John Ranta

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Andrew Altman - Chair

Second Advisor

Melissa Merritt

Third Advisor

Andrew J. Cohen


This thesis addresses two interpretative questions concerning the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. The first is to ascertain the primary objection that Nietzsche has to a morality that he describes as decadent. The conclusion reached is that Nietzsche’s objection to decadent morality is based on the harm it does to a class of “higher” individuals who have valuable work to perform in achieving a desirable future for humanity. The second question is to determine the manner in which Nietzsche’s own values are to be understood based on the skepticism he expresses concerning the objectivity of value. The conclusion reached is that Nietzsche’s values are objects of the same analysis he applies to human values generally. The values Nietzsche endorses, including the valuing of “higher” individuals, are to be understood as symptoms of a particular physiology and its relationship to living.


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