Gordon Graham

in The Shape of the Past

Published in print February 1997 | ISBN: 9780192892553
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670619 | DOI:

Series: OPUS


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The concept of collapse in history is one of the normative conceptions through which human past gets a shape. There is no necessary incompatibility between progress and decline, because the decline of some things can itself be interpreted as a mark of progress. This chapter provides an overview of philosophers like Alasdair MacIntyre, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Darwin on this issue. This chapter tries to illustrate through an example the differences between Christian morality and Nietzsche's concept of morality. Nietzsche claimed that the cultural dominance of the Christian ascetic ideal in which self-negation is cultivated at the expense of the aristocratic virtue of self-assertion has come to an end.

Keywords: collapse; normative conceptions; Alasdair MacIntyre; Friedrich Nietzsche; Christian ascetic ideal

Chapter.  9853 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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