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An investigation of the parallels between Sartre's bad faith and Nietzsche's slave morality.

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The following dissertation examines Sartre’s notion of bad faith before identifying parallels found in Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals. Bad faith is often construed as lying to oneself; however, this entails an individual being both the deceiver and deceived which presents a number of paradoxes. By reconceptualising bad faith as self-deception rather than lying to oneself these paradoxes are avoided. Nietzsche’s Genealogy examines the development of modern morality and explains its genesis through identifying a specific psychological tendency, namely, ressentiment. Ressentiment is central to the Genealogy as it results in the idealisation of asceticism and the development of the bad conscience into guilt. These are core elements of what Nietzsche terms slave morality. By exposing ressentiment as a manifestation of bad faith this dissertation highlights the self-deception lying at the foundation of slave morality. Nietzsche believes that it is slave morality which predominantly constitutes modern morality, and manifestations of bad faith in Nietzsche’s account of modern morality therefore give credence to Nietzsche’s call to revalue our values.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2011.


Sartre, Jean-Paul, 1905-1980--Criticism and interpretation., Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, 1844-1900--Criticism and interpretation., Ethics., Truthfulness and falsehood., Values., Theses--Philosophy.