NIETZSCHE: GENEALOGY, SECOND ESSAY (I)
 In the Second Essay of The Genealogy of Morality, Nietzsche is deconstructing moral agency.
That is, he tries to show the genealogy behind moral agency—what it takes, historically, to
develop a human being who is capable of moral action. Nietzsche’s answer: “We moderns ve
inherited millennia of conscience-vivisection and animal-torture inﬂicted on ourselves” (§24).
Let’s see how this plays out.
 Nietzsche holds that the real achievement in developing moral agency is to breed an animal
with the prerogative to promise (§1). This is an achievement because by nature we (and most an-
imals) are inclined to forgetfulness, which is, he maintains, an integral part of our psychological
health. It is the foundation for moral agency, since it is at the root of responsibility. Unless we
can be calculable, regular, able to foresee and determine our behaviour in advance, we cannot
be moral agents. The upshot is that to become “sovereign individuals” we need to look at the
mechanics of forgetting/remembering, and especially what they have to do with the evolution
of our moral selves—the “long history of the origins of responsibility” (§2).
 Nietzsche, characteristically, thinks that memory works via pain (in “blood, torments, and
sacriﬁces” [§3]): we remember things because it hurts not to remember them. This is evident
in (say) the training of animals, and we are no different in this regard; we can learn through
rewards but we learn much more quickly through pain. This leads Nietzsche on to the main
topic discussed in the Second Essay, namely punishment, since th