Friedrich Nietzsche published "On the Genealogy of Morals" in 1887. This period of Nietzsche's life is considered by many scholars to be his most productive and significant. "On the Genealogy of Morals"" was preceded in 1886 by "Beyond Good and Evil", and both texts are concerned with similar ideas involving the historically constructed nature of morality. Nietzsche challenged most of the main currents of philosophical thought in the 19th century and brazenly attacked many of the basic moral assumptions of his time. "On the Genealogy of Morals" is perhaps the most concise representation of his fully developed philosophy and is still highly influential in the 21st century.
"On the Genealogy of Morals" inaugurates Nietzsche’s genealogical critique (which is about something other than tracing family histories). The philosophical method of genealogy, for Nietzsche, problematizes fundamental assumptions about morality and moral theories through a careful differentiation between origin and purpose. In other words, morality is viewed not as an unassailable, static set of facts or as an ideal realm of transcendental essences. Instead, the meaning and value of morality emerge from a sequence of shifting contexts that reveal and obscure a long, complicated chain of nonlinear historical developments and blurred psychological states. For Nietzsche, the most prominent “facts” about morality are its contingency and its hidden though recognizable development.