Interpretation of the Passage by Nietzsche

PHIL339.001 Nineteenth Century Philosophy Exegetical Paper 3


Students are asked to give a critical explanation and interpretation of a given passage, aimed at a fellow undergraduate who is not in the course. This involves at least 1) providing some biographical (intellectual and personal) information about the author; 2) situating the given passage within that author’s corpus (both in the particular text, and in general); 3) defining key terms and concepts, in the sense used by the author; 4) summarizing the author’s argument in the given passage and its immediate context; and 5) evaluating said argument.


  • Correct grammar and spelling, of course
  • Minimum length: 1200 words, excluding bibliography, footnotes, and header.
  • Minimum references: 5 cited quotations from at least 2 sources. I expect you to favor sources provided on Blackboard, and Wikipedia or a dictionary do not count as sources for this minimum. Hint: If you feel compelled to consult Wikipedia, go to the References and External Links sections at the end of the article to find primary or secondary sources. Required citation style is CMS Notes & Bibliography:…
  • Submission: Upload your draft to Blackboard (a single document in .docx format, titled [YOURLASTNAME]_ExegeticalPaper1) by 11:59 PM ET on Monday, 04/23.

Please explain/interpret ONE of the following two passages:

Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals, Essay 1, Section 10:

The revolt of the slaves in morals begins in the very principle of resentment becoming creative and giving birth to values—a resentment experienced by creatures who, deprived as they are of the proper outlet of action, are forced to find their compensation in an imaginary revenge. While every aristocratic morality springs from a triumphant affirmation of its own demands, the slave morality says “no” from the very outset to what is “outside itself,” “different from itself,” and “not itself: and this “no” is its creative deed. This volte-face of the valuing standpoint—this inevitable gravitation to the objective instead of back to the subjective—is typical of resentment”: the slave-morality requires as the condition of its existence an external and objective world, to employ physiological terminology, it requires objective stimuli to be capable of action at all—its action is fundamentally a reaction. The contrary is the case when we come to the aristocrat’s system of values: it acts and grows spontaneously, it merely seeks its antithesis in order to pronounce a more grateful and exultant “yes” to its own self;—its negative conception, “low,” “vulgar,” “bad,” is merely a pale late-born foil in comparison with its positive and fundamental conception (saturated as it is with life and passion), of “we aristocrats, we good ones, we beautiful ones, we happy ones.”

Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, “On the Use and Abuse of History for Life,” Section 5:

An excess of history seems to be an enemy to the life of a time, and dangerous in five ways. Firstly, the contrast of inner and outer is emphasised and personality weakened. Secondly, the time comes to imagine that it possesses the rarest of virtues, justice, to a higher degree than any other time. Thirdly, the instincts of a nation are thwarted, the maturity of the individual arrested no less than that of the whole. Fourthly, we get the belief in the old age of mankind, the belief, at all times harmful, that we are late survivals, mere Epigoni. Lastly, an age reaches a dangerous condition of irony with regard to itself, and the still more dangerous state of cynicism, when a cunning egoistic theory of action is matured that maims and at last destroys the vital strength.

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The author of this passage “On the Use and Abuse of History for Life”, is Friedrich Nietzsche. He was a son of Lutheran minister and was born on 15th of October, 1844, in Rocken, close to Leipzig.  Friedrich, Nietzsche was a philosopher from Germany and also a cultural critic. In addition, he was a composer…

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