The Genealogy takes a historical form. But does the history play an essential role in Nietzsche's critique of modern morality? In this essay, I argue that the answer is yes. The Genealogy employs history in order to show that acceptance of modern morality was causally responsible for producing a dramatic change in our affects, drives, and perceptions. This change led agents to perceive actual increases in power as reductions in power, and actual decreases in power as increases in (...) power. Moreover, it led agents to experience negative emotions when engaging in activities that constitute greater manifestations of power, and positive emotions when engaging in activities that reduce power. For these reasons, modern morality strongly disposes agents to reduce their own power. Given Nietzsche’s argument that power has a privileged normative status, these facts entail that we have a reason to reject modern morality. (shrink)
In THE GENEALOGY OF MORALITY Nietzsche assess the value of the value judgments of morality from the perspective of human flourishing. His positive descriptions of the “higher men” he hopes for and the negative descriptions of the decadent humans he thinks morality unfortunately supports both point to a particular substantive conception of what such flourishing comes to. The Genealogy, however, presents us with a puzzle: why does Nietzsche’s own evaluative standard not receive a genealogical critique? The answer to (...) this puzzle, I argue, lies in recognizing the centrality of the notion of “life”, and its connection to power, in Nietzsche’s overall account. Leiter has argued that his “Millian Model” provides the most charitable reconstruction of appeals to a privileged evaluative standard of power; this model ascribes an inference from a strong doctrine of the will to power according to which only power can be desired. I propose a “Benthamite Model” that ascribes an inference from the inescapability of a tendency towards power, a tendency that is essential to life. I argue that this model avoids the objections Leiter directs at the Millian Model. (shrink)
Foucault contra Habermas is an incisive examination of, and a comprehensive introduction to, the debate between Foucault and Habermas over the meaning of enlightenment and modernity. It reprises the key issues in the argument between critical theory and genealogy and is organised around three complementary themes: defining the context of the debate; examining the theoretical and conceptual tools used; and discussing the implications for politics and criticism. In a detailed reply to Habermas' Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, this volume explains (...) the difference between Habermas' philosophical practice (the transcendental critique) and Foucault's (the historical 'exercise'), between the analytics of truth and the politics of truth. Many of the most difficult arguments in the exchange are subject to a detailed critical analysis. This examination also includes discussion of the ethics of dialogue; the practice of criticism; the politics of recognition, and the function of civil society and democracy. Lucid and accessible - comprising the work of a diverse international and interdisciplinary group of scholars - Foucault contra Habermas will be essential reading for students of Social Theory; Politics; and Philosophy. (shrink)
What genealogy does -- Critical historiography: politics, philosophy & problematization -- Three uses of genealogy: subversion, vindication & problematization -- What problematization is: contingency, complexity & critique -- What problematization does: aims, sources & implications -- Foucault's problematization of modernity: the reciprocal incompatibility of discipline and liberation -- Foucault's reconstruction of modern moralities: an ethics of self-transformation -- Problematization plus reconstruction: genealogy, pragmatism & critical theory.
While claiming that liberalism is the dominant political theory and practice of modernity, this book provides two alternative post modern theoretical approaches to the political. Concentrating on Nietzsche's and Foucault's work, it offers a novel interpretation of their genealogical projects. It argues that genealogy can be applied to analyze different forms of cultural kitsch vis-à-vis the dominant political institutions of consumer capitalism. The problem with consumer capitalism is not so much that it exploits individuals, but that it fosters cheap (...) human existence saturated with the artefacts of kitsch. Contrasting genealogy with hermeneutic philosophy, it calls for a renewal of hermeneutics within the Thomistic tradition. (shrink)
Continental Philosophy of Social Science demonstrates the unique and autonomous nature of the continental approach to social science and contrasts it with the Anglo-American tradition. Yvonne Sherratt argues for the importance of an historical understanding of the Continental tradition in order to appreciate its individual, humanist character. Examining the key traditions of hermeneutic, genealogy, and critical theory, and the texts of major thinkers such as Gadamer, Ricoeur, Derrida, Nietzsche, Foucault, the Early Frankfurt School and Habermas, she also contextualizes contemporary (...) developments within strands of thought stemming back to Ancient Greece and Rome. Sherratt shows how these modes of thinking developed through medieval Christian thought into the Enlightenment and Romantic eras, before becoming mainstays of twentieth-century disciplines. Continental Philosophy of Social Science will serve as the essential textbook for courses in philosophy or social sciences. (shrink)
The present paper argues for a more complete integration between recent "genealogical" approaches to the problem of knowledge and evolutionary accounts of the development of human cognitive capacities and practices. A structural tension is pointed out between, on the one hand, the fact that the explicandum of genealogical stories is a specifically human trait and, on the other hand, the tacit acknowledgment, shared by all contributors to the debate, that human beings have evolved from non-human beings. Since humans differ from (...) their predecessors in more ways than just the lack of a particular concept or cognitive ability, this casts doubt on the widely shared assumption (the "Constancy Assumption") that, when constructing a genealogical narrative for a particular concept (e.g., our contemporary concept of knowledge), it is permissible to hold all other factors (e.g., individual "on-board" cognitive capacities) fixed. What is needed instead, I argue, is an ecological perspective that views knowledge as an adaptive response to an evolutionary constellation that allows for a diversity of selective pressures. Several examples of specific conceptual pressures at different stages in human evolution are discussed. (shrink)
Using Alasdair MacIntyre as a foil, I defend what I take to be a viable Nietzschean genealogical account, showing that a proper perspectivism is neither perniciously subjectivist nor absolutist. I begin by arguing against MacIntyre’s assertion that genealogists are committed to the view that rationality requires neutrality and that as there is no neutrality, there is no rationality. I then continue by offering something of a reconstruction of Nietzsche’s view, designed partly to clarify the error pinpointed in MacIntyre’s arguments, but (...) primarily to amplify the Nietzschean solution. This reconstruction involves claiming that Nietzsche is committed to three different senses of “truth:” the “Truth” (with a capital “T”) of correspondence theories, “truth” which is really pragmatic knowledge that helps us survive, and, finally, “truth” that is nothing more that “metaphors and metonyms” which are falsely taken to be useful to survival. (shrink)
Michel Foucault had a great influence upon a wide range of disciplines, and his work has been widely interpreted and is frequently referred to, but it is often difficult for beginners to find their way into the complexities of his thought. This is especially true for readers whose background is Anglo-American or "analytic" philosophy. C. G. Prado argues in this updated introduction that the time is overdue for Anglo-American philosophers to avail themselves of what Foucault offers. In this clear and (...) greatly-revised second edition, Prado focuses on Foucault's "middle" or genealogical work, particularly Discipline and Punish and Volume One of The History of Sexuality, in which Foucault most clearly comes to grips with the historicization of truth and knowledge and the formation of subjectivity. Understanding Foucault's thought on these difficult subjects requires working through much complexity and ambiguity, and Prado's direct and accessible introduction is the ideal place to start. (shrink)
