Ethics after Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morality I



This course aims to unpack the developments of ethical thought in continental European philosophy (particularly in France) after and in response to Nietzsche’s critique of morality which appears in his Genealogy of Morality and Beyond Good and Evil. The main conceptual distinction that I’m going to elaborate is between morality and ethics. And the main problematic is that how can we have a good life in a world in which there is no transcendent moral principle. Nietzsche’s critique of morality clears the space for French philosophers to think about a possibility of an immanent ethics.

The course is divided into three sections:

  • Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morality: Against Formalism;
  • Michel Foucault’s Idea of Parrhesia as the Element of Ethics;
  • Gilles Deleuze’s Reading of Stoic ethics in Logic of Sense.

Students who register for this course get:

  • 8 video-taped lectures, with a total running time of 225 minutes;
  • Lecture notes with key points from the course;
  • An indicative reading list;
  • A set of optional tasks to check your learning;
  • Course diploma (beta version).
  • Familiarity with history of philosophy, particularly modern and contemporary philosophy with a focus on continental tradition.
  • Students of philosophy, social sciences, humanities, and art;
  • Graduate students with solid knowledge of Continental Philosophy.

Curriculum

The first section on Nietzsche contains a brief account of Nietzsche’s critique of Kant’s moral theory in particular and any normative moral theory in general. Its main focus is the link between normative morality and moral formalism which is the target of Nietzsche’s critique. As an ethical alternative, Nietzsche proposes the notion of life as the element of ethics.

Lecture 1: Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morality: Against Formalism (46 mins)

The second section, including three lectures, I discuss Michel Foucault’s idea of Parrhesia which appears in the second year of his College de France lectures, The Courage of Truth. Here, I demonstrate how Foucault locates the notion of truthfulness at the center of philosophy and in this way gives an ethical nature to philosophy in its entirety.

Lecture 2: Michel Foucault’s Idea of Parrhesia as the Element of Ethics; Part I (32 mins)

Lecture 3: Michel Foucault’s Idea of Parrhesia as the Element of Ethics, Part II (23 mins)

Lecture 4: Michel Foucault’s Idea of Parrhesia as the Element of Ethics; Part III (29 mins)

The third section, again including three lectures, deals with Gilles Deleuze’s reading of the Stoic ethics. Here, I discuss the central role of the notion of event in Deleuze’s ethical thought and how this role entails a powerful link between ethics and ontology.

Lecture 5: Gilles Deleuze’s Reading of Stoic Ethics in Logic of Sense; Part I (22 mins)

Lecture 6: Gilles Deleuze’s Reading of Stoic Ethics in Logic of Sense; Part II (28 mins)

Lecture 7: Gilles Deleuze’s Reading of Stoic Ethics in Logic of Sense; Part III (33 mins)

Lecture 8: Concluding remarks (19 min)

Additional materials

Download the lecture notes.

Download the reading list.

Download the assignment sheet.

Instructor: Mehdi Parsa

Dr. Mehdi Parsa was Professor at Allameh Tabataba’i University in Tehran, where he taught contemporary European philosophy. His PhD is from the University of Bonn. He specializes on contemporary European philosophy.

Title: Ethics after Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morality I

Series: Ereignis Institute Course Module online series, no. 2

Instructor: Dr. Mehdi Parsa

First published: 1 March, 2021

Current version: 1.1, released 9 July, 2022

Publisher: Tankebanen forlag on behalf of Ereignis Center for Philosophy and the Arts / Ereignis Institute.

Copyright notice: © Tankebanen forlag and the instructor, 2021-2022.

All rights reserved. This material is for private use. It may not in whole or in parts be distributed or reproduced without written consent from the instructor and publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or journal. By accessing our materials you agree to our terms.

ISBN: 978-82-93659-32-7