The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
12 April 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA VV15 Philosophy and History,
BA VV16 Philosophy and History (Including Placement Year),
BA VV51 Philosophy and History (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV5C Philosophy and History (Including Year Abroad),
BA VV5X Philosophy and History (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad)

Module description

This module will be devoted to a close study of Nietzsche`s 1887 On the Genealogy of Morality, 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 Morality 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 On the Genealogy of Morality, we will spend the first three weeks considering methodological issues raised by Nietzsche's emphasis on psychology and history, as well as this deployment of rhetoric. In addition to the Genealogy, we draw on his other works, including the 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 Morality;
* 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. Week 8 is a Reading Week. 1x one-hour presentations and discussion


  • Breazeale, Daniel. (1997) 'On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life', in Untimely meditations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. vol. Cambridge texts in the history of philosophy
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm; Kaufmann, Walter Arnold; Hollingdale, R. J. (1967) The will to power, New York: Vintage Books.
  • Hatab, Lawrence J. (2008) Nietzsche's On the genealogy of morality: an introduction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche; R. J. Hollingdale. (1968, reprinted 1985) Twilight of the idols: and, The Anti-Christ, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. vol. Penguin classics
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm. (c1990) Beyond good and evil: prelude to a philosophy of the future, London: Penguin Books. vol. Penguin classics
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm; Kaufmann, Walter Arnold. (1974) The gay science: with a prelude in rhymes and an appendix of songs, New York: Vintage Books.

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 Weighting
Coursework Essay 1 (3000 Words) 01/11/2019 50%
Coursework Essay 2 (3000 Words) 13/12/2019 50%

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Steve Gormley



External examiner

Dr Thomas Joseph Stern
University College London
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 36 hours, 35 (97.2%) hours available to students:
1 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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