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In this chapter, I provide a critical examination of Nietzsche’s ethical project in Dawn, focusing on his critique of customary morality and his thinking on pity and compassion. I begin by explaining the reasoning behind Nietzsche’s objections to customary morality in this text, and show why these objections are defensible ones. To do so, I focus on the role of mood and social transmission of feeling within Nietzsche’s discussion of customary morality. I argue that these factors play key roles in his development of a substantive critique of customary morality, and that they also facilitate the possibility of developing a new ethic. Following this, I argue that Nietzsche’s thinking on compassion or pity [Mitleid] forms another key component of his ethical project in Dawn. As I show, Nietzsche’s critique of Mitleid develops from out of the wider moral psychological account that Nietzsche presents in this text, and provides additional support for his critical engagement with customary morality. I conclude with some thoughts on the possibility of a new positive ethics that Nietzsche’s analysis in Dawn opens up.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Nietzschean Mind
EditorsPaul Katsafanas
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781315146317
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2018


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