Nietzsche on free will, autonomy, and the sovereign individual

In Ken Gemes & Simon May (eds.), Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society. Oxford University Press 321-338 (2009)
[Ken Gemes] In some texts Nietzsche vehemently denies the possibility of free will; in others he seems to positively countenance its existence. This paper distinguishes two different notions of free will. Agency free will is intrinsically tied to the question of agency, what constitutes an action as opposed to a mere doing. Deserts free will is intrinsically tied to the question of desert, of who does and does not merit punishment and reward. It is shown that we can render Nietzsche's prima facie conflicting assertions regarding free will compatible by interpreting him as rejecting deserts free will while accepting the possibility of agency free will. It is argued that Nietzsche's advances an original form of compatibilism which takes agency free will to be a rare achievement rather than a natural endowment. /// [Christopher Janaway] This paper aims to distinguish a conception of 'free will' that Nietzsche opposes (that of the pure agent unaffected by contingencies of character and circumstance) and one that he supports. In Human, All Too Human Nietzsche propounds the 'total unfreedom' of the will. But by the time of Beyond Good and Evil and the Genealogy he is more concerned (a) to trace the affective psychological states underlying beliefs in both free will and 'unfree will', (b) to suggest that the will might become free in certain individuals, a matter of having a consistent strong character, self-knowledge, and ability to create values. The paper explores the kind of autonomy required in agents who would 'revalue' existing values
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DOI 10.1111/j.0066-7373.2006.00135.x
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