Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master%E2%80%93slave_morality

Nietzsche argued that there were two fundamental types of morality: 'Master morality' and 'slave morality'. Slave morality values things like kindness, humility and sympathy, while master morality values pride, strength, and nobility. Master morality weighs actions on a scale of good or bad consequences unlike slave morality which weighs actions on a scale of good or evil intentions.

In my opinion the effort of Nietzche of splitting the world in a dichotomy is really interesting for science and applied psychology. Since, if the master morality, doesn't have to deal with empathy it should follow that it's more based on competition.

So it should be really useful for describing the beliefs of nations like Japan, USA or China (competitive, less assistentialistic) while the slave morality should fit more countries with a strong influence of church.

Did someone continue the studies of Nietzche from a Psychological point of view?

  • $\begingroup$ I've edited the question. Hope now it's better. However a short comment on what is bad of this question would help me to revise it! $\endgroup$
    – Revious
    Mar 18, 2014 at 21:05
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    $\begingroup$ Does not seem to address psychology - what psychological point of view would one be looking for? $\endgroup$
    – theMayer
    Mar 18, 2014 at 21:15
  • $\begingroup$ @rmayer06: I don't have an academic background, so I can be wrong, but in my opinion the psychological impact of this two kind of morality seems to me to be very big. You can also have a look to this question to better understand what I mean: cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/5984/… any further advice will be appreciated. $\endgroup$
    – Revious
    Mar 18, 2014 at 21:49
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    $\begingroup$ @NickStauner: I've tried to split the question into subquestions since I don't know the psychological words used for referring to Nietzche's thought. cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/6028/… $\endgroup$
    – Revious
    Mar 19, 2014 at 10:11
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    $\begingroup$ @rumtscho: I'm not sure where you saw "unhealthy" or what you're paraphrasing with this word, but FWIW, there are other ways to discuss health in a moral context. As I've said elsewhere, narcissism isn't only a disorder; it can also refer to a trait that all people have in some amount, much like pride. As such, there may not be clear, discrete boundaries between health and illness. There are many unhealthy things I would hesitate to call pathological. One way to demonstrate this is by correlating a variable with psychological well-being. A negative correlation could indicate it is unhealthy. $\endgroup$ Mar 19, 2014 at 19:37

1 Answer 1


According to this answer: https://cogsci.stackexchange.com/a/6030/4425 I would say that Nietzche's moralities can be classified according to the research on universal values made by Schwartz (1992) on universal values

The slave morality deals with: Benevolence, universalism, and to some extent tradition

The master morality deals with: power and achievement

The researches seems to suggest what Nietzche was suggesting: the two morality are diverging.

benevolence mostly relates to agreeableness
universalism to openness
and traditionalism to agreeableness and a few facets of other traits.

power relates negatively to agreeableness and openness
Achievement relates to certain facets of extraversion, conscientiousness, and (negatively:) agreeableness.

Feel free to improve my answer

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    $\begingroup$ I would be very weary of connecting concepts from different theories to each other just because they seem to have a similar meaning when you squint at their definitions the right way. When you test such a theory empirically, it frequently fails. I have read books which see this kind of reasoning as a bias, search for "representativeness heuristic" and "representativeness bias". $\endgroup$
    – rumtscho
    Mar 19, 2014 at 13:31
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    $\begingroup$ @rumtscho: I lack of theoretical background, but I think that it could be really difficult to trace down a correlation between different classification, however I see an academical utility in this kind of effort. For sure it's easy to make mistakes, but it can be a thought to start further thinking. $\endgroup$
    – Revious
    Mar 19, 2014 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ FWIW, I agree for the most part (and I'm an existential psychologist by specialty who wrote the linked answer on values). While @rumtscho's precautions are wise, Revious' point is fair IMO, and the answer is probably close to the mark. Nietzsche's theories of motivation make prominent reference to the will to power as an overarching theory, so a failure to correlate advocacy of his moral system to power valuation would be rather baffling. Since he opposed the slave morality and religious values, benevolence and traditionalism probably fit well. $\endgroup$ Mar 19, 2014 at 19:48
  • $\begingroup$ @NickStauner: if you have time I would also be curious of your ideas on these two questions: cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/5997/… and cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/5984/… $\endgroup$
    – Revious
    Mar 19, 2014 at 19:59

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