In this paper, I suggest reading the Second Essay of Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals as a perfectionist critique of Roman law. Roman Law, I argue, relies on the fabrication of a specific subjectivity that structurally undermines the conditions of a good life and thus prevents us from fully exhausting our ethical-aesthetical potential. Citing an important source for Nietzsche's legal thought, legal scholar Albrecht Hermann Post, I reconstruct how Nietzsche conceptualizes the disentanglement of the individual from the 'natural' community, namely as the fabrication of a subjugated-subjugating legal personality in particular through the Roman civil law. This process fundamentally affects the human psycho-somatic structure in a paradoxical way, both as bad conscience and as sovereign triumphalism. However, while Nietzsche formulates an important critique of one of our dominant forms of social integration, his proposed way of overcoming it remains unconvincing, because it is just as hostile to life as is the law.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2014
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