Nietzsche's discussions of nihilism are meant to bring into view an intriguing pathology of modern culture: that it is unable to sustain ‘higher values’. This paper attempts to make sense of the nature and import of higher values. Higher values are a subset of final values and are distinct from foundational values. Higher values are characterized by six features: demandingness, susceptibility toward creating tragic conflicts, recruitment of a characteristic set of powerful emotions, perceived import, exclusionary nature, and their tendency to instantiate a community. The paper considers Nietzsche's arguments for the claim that we are committed to instituting some set of higher values. The cost of not doing so is vitiating our deepest aim and precluding a central form of happiness.
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