This paper offers a theory of genealogy, explaining its rise in the nineteenth century, its epistemic commitments, its nature as critique, and its place in the work of Nietzsche and Foucault. The crux of the theory is recognition of genealogy as an expression of a radical historicism, rejecting both appeals to transcendental truths and principles of unity or progress in history, and embracing nominalism, contingency, and contestability. In this view, genealogies are committed to the truth of radical historicism (...) and, perhaps more provisionally, the truth of their own empirical content. Similarly, genealogies operate as denaturalizing critiques of ideas and practices that hide the contingency of human life behind formal ahistorical or developmental perspectives. (shrink)
One striking feature of On the Genealogy of Morals concerns how it is written. Nietzsche utilizes a literary style that provokes his readers’ emotions. Recently, Christopher Janaway has argued that this approach is integral to Nietzsche’s philosophical goals: feeling the emotions Nietzsche’s style arouses is necessary for understanding the views he defends. This paper shows that Janaway’s position is tempting but mistaken. The temptation exists because our emotions often function as “tools of discovery.” They bring things into focus we (...) otherwise could not see. However, once we grasp what they reveal, we can communicate it to others without first having to arouse their emotions. Thus there may be truths none of us would know unless one of us consulted his or her emotions. But it is not the case that each of us must consult his or her emotions in order to understand these truths. (shrink)
On a postcard to Franz Overbeck from January 4, 1888, Nietzsche makes some illuminating remarks with respect to the three treatises in his book On the Genealogy of Morality.2 Nietzsche says that, ‘for the sake of clarity, it was necessary artificially to isolate the different roots of that complex structure that is called morality. Each of these three treatises expresses a single primum mobile; a fourth and fifth are missing, as is even the most essential (‘the herd instinct’) – (...) for the time being, the latter had to be ignored, as too comprehensive, and the same holds for the ultimate summation of all those different elements and thus a final account of morality.’ Nietzsche also points out that each treatise makes a contribution to the genesis of Christianity and rejects an explanation of Christianity in terms of only one psychological category. The topics of the treatises are ‘good’ and ‘evil’ (first treatise), the ‘bad conscience’ (second), and the ‘ascetic ideal’ (third). The postcard suggests that Nietzsche discusses these topics separately because a joint treatment is too complicated, but that in reality, these ideas are inextricably intertwined, both with each other and with others that Nietzsche omits. Therefore, the three treatises should be regarded as parts of a unified theory and critique of morality. Nietzsche’s remarks on that postcard are important because in the Genealogy itself, he makes little effort to show the unity among the treatises. We shall return to this postcard repeatedly.3 The first treatise has attracted most scholarly attention, but much less work has been done on the second treatise, ‘ “Debts”, “Bad Conscience”, and Related Matters’. This is unfortunate, since it seems that, in Nietzsche’s own view, the central notion of the second treatise, namely, the bad conscience as a feeling of guilt, is a key element of Christian morality. Therefore, understanding Nietzsche’s treatment of this notion is essential to understanding his views on Christianity and the impact of the Christian heritage on non-religious moral philosophy.. (shrink)
“The genealogy of morals” is, most famously, a pair of genealogies: that of the good/evil dichotomy in the First Treatise, and that of the bad conscience in the Second Treatise. But the straightforward presentation of these two narratives is subverted even before it begins. Nietzsche classifies the book not as a treatise or inquiry but as a “polemic”; voices interrupt the narrative to insist that much is left unsaid; the narratives are framed by, of all things, reflections on the (...) scientific conscience; Nietzsche declares the entire enterprise to be a contribution to the critique of “the value of values”; the two genealogies of the first two Treatises overlap and various points and ultimately converge in a discussion of the “meaning” of the “ascetic ideal.” Whatever one makes of these complications, two tentative conclusions can be drawn. Nietzsche is profoundly concerned with the status of his genealogy. And genealogy does not function as reportage, primarily concerned with the accurate depiction of events; rather, it aims to reveal something about the status of “moral values” and the possibility of an alternative to them. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to clarify the relation between genealogy and history and to suggest a methodological reading of Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals. I try to determine genealogy's specific range of objects, specific mode of explication, and specific textual form. Genealogies in general can be thought of as drastic narratives of the emergence and transformations of forms of subjectivity related to power, told with the intention to induce doubt and self-reflection in exactly those readers whose (...) (collective) history is narrated. The main interest in understanding the concept of genealogy and revisiting Nietzsche's introduction of it into philosophy lies in understanding how a certain way of writing and a certain textual practice function that successfully call into question current judgments, institutions and practices. Nietzsche's example, I argue, can provide a paradigm for a critical practice that accounts for historical processes of subject formation in terms of power and turns them against given forms of subjectivity. (shrink)
This paper explains the genealogical method as it is understood and employed in contemporary Continental philosophy. Using a pair of terms from Bernard Williams, genealogy is contrasted with phenomenology as an `unmasking' as opposed to a `vindicatory' method. The genealogical method is also compared with the method of Ideologiekritik and recent critical theory. Although genealogy is usually thought to be allergic to universals, in fact Foucault, Derrida, and Bourdieu do not shun universals, even if they approach them with (...) caution. The conclusion is that genealogy is a viable and productive approach to social criticism and self-transformation. (shrink)
Nietzsche's aims and targets -- Reading Nietzsche's preface -- Naturalism and genealogy -- Selflessness : the struggle with Schopenhauer -- Nietzsche and Paul Rée on the origins of moral feelings -- Good and evil : affect, artistry, and revaluation -- Free will, autonomy, and the sovereign individual -- Guilt, bad conscience, and self-punishment -- Will to power in the Genealogy -- Nietzsche's illustration of the art of exegesis -- Disinterestedness and objectivity -- Perspectival knowing and the affects -- (...) The ascetic ideal, meaning, and truth -- Beyond selflessness. (shrink)
This essay explores whether, and how, genealogy might remain critical within anti-foundationalist philosophical contexts. While adherents of genealogy often presume that genealogy simply is inherently critical in any context, adherents of historicized forms of anti-foundationalist philosophy might rightly wonder whether genealogy can continue to serve any critical purpose whatsoever. Is genealogy a form of historical inquiry that can be done away with once a shift has been made towards historicized forms of anti-foundationalist philosophy? Why continue (...) to do genealogies once certain generalizeable insights have been learned from genealogy? This essay argues that there remains a critical role for genealogy, understood as a particular form of historical inquiry, within anti-foundationalist modes of reasoning. By exploring this critical role for genealogy, our understanding of anti-foundationalist modes of reasoning is enriched, and some clarity is gained into the philosophical foundations of genealogical critique. (shrink)
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.".
