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Profile: Brian Leiter (University of Chicago)
  1. Brian Leiter, A New Approach to the Question of Nietzsche's Political Philosophy: A Review of Tamsin Shaw's. [REVIEW]
    Against the two dominant strands in the secondary literature on Nietzsche's political philosophy - one attributing to Nietzsche a kind of flat-footed commitment to aristocratic forms of social ordering, the other denying that Nietzsche has any political philosophy at all-Tamsin Shaw stakes out a new and surprising position: namely, that Nietzsche was very much concerned with the familiar question of the moral or normative legitimacy of state power, but was skeptical that with the demise of religion, it would be possible (...)
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  2. Brian Leiter, Foundations of Religious Liberty: Toleration or Respect?
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  3. Brian Leiter, Moral Skepticism and Moral Disagreement in Nietzsche.
    This essay offers a new interpretation of Nietzsche's argument for moral skepticism (i.e., the metaphysical thesis that there do not exist any objective moral properties or facts), an argument that should be of independent philosophical interest as well. On this account, Nietzsche offers a version of the argument from moral disagreement, but, unlike familiar varieties, it does not purport to exploit anthropological reports about the moral views of exotic cultures, or even garden-variety conflicting moral intuitions about concrete cases. Nietzsche, instead, (...)
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  4. Brian Leiter, Nietzsche's Naturalism Reconsidered.
    According to one recent scholar, "Most commentators on Nietzsche would agree that he is in a broad sense a naturalist in his mature philosophy" (Janaway 2007: 34). This may come as a surprise to those who think of Heidegger, Kaufmann, DeMan, Kofman, Deleuze, and Nehamas, among others, as "commentators" on Nietzsche. And yet there are, indeed, clear signs that in the last twenty years, as Nietzsche studies has become more philosophically sophisticated, the naturalist reading of Nietzsche has come to the (...)
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  5. Brian Leiter, Nietzsche's Philosophy of Action.
    Nietzsche holds that people lack freedom of the will in any sense that would be sufficient for ascriptions of moral responsibility; that the conscious experience we have of willing is actually epiphenomenal with respect to the actions that follow that experience; and that our actions largely arise through non-conscious processes (psychological and physiological) of which we are only dimly aware, and over which we exercise little or no conscious control. At the same time, Nietzsche, always a master of rhetoric, engages (...)
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  6. Brian Leiter, New Preface to the Greek Edition of Nietzsche on Morality (2009).
    This is a new preface written for the Greek translation of my NIETZSCHE ON MORALITY (Routledge, 2002), which will be published by Okto Publishing (Athens) in 2009. The publisher asked that I discuss how I became interested in Nietzsche, how my views about him evolved, and also how I would respond to the still-common perception (esp. in Europe) of Nietzsche as a thinker of "the right.".
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  7. Brian Leiter, The Epistemic Status of the Human Sciences: Critical Reflections on Foucault.
    Any reader of Foucault's corpus recognizes fairly quickly that it is animated by an ethical impulse, namely, to liberate individuals from a kind of oppression from which they suffer. This oppression, however, does not involve the familiar tyranny of the Leviathan or the totalitarian state; it exploits instead values that the victim of oppression herself accepts, and which then leads the oppressed agent to be complicit in her subjugation. It also depends, crucially, on a skeptical thesis about the epistemology of (...)
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  8. Brian Leiter, Who is the 'Sovereign Individual'? Nietzsche on Freedom.
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  9. Brian Leiter, Advanced Topics in Jurisprudence: Methodology.
    The topic this semester will be “methodology,” with special (but not exclusive) reference to the recent, voluminous literature on this topic in legal philosophy. There are two central questions: (1) Is there a distinctive method of philosophical inquiry? (2) What is the relationship between philosophical methods and the methods (and results) of the empirical sciences (broadly construed)?
     
