The details
Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 15 January 2024
Friday 22 March 2024
13 September 2022


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module will be devoted to a close study of Nietzsche`s 1887 On the Genealogy of Morals, one of Nietzsche`s most influential works and most difficult works.

Our primary task will be interpreting the three essays that make up the Genealogy. This will involve addressing many of the most significant themes in Nietzsche`s late work, including the opposition between master and slave moralities, ressentiment, bad conscience, guilt, and nihilism. We will also consider what kind of work On the Genealogy of Morals is, taking into account Nietzsche`s emphasis on psychology, history, and genealogy, and his presentation of various figures, including the Priest, the Sovereign Individual, the Artist, and the Philosopher.

In preparation for our reading of the Genealogy, we will spend the first three weeks considering methodological issues raised by Nietzsche's emphasis on psychology and history, as well as his deployment of rhetoric. In addition to the Genealogy, we draw on his other works, including Untimely Meditations, The Gay Science, and Beyond Good and Evil.

Module aims

This module aims to give students a better understanding of Nietzsche`s philosophical project in his late works, and the role in that project of his `attack on morality`.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will:

-be prepared to write a critical essay on some aspect of Nietzsche`s On the Genealogy of Morals;

-have acquired a better understanding of Nietzsche`s position in the history of Western philosophy in general and in the history of moral philosophy in particular;

-have developed oral and written skills in philosophic exegesis and argumentation;

-have progressed in their thinking about a number of central philosophic issues, including questions concerning ethical agency, the nature of normativity, the philosophy of Christianity, and the value of modern morality.

Module information

Incoming Study Abroad students must have already taken two philosophy modules.

Learning and teaching methods

1 x two-hour seminar each week. 1x one-hour presentations and discussion


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Steven Gormley, email:
Dr Steven Gormley



External examiner

Dr Josiah Saunders
Durham University
Associate Professor
Available via Moodle
Of 32 hours, 32 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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