It is seldom in dispute that genealogy, or genealogical accounts are central to Nietzsche’s philosophic enterprise. The role that genealogy plays in Nietzsche’s thought is little understood, however, as is Nietzsche’s argumentation in general, and, for that matter, what Nietzsche might be arguing for. In this paper I attempt to summarize Nietzsche’s genealogical account of modern ethical practices and offer an explanation of the philosophical import of genealogy. The difficulties in coming to understand the philosophical function of (...)genealogy are obvious. Genealogy, whatever else we say about it, offers a story of the genesis of contemporary ethical beliefs and practices. The story that Nietzsche gave is obviously a revisionist one, and Nietzsche seldom cites specific historical evidence; although it contains many historical allusions, the presentation is thematic or even mythical. At the same time, Nietzsche’s interests were primarily ethical: he seems to be attempting, in some novel way, either to solve or to eliminate1 philosophical problems about norms and values. In particular, he offered his genealogy as part of a critique of specifically “modern” values and the advancement of an “immoralism” that would take their place. So the difficulties are: it is unclear what status we should accord Nietzsche’s stories in particular, and it is unclear what role any story about the emergence of modern values can play in an assessment of those values. We seem to need a reason to take Nietzsche’s account as particularly authoritative, and then an explanation of how his account does in fact bear upon the normative status of “modern values.”. (shrink)
Of the distinctive terminology of nineteenth-century thought, perhaps no word has been more widely adopted than ‘genealogy’.1 ‘Genealogy’, of course, had a long history before Nietzsche put it in the title of a book, but the original sense of pedigree or family tree is not the one that has become so prominent in contemporary academic discourse.2 Nietzsche initiated a new sense of ‘genealogy’ that, oddly, has become popular despite a lack of clarity about what it is.3 My (...) aim here is to clarify this sense of genealogy by situating it in the context of nineteenth-century narrative argument and identifying its general features. I contend that the famous Nietzschean.. (shrink)
This paper offers a rereading of Foucault's much-disputed mid-career historiographical shift to genealogy from his earlier archaeological analytic. Disputing the usual view that this shift involves an abandonment of an archaeological method that was then replaced by a genealogical method, I show that this shift is better conceived as a historiographical expansion. Foucault's work subsequent to this shift should be understood as invoking both genealogy and archaeology. The metaphor of expansion is helpful in clarifying what was involved in (...) Foucault's historiographical shift. I describe two expansions at the heart of Foucault's move. First, Foucault went from analyzing singular isolable domains of practice (such as knowledge) to analyzing the interactions between multiple domains of practice (such as power/knowledge). Second, Foucault went from an analytic which relied on a single temporal category of rupture to an analytic which invoked the relations amongst multiple temporalities, including continuity alongside discontinuity in his subsequent analyses. (shrink)
Genealogy is a critical method employed most notably by Friedrich Nietzsche and Michel Foucault. Although he does not explicitly acknowledge it, Mikhail Bakhtin, the Russian linguist and philosopher of language, also uses this method. I examine the way these three thinkers construe both the critical and the affirmative roles of genealogy. The 'affirmative role' refers to what genealogy itself valorizes in exposing the limits of the universal claims it critiques. I identify three tasks of the critical role (...) of genealogy and explore what I feel are two limitations of its affirmative side: the anonymity of Nietzsche's 'eternal return of the same' and the indeterminacy of Foucault's 'undefined work of freedom'. I argue that a judicious use of Bakhtin's notions of 'voice' and 'dialogized heteroglossia' can help genealogy to overcome these two limitations without resurrecting the totalizing systems of thought that all three thinkers repudiate. Key Words: Bakhtinian 'voice' Friedrich Nietzsche genealogy 'heteroglossia' Michel Foucault Mikhail Bakhtin multi-voiced body power resistance will-to-power. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: List of contributors; Acknowledgements; Note on texts, translations, references; Introduction Simon May; 1. The future of evil Raymond Geuss; 2. On the nobility of Nietzsche's priests R. Lanier Anderson; 3. The genealogy of guilt Bernard Reginster; 4. Why Nietzsche is still in the morality game Simon May; 5. Who is the 'sovereign individual'? Nietzsche on freedom Brian Leiter; 6. Ressentiment and morality Peter Poellner; 7. The role of life in the Genealogy Nadeem Hussain; 8. (...) The relevance of history for moral philosophy: a study of Nietzsche's Genealogy Paul Katsafanas; 9. Why would master morality surrender its power? Lawrence Hatab; 10. 'Genealogy' and the Genealogy Peter Kail; 11. The promising animal: the art of reading On the Genealogy of Morality as testimony Stephen Mulhall; 12. Nietzsche and the 'aesthetics of character' Edward Harcourt; 13. Nietzsche and the virtues of mature egoism Christine Swanton; 14. Une promesse de bonheur? Beauty in the Genealogy Aaron Ridley; Bibliography; Index. (shrink)
Abstract This paper examines the treatment of thick ethical concepts in Williams's work in order to evaluate the consistency of his treatment of ethical and epistemic concepts and to assess whether the idea of a thick concept can be extended from ethics to epistemology. A virtue epistemology is described modeled on a cognitivist virtue ethics. Williams's genealogy of the virtues surrounding propositional knowledge (the virtues of ?truthfulness?) is critically evaluated. It is concluded that this genealogy is an important (...) contribution to the project of virtue epistemology. Thick concepts must not only feature in the account but will sustain more of the marks of objectivity than their ethical counterparts. This is so even on Williams's demanding assumptions. (shrink)
