PHIL 331 Selected Topics: Nietzsche

Summer Semester 2011 | DAY


INSTRUCTOR: Dr. J. Johnson


  • Beyond Good and Evil, F. Nietzsche. Ed. Walter Kaufmann, Vintage Books
  • On the Geneaology of Morals, F. Nietzsche. Ed. Walter Kaufmann, Vintage Books
  • The Gay Science, F. Nietzsche, Ed. Bernard Williams, Trans. Josefine Nauckhoff and Adrian Del Caro, Cambridge UP
  • Thus Spoke Zarathustra, F. Nietzsche. Ed. Walter Kaufmann, Penguin
  • Nietzsche and Morality, Eds. Brian Leiter and Neil Sinhababu, Oxford UP
  • Reserve Readings


This course will focus primarily on a close reading of two of Nietzsche's works: Beyond Good and Evil and On the Geneaology of Morals. We will pay close attention to the significance of Nietzsche's attempt to provide a genealogy of morality, his critique of traditional morality, and his views on truth. We will attempt to make explicit the account of human nature that Nietzsche maintains is assumed by traditional morality and Nietzsche's reasons for rejecting this account. In addition, we will discuss what Nietzsche meant by the claim "God is dead" and we will try to understand his notions of slave/master morality, ressentiment, and the "revaluation of values". We will discuss Nietzsche's perspectivism and his rejection of absolute knowledge and objective truth.

In addition to a close reading of the primary texts, we will be reading and critically analysing some of the recent secondary literature on Nietzsche.


  • Attendance, participation, group work- 10%
  • First essay - 1750 words - 20%
  • In-class exam - 30%
  • Second essay - 2250 words - 40%

All papers must be processed through

Note: Prerequisites: PHIL 100 or 151