David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Barry Stocker & Manuel Knoll (eds.), Nietzsche as Political Philosopher, Eds. Barry Stocker and Manuel Knoll, Walter de Gruyter. Walter de Gruyter. 155-170 (2014)
This paper draws on Friedrich Nietzsche’s work to defend the (admittedly non-Nietzschean) conclusion that a non-liberal egalitarian society is superior in two ways: first, as a moral ideal, it does not rest on questionable claims about essential human equality and, second, such a society would provide the optimal psychological and political conditions for individual wellbeing, social stability, and cultural achievement. I first explain Nietzsche’s distinction between forms of egalitarianism: noble and slavish. The slavish form promotes equality, defined negatively as the elimination of privilege. It is non-liberal in its prioritization of equality over the interests of the advantaged. Nietzsche rejects both slavish egalitarianism and liberalism for the same reasons: they questionably assume the equal value of all persons, and they harm cultural achievement, sacrificing the potential of those who are most valuable to cultural development to the interests of the majority. Noble egalitarianism, in contrast, exemplifies Nietzsche’s conception of justice as ‘equality among equals’. It demands that individuals of equal worth or power (such as members of an artistic or political elite) treat each other as what they, in fact, are: equals. It avoids asserting essential equality, demanding instead—against both slavish and liberal forms—respect on the basis of shared superiority. And it escapes the charge of harm to cultural development, commanding respect only where equality already exists. Although Nietzsche quickly assumes that ‘noble egalitarianism’ requires the rejection of all forms of universal egalitarianism, concluding that we should ‘never make equal what is unequal’, in fact it only entails the rejection of slavish methods: equalization through harm to the advantaged. However, non-liberal forms of egalitarianism can be ‘noble’, promoting equality without harm to the advantaged—through, for example, unequal distribution of resources, the equalization of economic opportunities, and economic regulation to prevent the creation of substantial wealth disparities. If egalitarianism can ‘make equal’ without slavish methods, then Nietzsche’s demand for ‘equality for equals’ applies to the newly equal, too. More importantly, his moral psychology of power—the view that our source of happiness and incentive to self-development is the feeling of power in relation to equal resistance or ‘opponents who are our equals’ —supports the superiority of a nobly-achieved, non-liberal egalitarian society. For achieved, practical equality of wealth and opportunity would optimize conditions for the feeling of power: a balance of equal, oppositional powers serving as mutual limitation and resistance. Such a society is superior in three ways. First, it maximizes social happiness by promoting and maintaining the feeling of power in all. Liberal and aristocratic societies, in contrast, allow radical inequalities that not only diminish the power of the disadvantaged, but diminish the opportunities of the advantaged to encounter equal resistance, thus undermining the happiness of all. Second, it promotes social stability by preserving a balance of powers that prevents domination and exploitation, in contrast to the inevitable class conflicts of aristocratic and liberal societies. Finally, it promotes cultural achievement, since the feeling of power in relation to proportional resistance is the psychological incentive for self-development and cultural achievement.
|Keywords||Nietzsche Political Philosophy Equality Egalitarianism Noble Morality Pluralism|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Donovan Miyasaki (2014). The Equivocal Use of Power in Nietzsche’s Failed Anti-Egalitarianism. Journal of Moral Philosophy 11 (4):1-32.
Kenneth Baynes (0040). Democratic Equality and Respect. Theoria 53 (=117;User_Persona=false;ord=1234):1-25.
Gideon Elford (2013). Equality of Opportunity and Other-Affecting Choice: Why Luck Egalitarianism Does Not Require Brute Luck Equality. [REVIEW] Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (1):139-149.
Richard J. Arneson (2000). Luck Egalitarianism and Prioritarianism. Ethics 110 (2):339-349.
Joseph Heath (2008). Political Egalitarianism. Social Theory and Practice 34 (4):485-516.
David Alm (2011). Equality and Comparative Justice. Inquiry 53 (4):309-325.
Sagar Sanyal (2012). A Defence of Democratic Egalitarianism. Journal of Philosophy 109 (7):413-34.
S. Scheffler & V. Munoz-Dardé (2005). Equality and Division: Values in Principle. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 79 (79):255-284.
Peter Vallentyne (2003). Brute Luck Equality and Desert. In Sabrina Olsaretti (ed.), Desert and Justice. Clarendon Press.
Ryan Long (2011). The Incompleteness of Luck Egalitarianism. Social Philosophy Today 27:87-96.
James Wilson (2007). Nietzsche and Equality. In Gudrun von Tevenar (ed.), Nietzsche and Ethics. Peter Lang.
Added to index2012-01-19
Total downloads235 ( #3,315 of 1,696,433 )
Recent downloads (6 months)103 ( #760 of 1,696,433 )
How can I increase my downloads?