This paper interprets the relation between sovereignty and guilt in Nietzsche's Genealogy. I argue that, contrary to received opinion, Nietzsche was not opposed to the moral concept of guilt. I analyse Nietzsche's account of the emergence of the guilty conscience out of a pre-moral bad conscience. Drawing attention to Nietzsche's references to many different forms of conscience and analogizing to his account of punishment, I propose that we distinguish between the enduring and the fluid elements of a ‘conscience’, defining (...) the enduring element as the practice of forming self-conceptions. I show that for Nietzsche, the moralization of the bad conscience results from mixing it with the material concepts of guilt and duty, a process effected by prehistoric religious institutions by way of the concept of god. This moralization furnishes a new conception of oneself as a responsible agent and holds the promise of sovereignty by giving us a freedom unknown to other creatures, but at the price of our becoming subject to moral guilt. According to Nietzsche, however, the very forces that made it possible have spoiled this promise and, under the pressures of the ascetic ideal, a harmful notion of responsibility understood in terms of sin now dominates our lives. Thus, to fully realize our sovereignty, we must liberate ourselves from this sinful conscience. (shrink)
The essay aims at an assessment of whether and to what extent the history of governmentality can be considered to be a genealogy. To this effect a generic account of core tenets of Foucauldian genealogy is developed. The three core tenets highlighted are (1) a radically contingent view of history that is (2) expressed in a distinct style and (3) highlights the impact of power on this history. After a brief discussion of the concept of governmentality and a (...) descriptive summary of its history, this generic account is used as a measuring device to be applied to the history of governmentality. While both, the concept of governmentality and also its history retain certain links to genealogical precepts, my overall conclusion is that particularly the history of governmentality (and not necessarily Foucault's more programmatic statements about it) departs from these precepts in significant ways. Not only is there a notable difference in style that cannot be accounted for entirely by the fact that this history is produced in the medium of lectures. Aside from a rather abstract consideration of the importance of societal struggles, revolts and other forms of resistance, there is also little reference to the role of these phenomena in the concrete dynamics of governmental shifts that are depicted in the historical narrative. Finally, in contrast to the historical contingency espoused by genealogy and the programmatic statements about governmentality, the actual history of the latter can be plausibly, albeit unsympathetically, read in a rather teleological fashion according to which the transformations of governmentality amount to the unfolding of an initially implicit notion of governing that is subsequently realised in ever more consistent ways. In the final section of the essay I turn towards the field of governmentality studies, arguing that some of the more problematic tendencies in this research tradition can be traced back to Foucault's own account. In particular, the monolithic conceptualisation of governmentality and the implicit presentism of an excessive focus on Neoliberalism found in many of the studies in governmentality can be linked back to problems in Foucault's own history of governmenality. The paper concludes with suggestions for a future research agenda for the governmentality studies that point beyond Foucault's own account and its respective limitations. (shrink)
Nihilism is the logic of nothing as something, which claims that Nothing Is. Its unmaking of things, and its forming of formless things, strain the fundamental terms of existence: what it is to be, to know, to be known. But nihilism, the antithesis of God, is also like theology. Where nihilism creates nothingness, condenses it to substance, God also makes nothingness creative. Negotiating the borders of spirit and substance, theology can ask the questions of nihilism that other disciplines do not (...) ask: Where is it? What is it made of? Why is it so destructive? How can it be made holy, or overcome? Genealogy of Nihilism rereads Western history in the light of nihilistic logic, which pervades two millennia of Western thought and is coming to fruition in our present age in a virulently dangerous manner. From Parmenides to Alain Badiou, via Plotinus, Avicenna, Duns Scotus, Ockham, Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, Sartre, Lacan, Deleuze and Derrida, a genealogy of nothingness can be witnessed in development, with devastating consequences for the way we live. Conor Cunningham's elaborate and sophisticated theology, spanning the disciplines of philosophy, science and popular culture, permits us to see not simply how modernity has formulated its philosophies of nothing, but how these philosophies might be transfigures by the crucial difference theology makes, and so be reconcilable with life and the living - with the very gift which being is. (shrink)
With the advent of slave morality and the belief system it entails, human beings alone begin to advance to a level beyond that of simple, brute, animal nature. While Christianity and its belief system generate a progression, however, allowing human beings to become interesting for the first time, Nietzsche also maintains in the Genealogy that slave morality is a regression, somehow lowering or bringing them down from a possible higher level. In this paper I will argue that this is (...) not a mere inconsistency in Nietzsche's writing, but is instead an important clue to a correct interpretation of the Genealogy. (shrink)
In order to clarify the relationship between morality and law, it is necessary to define both concepts precisely. Cultural realities refer to concepts which are more specifically defined if we focus towards the genealogy of those realities, that is to say, their motivation, function and aim. Should we start from legal anthropology, comparative law and history of law, law arises as a social technique which coactively imposes ways of solving conflicts, protecting fundamental values for a society's co-existence. Values subject (...) to being protected are proposed by morality, the latter making subordination of law to morality inevitable. This explains that a great number of modern constitutions include a reference to fundamental moral values, that is to say, they have explicitly positivised moral contents. Legal reasoning, at all levels and expressions, needs to appeal to the aforementioned values. Constitutional reasoning, international law, legislative activity and judicial practice are studied to verify the latter. This subordination of law to morality sets out a serious problem: moralities are cultural realities which are only valid for a specific society. In order for law not to fall in a not very rational legal relativism, law should not be subordinated to morality, but to ethics, the latter understood as cross-cultural morality. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a step forward in this sense. (shrink)
Book Information Truth and Truthfulness: An Essay in Genealogy. Truth and Truthfulness: An Essay in Genealogy Bernard Williams , Princeton : Princeton University Press , 2002 , 328 , US$27.95 ( cloth ) By Bernard Williams. Princeton University Press. Princeton. Pp. 328. US$27.95 (cloth:).
