Tuesday, February 10, 2004

They plowed our sidewalks and parking lot yesterday afternoon, finally removing the foot of snow. Unfortunately, the parking spaces are still snowed in so it's still an annoyance.

I skipped Craft of Fiction this afternoon. Partially because I'm feeling a bit under the weather and partially because I didn't have any substantial piece of writing to share with the class today.

Nietzsche was interesting today. We're discussing On the Genelogy of Morals and Nietzche's explanation of the development of value systems. Ideas of Good and Bad in ancient Greece had no value judgments; you were good if you were brave, attractive, influential, and bad if you were ugly, weak, influential. Then following the Peloponnesian War, Socrates--who was ugly and of the poorer, uninfluential class--created a value system equating what was previously held as good as evil and what was previously bad as good. Plato created metaphysics to back up his teacher's value system: the body and physical realities are evil; knowledge and the Forms are good. These different models could also equate to master and slave, repectively.

The problem with these value systems is that they ascribe a value to life. But if we measure things in relation to their usefulness to our lives, it makes no sense to place value on the standard of measurement. We can make truth-falsity claims about the temperature--"It is 15 degrees F" is either true or false--but we can't say that Fahrenheit is true or false.

Nietzsche also had some fun things to say about Judaism and Christianity, which I won't go into right now.

Then again, maybe it's only interesting for us philosophers.