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  10. Brian Leiter, Explaining Theoretical Disagreement.
    Shapiro (2007) has recently argued that Dworkin posed a new objection to legal positivism in Law's Empire, to which positivists, he says, have not adequately responded. Positivists, the objection goes, have no satisfactory account of what Dworkin calls “theoretical disagreement” about law, that is, disagreement about “the grounds of law” or what positivists would call the criteria of legal validity. I agree with Shapiro that the critique is new, and disagree that it has not been met. Positivism can not offer (...)
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  11. Brian Leiter, In Praise of Realism (and Against 'Nonsense' Jurisprudence).
    Ronald Dworkin describes an approach to how courts should decide cases that he associates with Judge Richard Posner as a Chicago School of anti-theoretical, no-nonsense jurisprudence. Since Professor Dworkin takes his own view of adjudication to be diametrically opposed to that of the Chicago School, it might seem fair, then, to describe Dworkin's own theory as an instance of pro-theoretical, nonsense jurisprudence. That characterization is not one, needless to say, that Professor Dworkin welcomes. Dworkin describes his preferred approach to jurisprudential (...)
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  12. Brian Leiter, Janaway on Nietzsche, Genealogy, and Naturalism: A Critical Review.
    This is a review essay (forthcoming in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews) discussing Christopher Janaway's book "Beyond Seflessness: Reading Nietzsche's 'Genealogy' (OUP, 2007). Particular attention is given to the question of Nietzsche's style, and the relationship between his philosophical positions and his therapeutic objectives; to Janaway's critique of my account of Nietzsche's naturalism; and to Nietzsche's conception of agency and the meaning of the image (from GM II:2) of "the sovereign individual.".
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  13. Brian Leiter, March 23-24, 2001.
    The conference will examine important historical influences on Nietzsche, as well as Nietzsche's legacy to later philosophy. Invited papers will last approximately one hour, followed by a short comment, and then general discussion.
     
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  14. Brian Leiter, Reviews of Leiter, Nietzsche on Morality (Routledge, 2002).
    “The Routledge [series] is designed to introduce students to classic works of philosophy. Brian Leiter’s Nietzsche on Morality does that, and much more. The book offers a complete commentary of On the Genealogy of Morality, but it also articulates a comprehensive and original interpretation of Nietzsche’s critique of morality. The product is an exceptionally clear and cohesive account of philosophical views known neither for their clarity nor their cohesiveness…. “The distinction, and the chief merit, of Leiter’s account is its emphasis (...)
     
