Journal of Critical Realism 10 (2):219-242 (2011)
|Abstract||These essays defend Christian, socialist and realist positions against Nietzsche’s critiques. Each essay addresses a problem in Nietzsche’s work. The first deals with perspectivism. On his view, the idea of objectivity disappears, becoming no more than simply a multiplicity of perspectives. The essay shows how Nietzsche’s approach to knowledge commits the epistemic fallacy, i.e. evades questions about truth by collapsing them into questions about knowing. The second essay addresses Nietzsche’s moral psychology in which there is no being behind doing, no agent distinct from her actions. The essay demonstrates how this actualist account of persons is false by showing that the distinction between agent and action is needed for any understanding of moral action. The final essay concerns the history of ideas, rather than philosophical analysis. First, it looks at Nietzsche’s account of slave morality couched in terms of envy. Social justice, however, cannot be understood in this way. A section on class, religion and morality in late antiquity reinforces this with evidence that it was far more likely to find vindictiveness in the master class than the servant. The section on theism and ethics deals with Nietzsche’s notion of ‘eternal recurrence’: the idea that everything that happens will happen again an infinity of times, a notion that sustains an ethic of passive acceptance. The final part decries contemporary attachments to the Nietzschean virtues of pride, self-assertiveness, competitiveness and contempt for the less successful, preferring a Christian path to self-perfection through the pursuit of goals outside ourselves|
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