It is being argued, in this article, that multicultural education is subversive because it challenges the assumed inevitability and superiority of the dominant culture by presenting alterna-tives to it. For multicultural education to be subversive, however, culture has to be understood as an order of things mapped across truth and power axis Ã la Foucault. These order of things are sup-pressed by the dominant culture in order to maintain its hegemony. It is being further argued that with the help of (...) Foucault's genealogy we can understand how multicultural education can liberate subjugated order of things. (shrink)
From the relative obscurity in which Levinas's work languished until very recently, Emmanuel Levinas must now be judged as one of the most influential figures in contemporary Continental philosophy. There is no better guide than John Lewelyn to lead one through the thickets of Levinas's prose. Bursting with questions, multiple references, cascading citations and multilingual puns and nuances, this book is the compelling record of intellectual obsession. Taking as its guiding thre the theme of genealogy, the book gives a (...) broadly chronological and impressively manageable presentation of the whole sweep of the Levinas's work. Balanced and finely grained, Llewelyn confronts questions of method, Heidegger, phenomenology, the theme of sensibility, religion, enjoyment, feminity, eros, justice and the political. The book reaches a stunning climax in a series of chapters that give a hestitant but tolerant discussion of the question of God in Levinas, the relation to Levinasian ethics to Nietzschean genealogy, and an extraordinary discussion of metaphor that leads into a wholly original analysis of Levinas's poetics and metaphorics. The book concludes with a sensitive reading of the autobiographical epigraphs to Levinas's Otherwise than Being... and a consideration of the Holocaust. (shrink)
One promising way to investigate the genealogy of norms is by considering not the origin of norms, but rather, what makes certain norms more likely to prevail. Emotional responses, I maintain, constitute one important set of mechanisms that affects the cultural viability of norms. To corroborate this, I exploit historical evidence indicating that 16th century etiquette norms prohibiting disgusting actions were much more likely to survive than other 16th century etiquette norms. This case suggests more broadly that work on (...) cultural evolution should pay greater attention to the role of emotion systems in cultural transmission. (shrink)
Nietzsche's book On the Genealogy of Morals is often taken to be the high point of his critical project. Many of the positive aspects of Genealogy are often ignored, however, because they are difficult to explain. This article attempts to give an interpretation of the second essay of Genealogy in terms of Nietzsche's concept of will to power. On this basis, the second essay shows itself not to be simply an account of "bad conscience", but rather an (...) account of the development of morality as a whole, and one which shows the beginnings of a normative teaching. /// A obra A Genealogia da Moral é normalmente considerada como o cume do projecto crítico de Nietzsche. A verdade, porém, é que muitos dos aspectos positivos da Genealogia são frequentemente ignorados, pela simples razao de que são difíceis de explicar. O presente artigo pretende dar uma interpretação do segundo ensaio da Genealogia em termos do conceito nietzschiano da vontade de poder. Neste sentido, o segundo ensaio revela ser algo mais do que uma mera narrativa acerca do desenvolvimento da moralidade no seu conjunto, explicação essa que põe a descoberto os inicios de uma doutrina normativa. (shrink)
A philosophical attempt to work out a universal World-History … must be regarded as possible and even as promoting the purpose of nature itself.Perhaps it is precisely here that we still discover the realm of our invention, the realm where even we can be original, for instance as parodists of World-History and the Hanswursts of God….Every time a beginning that is calculated to mislead; cool, scientific, even ironic, deliberately foreground, deliberately holding off.The thesis of this article is an interpretive one (...) about Nietzsche's work On the Genealogy of Morals: its use of irony is so pervasive that it cannot be relied upon to report Nietzsche's views, even at the moment of writing, on a historical sequence of .. (shrink)
The article describes how an intellectual community of those following French trends in the academy have, for the past forty years, been offering a mistaken reading of Friedrich Nietzsche's concept of genealogy. The essay shows how Nietzsche mocks moral psychologists by calling them genealogists, contrasts Nietzsche's work with that of genealogists, and then documents how subsequent academics, encouraged by the work of Gilles Deleuze and, in turn, Michel Foucault, created a revaluation of genealogy's meaning, thereby fetishizing their own (...) scholarly authority. (shrink)
Gadamer's Truth and Method emphasises the priority of engagement with questions in the process of interpretation; however, there are passages which appear dismissive of concerns with 'dead' scientific and philosophical questions. Here I argue that Gadamer's work is nevertheless an important resource for the historical study of the genesis and dissolution of questions. This type of study can overcome the divide between internal history of contents and external history of contexts. In both philosophy and the sciences, reflection on the (...) class='Hi'>genealogy of questions is, I suggest, crucial for our critical awareness of current methods and agendas. (shrink)
Inventions of Teaching: A Genealogy is a powerful examination of current metaphors for and synonyms of teaching. It offers an account of the varied and conflicting influences and conceptual commitments that have contributed to contemporary vocabularies--and that are in some ways maintained by those vocabularies, in spite of inconsistencies and incompatibilities among popular terms. The concern that frames the book is how speakers of English invented (in the original sense of the word, "came upon") our current vocabularies for teaching. (...) Conceptually, this book is unique in the educational literature. As a whole, it presents an overview of the major underlying philosophical and ideological concepts and traditions related to knowledge, learning, and teaching in the Western world, concisely introducing readers to the central historical and contemporary discourses that shape current discussions and beliefs in the field. Because the organization of historical, philosophical, theoretical, and etymological information is around key conceptual divergences in Western thought rather than any sort of chronology, this text is not a linear history, but several histories--or, more precisely, it is a genealogy. Specifically, it is developed around breaks in opinion that gave or are giving rise to diverse interpretations of knowledge, learning, and teaching--highlighting historical moments in which vibrant new figurative understandings of teaching emerged and moments at which they froze into literalness. The book is composed of two sorts of chapters, "branching" and "teaching." Branching chapters include an opening treatment of the break in opinion, separate discussions of each branch, and a summary of the common assumptions and shared histories of the two branches. Teaching chapters offer brief etymological histories and some of the practical implications of the terms for teaching that were coined, co-opted, or redefined within the various traditions. Inventions of Teaching: A Genealogy is an essential text for senior undergraduate and graduate courses in curriculum studies and foundations of teaching and is highly relevant as well for students, faculty, and researchers across the field of education. (shrink)
