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Conventional Morality - Essay Example

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Summary
How might conventional morality be regarded as oppressive when used to censor or outlaw minority tastes and lifestyles, and what problems about competing social values might this raise Discuss this question with reference to the ideas of Nietzsche.
It has been the case throughout history that minority tastes and lifestyles which appear to both challenge and perhaps even belittle conventional morality have been challenged and even destroyed by those, often self-appointed, guardians of public norms…
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Conventional Morality Essay
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Conventional Morality

Download file to see previous pages... In Beyond Good and Evil, published in 1886 Nietzche suggested that there are only a few qualities that are held by all genuine philosophers: these are imagination, self-assertion, danger, originality and what he termed "creation of values" (Nietzsche, 2003, p.1). He denies many of the concepts that have concerned philosophers in the past such as "free will", "knowledge" and "truth" in exchange for what he terms the will to power. The will to power suggests that there is no absolute code of morality that human beings either should or can live by.
What Nietzsche calls his "perspective on life" (p.5) reaches beyond "good and evil" and includes challenges to any idea of right/wrong and even criticism of institutions such as slavery which most humanistic philosophers regard as so beyond the pale that they are hardly worth commenting upon. For Nietzsche, any attempt at foisting a "conventional morality" upon the people would be anathema, unless one did it through sheer force of the "will to power" (1968, p.1). However it seems likely that Nietzsche would argue that such a person would be highly unlikely to subscribe to "conventional morality" as the very manner by which he had gained power would have discarded such ideas long ago.
The most basic challenge to the idea that conventional morality should rule over minority tastes is within his concept of the "superman". This superman is an individual who enables a society to live up to its true potential through rejecting the idea of some kind of transcendent God who possesses unchanging values. These values are a way of limiting and subjugating people according to Nietzsche, what a society needs is "a real individual who creates values which are firmly rooted in the everyday changing world . . . this is someone who, but trusting his own intuitive sense of what is good and evil, succeeds better than any other" (msu, 2007). This superman is in fact the diametric opposite of the conventional values - he is not only a minority, he is a minority of one.
According to Nietzsche, the more people believe something, the less likely it is to be a genuine and sincere way of living. For example, take the current controversy surrounding pornography on the Internet. Many people, including the US government, wish to try to censor this pornographic content because it is seen as "bad", "immoral" and clearly not reflecting conventional taste. The fact that a majority of Internet sites visited are in fact pornographic would seem to negate the idea that it is not conventional taste, but for the sake of this argument, let us agree that it is.
Nietzsche would have no interest in what the majority or conventional morality would have to say about this pornography. He would concentrate upon which group - either the pornographers or those against them - managed to put their content on the Internet in a way that attracted people to their sites. In other words, who was the most persuasive and who exhibited the greatest will to power. If the pornographers showed it, then it is correct for them to have their content dominating the Internet; if it is the anti-sex crusaders, then it is right for them to dominate. The actual content would be irrelevant to Nietzsche - what is all important is the battle ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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