Final Study Guide Essay

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Pol. Theory Final

Nietzsche Terms

1) Death of God- The meaning of the phrase is often misunderstood- many have interpreted that Nietzsche believed in a literal death or end of God. Instead, the line points to the western world’s reliance on religion as a moral compass and source of meaning. Nietzsche expresses a fear that the decline of religion and the absence of a higher moral authority to give order to society and meaning to life the world would plunge into chaos. Without religion (God), society will move into an age of nihilism. However, Nietzsche also sees this as an opportunity for mankind to abandon all of the unbiased hopes of the supernatural world, and to embrace the wonders of earth and humanity.

2) Nihilism- Literally, a belief in nothing. Nietzsche characterized his age as nihilistic, because of its unswerving faith in a science that describes the world as meaningless and under the sway of unchanging laws.

3) Bad conscience- In the Bad Conscience theory instead of inflicting cruelty or expressing dominance over others, we do so upon ourselves. Nietzsche calls this process “internalization”. We develop, a soul, reflective conscience, and a sense of indebtedness to our ancestors, which is the origin of religion.

4) Slave revolt in morality- Nietzsche suggests that a confrontation between the priestly caste and the warrior caste encourages this process. The priests, and all those who feel like powerless outcast in a situation of subjugation and slavery, driven by a feeling of ressentiment, or resentment, develop a deep hatred for the powerful. Thus originates what Nietzsche calls the "slave revolt in morality,” eventually leading to rise of Christianity.

5) Good/Bad- In this sense, it was the aristocratic morality who judged their own power, wealth, and success to be “good” and the poverty and wretchedness of those they ruled over to be “bad.” The nobles came to see themselves as good when they came to see the contrast between themselves and those who were below them: the common people, the poor and the weak. Their position of power included the power over words, the power to decide what would be called "good" and what "bad."

6) Good/Evil- In the "good/evil" distinction, which is the product of what Nietzsche calls "slave morality", so-called "evil" equates to what aristocratic morality calls "good". This valuation develops out of the ressentiment of the weak in the face of the powerful, by whom they are oppressed and whom they envy.

7) Punishment- The origin of punishment, for example, is in a procedure that predates punishment. Punishment has not just one purpose, but a whole range of "meanings" was not always intended to make the accused feel guilty but rather simply bring pleasure to the accuser, a celebration of one’s power. Nietzsche says punishment impedes moral guilt since people who commit harm see it as a natural act feeling no “inner pain.”

8) Christianity- Nietzsche asserts that Christianity, not merely as a religion but also as the predominant moral system of the Western world, in fact inverts nature, and is "hostile to life". As "the religion of pity", Christianity elevates the weak over the strong, exalting that which is "ill-constituted and weak" at the expense of that which is full of life and vitality.


1) State- The state can be divided into three subject areas: pre-capitalist states, states in the capitalist era, and the state (or absence of one) in post-capitalist society. In general, the state is controlled by the economically dominant class enabling it to maintain its control over the exploited classes rather than representing a particular group. It is necessary to avoid civil war and sustain order. It presents an idea of the personal interests of the individual vs. societies general interests.

2) One crisis of capitalism- In Marxist terms, the economic crises are crises of overproduction and immiseration of the workers…