The remarkable increase in diagnoses of autism has paralleled an increase in scientific research and turned the syndrome into a kind of a new ‘trend’ within psychiatric and developmental conditions of childhood. At the same time, discursive technologies, such as DSM-IV, autobiographies, movies, fiction, etc., together with ‘educational’ interventions, such as TEACCH, PECS, Makaton, etc., seem to anticipate a form of an apparatus built around the condition named autism. Starting from this premise, the article proposes a new approach within autism (...) studies, which treats the condition in Foucauldian terms and focuses on the emergence of the autistic subjectivity following Foucault's methodology of archaeology, genealogy, and modes of subjectification. (shrink)
This Nietzschesque “genealogy of morals” presents the Confucian virtue of xin (trust and true) so basic to friendship as a civic virtue rooted among social equals. Among non-equals, a servant has to prove his trustworthiness but not yet vice versa. The script 信 ( xin ) tells of living up to one’s words. Yanxing 言行 (speech and action) describes actively keeping a verbal promise. The Agrarian school endorses xin as the primary virtue in its utopia of virtual equals. It (...) knew oral trust and had no use for written covenants. In debating Mencius, Gaozi kept to that earlier primacy granted public speech as tied to one’s social reputation. Mencius turned inward and elevated mind as the inner good of moral intent instead. In the Doctrine of the Mean , inner xin would expand outward into becoming the ultimate truth, the sincerity of Heaven and Earth. The essay ends on an aside on the case of the Cretan Liar. (shrink)
The "sovereign individual" (hereafter, the SI) is almost universally held to be part of Nietzsche's positive ethical ideal.1 Focus on this isolated description at the start of the second essay of On the Genealogy of Morality results in a reconstruction of Nietzschean personhood and ethics based on the capacity to make and keep promises. For example, the SI has been used to understand us as "self-conscious beings capable of standing in autonomous ethical relations to ourselves" with a "fundamental duty" (...) to do so and with a duty to act ethically with regard to each other.2 Attempts to reconstruct a Nietzschean ethic based on the SI passage have resulted in uncharacteristically Kantian results, because of the .. (shrink)
Is it body or spirit that makes us appreciate beauty and create art? The distinguished Canadian critic Ekbert Faas argues that, with occasional exceptions like Montaigne and Mandeville, the mainstream of western thinking about beauty from Plato onwards has overemphasised the spirit, or even execrated the body and sexuality as inimical to the aesthetic disposition. The Genealogy of Aesthetics redresses this imbalance via a radical re-reading of seminal thinkers like Plato, Augustine, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Heidegger and Derrida. Professor Faas (...) attacks both the traditional and postmodern consensus, and offers a new pro-sensualist aesthetics, heavily influenced by Nietzsche, that draws on contemporary neo-Darwinian cognitive science. A work of both polemic and considerable learning, The Genealogy of Aesthetics marks a radical new departure in thinking about art, of interest to all serious students of the humanities and cognitive sciences, which no future work in this field can afford to ignore. (shrink)
Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morality (1887) is a forceful, perplexing, important book, radical in its own time and profoundly influential ever since. This introductory textbook offers a comprehensive, close reading of the entire work, with a section-by-section analysis that also aims to show how the Genealogy holds together as an integrated whole. The Genealogy is helpfully situated within Nietzsche's wider philosophy, and occasional interludes examine supplementary topics that further enhance the reader's understanding of the text. Two (...) chapters examine how the Genealogy relates to standard questions in moral and political philosophy. Written in a clear, accessible style, this book will appeal to students at every level coming to read the Genealogy for the first time, and a wider range of readers will also benefit from nuanced interpretations of controversial elements in Nietzsche's work. (shrink)
Beginning in the Southern Sung, one Confucian sect gradually came to dominate literati culture and, by the Ming dynasty, was canonized as state orthodoxy. This book is a historical and textual critique of the process by which claims to exclusive possession of the truth came to serve power. The author analyzes the formation of the Confucian canon and its role in the civil service examinations, the enshrinement of worthies in the Confucian temple, and the emergence of the Confucian anthology, activities (...) that canonized one conception of the Confucian tradition as orthodox by selecting among persons who shaped the tradition. This lineage became 'the genealogy of the way'. The author draws on contemporary cultural and literary theory to help situate Confucian anthologies in ritual, institutional, sectarian, and ideological contexts. (shrink)
The persistence of poverty is one of the great problems of our times. In this paper I want to show how we can use Michel Foucault’s work to recast thisproblem through a genealogy of the political rationality within which it appears. Foucault’s genealogies present us with at least three irreducible experiences of poverty: 1) the philosophical care of the self where poverty is a goal to be attained; 2) the religious sacralization of the poor and charity; and 3) the (...) bio-political project in which poverty is a social disease to be cured or purged or a resource to be exploited. Foucault offers us the hope of resisting the danger of bio-politics, the cynical logic that stigmatizes the poor for their poverty and places them in apparatuses that treat them like a social disease, a moral failure, or a subhuman form of life. (shrink)
I argue that Habermas’ critique of Nietzsche overlooks the similarities between his conception of an emancipatory social science and Nietzsche’s conception of genealogy. I conclude that it is necessary to disagree with Habermas’ contention that with Nietzsche the critique of modernity abandons its emancipatory content.