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  15. Brian Leiter, Science and Morality: Pragmatic Reflections on Rorty's Pragmatism.
    This is an invited commentary on Richard Rorty's Dewey Lecture, given last year at the University of Chicago Law School. “Pragmatism,” says Rorty, “puts natural science on all fours with politics and art. It is one more source of suggestions about what to do with our lives.” I argue that the truth in pragmatism - that the epistemic norms that help us cope are the ones on which we rely - is obscured by Rorty's promiscuous version of the doctrine, which (...)
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  16. Brian Leiter, Second Reply to Hoekema; Reply to Wilshire.
    I confess to uncertainty about whether Professor Hoekema's reply http://ndpr.icaap.org/content/archives/2002/10/hoekema=leiter.html) to my comments on his review of Wilshire http://ndpr.icaap.org/content/archives/2002/10/leiter=hoekema.html) is just careless or intentionally dishonest. It is plainly quite misleading.
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  17. Brian Leiter (forthcoming). Book Review (Reviewing Tamsin Shaw, Nietzsche's Political Skepticism (2007)). [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
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  18. Brian Leiter (forthcoming). Review of Beyond Selflessness, by Christopher Janaway. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
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  19. Brian Leiter (forthcoming). Reply to Hoekema's Review of Wilshire. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
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  20. Brian Leiter (forthcoming). Waldron on the Regulation of Hate Speech. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
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  21. Brian Leiter (2014). Friedrich Nietzsche's Twilight of the Idols. Topoi 33 (2):549-555.
    This review essay of Nietzsche’s “Twilight of the Idols” (1888) is part of the journal TOPOI’s “Untimely Reviews” series of classic works of philosophy. Themes dealt with are Nietzsche’s attacks on morality, on free will, on mental causation, on Socrates, and on Kant. Connections are drawn with contemporary work by Mark Johnston, David Rosenthal, and Daniel Wegner, among others.
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  22. Leslie Green & Brian Leiter (eds.) (2013). Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Law: Volume 2. Oup Oxford.
    Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Law is an annual forum for new philosophical work on law. The essays range widely over general jurisprudence (the nature of law, adjudication, and legal reasoning), philosophical foundations of specific areas of law (from criminal to international law), and other philosophical topics relating to legal theory.
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  23. Brian Leiter (2013). Moralities Are a Sign-Language of the Affects. Social Philosophy and Policy 30 (1-2):237-258.
    This essay offers an interpretation and partial defense of Nietzsche's idea that moralities and moral judgments are or of our affects, that is, of our emotions or feelings. According to Nietzsche, as I reconstruct his view, moral judgments result from the interaction of two kinds of affective responses: first, a of inclination toward or aversion from certain acts, and then a further affective response (the ) to that basic affect (that is, sometimes we can be either inclined towards or averted (...)
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  24. Brian Leiter (2012). Why Tolerate Religion? Princeton University Press.
    "--Christopher L. Eisgruber, Princeton University "This is a provocative and bracing essay, one that is bound to stimulate much discussion.
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  25. Leslie Green & Brian Leiter (eds.) (2011). Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Law. Oxford University Press.
    The essays range widely over issues in general jurisprudence (the nature of law, adjudication, and legal reasoning), the philosophical foundations of specific ...
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  26. Brian Leiter (2011). Naturalized Jurisprudence and American Legal Realism Revisited. Law and Philosophy 30 (4):499-516.
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  27. Brian Leiter (2011). The Demarcation Problem in Jurisprudence: A New Case for Scepticism. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 31 (4):663-677.
    Legal philosophers have been preoccupied with specifying the differences between two systems of normative guidance that are omnipresent in all modern human societies: law and morality. Positivists propose a solution to this ‘Demarcation Problem’ according to which the legal validity of a norm cannot depend on its being morally valid, either in all or at least some possible legal systems. The proposed analysis purports to specify the essential and necessary features of law in virtue of which this is true. Yet, (...)
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  28. Brian Leiter (2010). Legal Formalism and Legal Realism: What is the Issue? Legal Theory 16 (2):111-133.
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  29. Brian Leiter (2010). Rorty and the Philosophical Tradition: Comment on Professor Szubka. Diametros 25:159-163.
  30. Brian Leiter & Michael Weisberg (2010). Why Evolutionary Biology is (so Far) Irrelevant to Legal Regulation. Law and Philosophy 29 (1):31-74.
    Evolutionary biology – or, more precisely, two (purported) applications of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, namely, evolutionary psychology and what has been called human behavioral biology – is on the cusp of becoming the new rage among legal scholars looking for interdisciplinary insights into the law. We argue that as the actual science stands today, evolutionary biology offers nothing to help with questions about legal regulation of behavior. Only systematic misrepresentations or lack of understanding of the relevant biology, (...)
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  31. Brian Leiter (2009). Naturalizing Jurisprudence. In John R. Shook & Paul Kurtz (eds.), The Future of Naturalism. Humanity Books.
     
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  32. Brian Leiter (2009). Nietzsche's Theory of the Will. In Ken Gemes & Simon May (eds.), Nietzsche on Freedom and Autonomy. Oxford University Press. 119-137.
    The essay offers a philosophical reconstruction of Nietzsche's theory of the will, focusing on (1) Nietzsche's account of the phenomenology of "willing " an action, the experience we have which leads us (causally) to conceive of ourselves as exercising our will; (2) Nietzsche's arguments that the experiences picked out by the phenomenology are not causally connected to the resulting action (at least not in a way sufficient to underwrite ascriptions of moral responsibility); and (3) Nietzsche's account of the actual causal (...)
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  33. Brian Leiter (2009). Review of Tamsin Shaw, Nietzsche's Political Skepticism. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2009 (1).
  34. Brian Leiter, Naturalism in Legal Philosophy. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The “naturalistic turn” that has swept so many areas of philosophy over the past three decades has also had an impact in the last decade in legal philosophy. Methodological naturalists (M-naturalists) view philosophy as continuous with empirical inquiry in the sciences. Some M-naturalists want to replace conceptual and justificatory theories with empirical and descriptive theories; they take their inspiration from more-or-less Quinean arguments against conceptual analysis and foundationalist programs. Other M-naturalists retain the normative and regulative ambitions of traditional philosophy, but (...)
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  35. Brian Leiter, Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  36. Brian Leiter (2008). Review of Christopher Janaway, Beyond Selflessness: Reading Nietzsche's Genealogy. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (6).
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  37. Brian Leiter (2008). The State of the Vocation. The Philosophers' Magazine 40 (40):27-28.
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  38. Joshua Knobe & Brian Leiter (2007). The Case for Nietzschean Moral Psychology. In Brian Leiter & Neil Sinhababu (eds.), Nietzsche and Morality. Oxford University Press.
    Contemporary moral psychology has been dominated by two broad traditions, one usually associated with Aristotle, the other with Kant. The broadly Aristotelian approach emphasizes the role of childhood upbringing in the development of good moral character, and the role of such character in ethical behavior. The broadly Kantian approach emphasizes the role of freely chosen conscious moral principles in ethical behavior. We review a growing body of experimental evidence that suggests that both of these approaches are predicated on an implausible (...)
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  39. Brian Leiter (2007). Morality Critics. In Brian Leiter & Michael Rosen (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Continental Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
     
