Date of Award

Summer 8-7-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jessica Berry

Second Advisor

Sebastian Rand


Prior to the third essay of his Genealogy of Morality, Nietzsche affixes a fragment from Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The purpose of the fragment seems explicit in the Genealogy’s preface where Nietzsche tells us that the essay is a commentary on an aphorism. However, the relationship of the fragment to the third essay is unclear. In response, several commentators have offered a solution: namely, to disregard the fragment from Zarathustra and to read the first section of the third essay as the object of Nietzsche’s commentary. Since this reading, the puzzle concerning Nietzsche’s aphorism has been considered solved. In this thesis, I make a case for (i) why we should revive this debate, (ii) why we should restore the most natural reading of the preface, which makes the fragment from Zarathustra the aphorism Nietzsche refers to there, and (iii) how we can make sense of its connection to the third essay.