On the Genealogy of Morals (1887) is a book about interpretation and the history of ethics which raises profoundly disquieting issues about the violence of both. This is the most sustained of Nietzsche's later works and offers one of the fullest expressions of his characteristic concerns. The introduction places his ideas within the cultural context of his own time and stresses the relevance of his work for a contemporary audience.
Friedrich Nietzsche is one of the most influential thinkers of the past 150 years and On the Genealogy of Morality (1887) is his most important work on ethics and politics. A polemical contribution to moral and political theory, it offers a critique of moral values and traces the historical evolution of concepts such as guilt, conscience, responsibility, law and justice. This is a revised and updated edition of one of the most successful volumes to appear in Cambridge Texts in (...) the History of Political Thought. Keith Ansell-Pearson has modified his introduction to Nietzsche's classic text, and Carol Diethe has incorporated a number of changes to the translation itself, reflecting the considerable advances in our understanding of Nietzsche in the twelve years since this edition first appeared. In this new guise the Cambridge Texts edition of Nietzsche's Genealogy should continue to enjoy widespread adoption, at both undergraduate and graduate level. (shrink)
Both Immanuel Kant and Moses Maimonides wrote lengthy treatments of the biblical garden of Eden. For both philosophers the biblical story served as an opportunity to address the genealogy of morals. I argue here that the two treatments offer deep insights into their respective philosophical anthropologies, that is to say, into their assessments of the human person and of moral psychology. Contrary to much that has been written about Maimonides as a proto-Kantian, I expose the profoundly different and even (...) opposed conceptions of human nature and of reason at the heart of the respective philosophies. For Kant, the first exercise of reason in the garden is an act of rebellion that jettisons the human person from the womb of nature into a post-natural freedom. The repudiation of the natural is the beginning of an ethical life, according to Kant—a life to be dominated by respect for a human dignity beyond the natural. For Maimonides, in contrast, reason is a philosophical torah li-shma . Rational understanding is an understanding of the laws of a nature fecund with the presence of the divine. Exposing the reason inherent in nature is the only path to knowledge of God and whatever communion with the divine is available to human beings. Such knowledge transforms the heart as well as fills the mind, embedding the human person as moral actor in a God-filled universe. (shrink)
In trusting a speaker we adopt a credulous attitude, and this attitude is basic: it cannot be reduced to the belief that the speaker is trustworthy or reliable. However, like this belief, the attitude of trust provides a reason for accepting what a speaker says. Similarly, this reason can be good or bad; it is likewise epistemically evaluable. This paper aims to present these claims and offer a genealogical justification of them.
: For many years feminists have asserted an "intersection" between sex and race. This paper, drawing heavily on the work of Michel Foucault, offers a genealogical account of the two concepts showing how they developed together and in relation to similar political forces in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Thus it attempts to give a concrete meaning to the claim that sex and race are intersecting phenomena.
Michel Foucault's genealogies, due to their reliance on Nietzschean accounts of the violent origins of human culture, present a problematic description of the emergence of patterns of resistance and domination. By creating a parallel fiction of emergence that replaces Nietzschean originary violence with Richard Dawkins's account of the centrality of cultural transmission in human survival we can release emergence from the unitary Foucauldian drama. It is then possible to reconstruct Foucault's genealogies, anchoring the will to knowledge in an active agent (...) dedicated to the transgression of sociocultural limits. (shrink)
Despite its widely acknowledged importance in and beyond the thought of the Romantic period, the distinctive concept of the symbol articulated by such writers as Goethe and F. W. J. Schelling in Germany and S. T. Coleridge in England has defied adequate historical explanation. In contrast to previous scholarship, Nicholas Halmi's study provides such an explanation by relating the content of Romantic symbolist theory - often criticized as irrationalist - to the cultural needs of its time. Because its genealogical method (...) eschews a single disciplinary perspective, this study is able to examine the Romantic concept of the symbol in a broader intellectual context than previous scholarship, a context ranging chronologically from classical antiquity to the present and encompassing literary criticism and theory, aesthetics, semiotics, theology, metaphysics, natural philosophy, astronomy, poetry, and the origins of landscape painting. The concept is thus revealed to be a specifically modern response to modern discontents, neither reverting to pre-modern modes of thought nor secularizing Christian theology, but countering Enlightenment dualisms with means bequeathed by the Enlightenment itself. This book seeks, in short, to do for the Romantic symbol what Percy Bysshe Shelley called on poets to do for the world: to lift from it its veil of familiarity. (shrink)
The aim of the following paper is, firstly, to provide the reader with a brief exposition of the critical response offered by some current french feminists of the largely American, compensatory approach to feminist historiography. Secondly, I wish to show why the french feminist alternative itself provides an inadequate methodology for the resolution of the problems that it raises in its critique. Lastly, I shall suggest that the Wittgensteinian concept of ‘family resemblance’ contains the seeds of a plausible alternative to (...) either the compensatory or the french structuralist approach to feminist historiography. The upshot of this latter claim is that the historical subject may be most fruitfully conceived genealogically, that is, as the dynamic product of an inexhaustible complex of historical and contextual resemblances constructed on the behalf of a specific interpretational task. (shrink)
In The Grammar of Society , Bicchieri maintains that behavior in the Ultimatum game (and related economic games) depends on people’s allegiance to ‘social norms’. In this article, I follow Bicchieri in maintaining that an adequate account of people’s behavior in such games must make appeal to norms, including a norm of equal division; I depart from Bicchieri in maintaining that at least part of the population desires to follow such norms even when they do not expect others to follow (...) them. This generates a puzzle, however: why do norms of equal division have such cultural resilience? One possibility is that our natural emotional propensity for envy makes norms of equal division emotionally appealing. An alternative (but complementary) possibility is that deviations from a norm of equal division would naturally be interpreted as threats to status, which would facilitate the moralization of such norms. (shrink)