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  40. Brian Leiter (2007). Naturalizing Jurisprudence: Essays on American Legal Realism and Naturalism in Legal Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    Introduction: From legal realism to naturalized jurisprudence -- A note on legal indeterminacy -- Part I. American legal realism and its critics -- Rethinking legal realism: toward a naturalized jurisprudence (1997) -- Legal realism and legal positivism reconsidered (2001) -- Is there an "American" jurisprudence? (1997) -- Postscript to Part I: Interpreting legal realism -- Part II. Ways of naturalizing jurisprudence -- Legal realism, hard positivism, and the limits of conceptual analysis (1998, 2001) -- Why Quine is not a postmodernist (...)
     
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  41. Brian Leiter (2007). Nietzsche's Theory of the Will. Philosophers' Imprint 7 (7):1-15.
    The essay offers a philosophical reconstruction of Nietzsche’s theory of the will, focusing on (1) Nietzsche’s account of the phenomenology of “willing” an action, the experience we have which leads us (causally) to conceive of ourselves as exercising our will; (2) Nietzsche’s arguments that the experiences picked out by the phenomenology are not causally connected to the resulting action (at least not in a way sufficient to underwrite ascriptions of moral responsibility); and (3) Nietzsche’s account of the actual causal genesis (...)
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  42. Brian Leiter & Michael Rosen (2007). Introduction. In Brian Leiter & Michael Rosen (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Continental Philosophy. Oup Oxford.
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  43. Brian Leiter & Michael Rosen (eds.) (2007/2009). The Oxford Handbook of Continental Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    This Handbook will be an essential reference point for graduate students and professional academics working on continental philosophy, as well as those with an ...
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  44. Brian Leiter & Neil Sinhababu (2007). Introduction. In Brian Leiter & Neil Sinhababu (eds.), Nietzsche and Morality. Oxford University Press.
     
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  45. Brian Leiter & Neil Sinhababu (eds.) (2007). Nietzsche and Morality. Oxford University Press.
    This volume capitalizes on a growth of interest in Nietzsche's work on morality from two sides -- from scholars of the history of philosophy and from ...
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  46. Brian Leiter (2006). The Hermeneutics of Suspicion: Recovering Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. In , The Future for Philosophy. Clarendon Press.
     
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  47. Brian Leiter (2005). American Legal Realism. In Martin P. Golding & William A. Edmundson (eds.), The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory. Blackwell Pub..
     
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  48. Brian Leiter (2004). Introduction. In , The Future for Philosophy. Oxford University Press. 1--23.
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  49. Brian Leiter (ed.) (2004). The Future for Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    Where does philosophy, the oldest academic subject, stand at the beginning of the new millennium? This remarkable volume brings together leading figures from most major branches of the discipline to offer answers. What remains of the "linguistic turn" in twentieth-century philosophy? How should moral philosophy respond to and incorporate developments in empirical psychology? Where might Continental and Anglophone feminist theory profitably interact? How has our understanding of ancient philosophy been affected by the emergence of analytic philosophy? Where does the mind-body (...)
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