Phil 331 Selected Topics: Nietzsche

Summer Semester 2012

INSTRUCTOR  Dr. J. Johnson, WMC 5605


  • 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; The translation of this book by Walter Kaufmann is also acceptable
  • 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 geneaology 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 also discuss Nietzsche's perspectivism.

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%

Note: Prerequisite: Phil 100 or 151