I have argued elsewhere that the psychological aspects of Nietzsche’s later works are best understood from a psychodynamic point of view. Nietzsche holds a view I dubbed the tenacity of the intentional (T): when an intentional state loses its object, a new object replaces the original; the state does not disappear entirely. In this essay I amend and clarify (T) to (T``): When an intentional state with a sub-propositional object loses its object, the affective component of the state persists without (...) a corresponding object, and that affect will generally be redeployed in a state with a distinct object. I then trace the development of the tenacity thesis through Nietzsche’s early and middle works. Along the way, I discuss a number of related topics, including the scope of the tenacity thesis (does it apply to all intentional states?), the reflexive turn one often finds in Nietzsche’s examples (why does he so often say the new object is oneself?), and the relations among will to power, drives, and the tenacity of the intentional. (shrink)
This paper defends a cognitive theory of those emotional reactions which motivate and constrain moral judgment. On this theory, moral emotions result from mental faculties specialized for automatically producing feelings of approval or disapproval in response to mental representations of various social situations and actions. These faculties are modules in Fodor's sense, since they are informationally encapsulated, specialized, and contain innate information about social situations. The paper also tries to shed light on which moral modules there are, which of these (...) modules we share with non-human primates, and on the (pre-)history and development of this modular system from pre-humans through gatherer-hunters and on to modern (i.e. arablist) humans. The theory is not, however, meant to explain all moral reasoning. It is plausible that a non-modular intelligence at least sometimes play a role in conscious moral thought. However, even non-modular moral reasoning is initiated and constrained by moral emotions having modular sources. (shrink)
This is a lightly edited version of my comments on Lecture 4 of Bob Brandom’s Locke Lectures, as repeated in Prague in April 2007. Recordings of the Prague lectures, including commentaries and discussions, are available here. The slides that accompanied my talk are available there.
Critical race theorists have done much in recent years to show that contrived and repressive notions of racial purity have been central to the social identity of whiteness in the US. Similarly, feminists know that contrived and repressive notions of sexual purity (that is, chastity) have been central to the social construction of femininity, especially white femininity. While it may be clear that these abstract purity ideals have privileged certain subjects over others, what is even more interesting, and less documented, (...) are the ways in which everyday purity ideals bite their own tails, that is, they undermine their professed purpose in concrete ways. Thus, even the "privileged" subjects suffer. Looking around, we .. (shrink)
This paper raises three questions: (1) Can Nietzsche provide a satisfactory account of how the slave revolt could have begun to "poison the consciences" of masters? (2) Does Nietzsche's affinity for "master values" preclude him from acknowledging claims of justice that rest upon a sense of equality among human beings? and (3) How does Nietzsche's story fare when looked on as (at least in part) an empirical hypothesis? The first question is answered in the affirmative, the second in the negative, (...) and the third with the verdict "quite well". Nietzsche's interpretation of Socrates is held to vindicate the affirmative answer to question one; his conception of nobility as spontaneously self-affirming to justify the negative answer to question two, and historical, anthropological and etymological evidence to support the favorable answer to question three. (shrink)
This is a comprehensive study of the English word 'or', and the logical operators variously proposed to present its meaning. Although there are indisputably disjunctive uses of or in English, it is a mistake to suppose that logical disjunction represents its core meaning. 'Or' is descended from the Anglo-Saxon word meaning second, a form which survives in such expressions as "every other day." Its disjunctive uses arise through metalinguistic applications of an intermediate adverbial meaning which is conjunctive rather than disjunctive (...) in character. These conjunctive uses have puzzled philosophers and logicians, and have been discussed extensively under such headings as "free choice permission." This study examines the textbook myths that have clouded our understanding of how or and other "logical" vocabulary comes to have something approaching its logical meaning in natural languages. It considers the various historical conceptions of disjunction and its place in logic from the Stoics to the present day. (shrink)
The status and respectability of alethic modality was always a point of contention and divergence between naturalism and empiricism. It poses no problems in principle for naturalism, since modal vocabulary is an integral part of all the candidate naturalistic base vocabularies. Fundamental physics is above all a language of laws; the special sciences distinguish between true and false counterfactual claims; and ordinary empirical talk is richly dispositional. By contrast, modality has been a stumbling-block for the empiricist tradition ever since Hume (...) forcefully formulated his epistemological and ultimately semantic objections to the concepts of law and necessary connection. (, Lecture , §). (shrink)
Various historians, philosophers, and social scientists have attempted to provide convincing explanations of the roots of violence, with mixed and confusing results. This book brings Kierkegaard's voice into this conversation in a powerful way, arguing that the Christian intellectual tradition offers the key philosophical tools needed for comprehending human pathology.
The general practice of tracing the concept of human rights back to its presumed philosophical origins in the concepts of natural law and/or natural right, and invoking those concepts to give the idea of human rights its moral direction and philosophical substance, is dramatically mistaken. Interpreting human rights as the philosophical progeny of these earlier traditions allows the uglier aspects of natural rights and natural law, which the concept of human rights was intended to remedy, to serve as the defining (...) characteristics of human rights. (shrink)
As Darwin notes, one essential element of a naturalistic account of the mind is a naturalistic account of morality.1 The essence of such an account of the mind is an explanation of how the mind came to be, and came to be what it is, in terms of resources already present in nature and without appeal to any supposed supernatural source. By analogy, a naturalistic account of morality aims to explain how morality came to be, and came to be what (...) it is, in terms of resources already present in nature. Already in the case of the mind but even more clearly in the case of morality, 'nature' in the relevant sense will have to include, at any stage of explanation, the given of human nature, human psychology, and human .. (shrink)