noble be Moral?

Abstract

Nietzsche implicitly endorses a positive value system grounded in his concept of the will to power, a “noble” alternative to the “slavish” and life-denying values that he believes characterize modern European morality. His own power-affirming value system is usually presented amorally: as an alternative to morality, rather than as a competing morality. Most commentators believe this is necessarily so: because Nietzsche founds his values in the affirmation of power, they are incompatible with the concern for the well-being of others that is characteristic of any authentic morality. This paper argues, on the contrary, that Nietzsche’s noble, power-affirming values are fully compatible with morality. It defends this view by rejecting two common misconceptions about Nietzsche’s philosophy: 1) the view that Nietzsche’s concept of the will to power is inseparable from domination, and 2) the view that noble values require and actively promote social hierarchy.

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Donovan Miyasaki
Wright State University

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