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  1. Robert Guay, APA Central, 25 April 2004.
    Mr. Meyer’s paper is worthy of our esteem for three reminders that it brings us: that tragedy endures as a significant category in Nietzsche’s thought; that the category of the tragic transcends the merely literary, and engages with Nietzsche’s fundamental philosophical interests; and that Nietzsche’s self-situation in the history of philosophy follows up on perhaps different thinkers than the standard historiography of philosophy would suggest. But there is also much here to disagree with, and I shall focus on four topics (...)
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  2. Robert Guay, Reviewed By.
    Nietzsche called his sister “llama,” a nickname which, according to her, derived from a description in a children’s biology book. Such a book in the Nietzsche-Archiv declares that “the llama, as a means of defense, squirts its spittle and half-digested fodder at its opponent.”1 Thus we see Nietzsche, as he does frequently in his writings, drawing on the semantic resources made available by the investigation of animal nature and using them to illuminate human character. The editors of A Nietzschean Bestiary (...)
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  3. Robert Guay, Surprised by Reason: Naturalism and Historical Agency in the Early Marx.
    This paper concerns Marx’s case, especially in the German Ideology, for the relative privilege of his own conception of history. I argue, against what I call the standard interpretation, that Marx’s case does not rest on an inversion of Young Hegelian “idealism”; against the “revisionist interpretation,” I argue that Marx nevertheless sustains a concern with the justificatory adequacy of his position. Marx’s argument, on my interpretation, is that an account of productive agency is a necessary constituent of any understanding of (...)
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  4. Robert Guay, “The Dream of Life: Time, Action, and Oneiric Naturalism”.
    As I preliminary to treating the topic of this paper, I offer two observations about the practice of interpreting Nietzsche. My first observation is that this practice is sometimes carried out at an unusually high level of generality. I think that much of what we concern ourselves with, both in our private musings and in our disputes with others, is not merely the analysis of positions or the reconstruction of arguments, but what kind of philosopher Nietzsche was, and thus what (...)
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  5. Robert Guay, Aesthetics of Appearing. By Martin Seel. Translated by John Farrell. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 2005. Pp. XIV + 238. £16.95. [REVIEW]
    One of the many virtues of Martin Seel’s Aesthetics of Appearing is that it lays its cards on the table at the very outset. The final three chapters consist in a series of complex digressions from the main discussion: one on the aesthetic significance of ‘resonating’(p. 139), one organized around the metaphysics of pictures, and one charged with defending the implausible claim that the artistic representation of violence is uniquely capable of revealing ‘what is violent about violence’ (p. 191). But (...)
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  6. Robert Guay, Forms of Consequentialism. Copyright ©2003.
    In consequentialist theories, the good is usually defined in non-moral terms (i.e., as that which persons in fact like, desire, seek out, enjoy), and the right is characterized in terms of maximizing the good. The good is usually defined “impartially,” that is, as the good for everyone rather than for an individual. But this need not be the case: as we see with Bentham, the good that the individual (as opposed to the legislator) is concerned with is his or her (...)
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  7. Robert Guay, Genealogy as Immanent Critique: Working From the Inside.
    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 (...)
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  8. Robert Guay, “Historicity and Narrativity in Nietzsche”.
    This paper identifies and explains three of the philosophically substantial senses in which Nietzsche writes of the historical character of things and argues that, according to Nietzsche, recognizing these three distinct senses is necessary to understand subjectivity. I refer to these three senses as “general historicity,” “special historicity,” and “narrativity.” According to general historicity, history is the continuity of powerful transindividual processes that shape or determine present conditions or events. According to special historicity, certain things are constituted by meanings only (...)
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  9. Robert Guay, “How to Be an Immoralist”.
    Nietzsche occasionally referred to his substantive ethical position as “immoralism,”1 but gave only a vague impression of just what this position amounts to. The strategy of this paper will be to determine how to be an immoralist by identifying what is affirmed in Nietzsche’s negation of morality. That is, I wish to consider aspects of the critique of morality not to show that morality is wrong – that is not my goal here – but to identify what Nietzsche’s substantive ethical (...)
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  10. Robert Guay, I. [Prefatory Remarks].
    The idea of deliberative democracy, together with its associated norm of public reason, forms a model of the legitimacy of constitutional regimes in pluralist societies. Where there are great and fundamental differences in value commitments, and coercive institutions are called upon to regulate the basic forms of social life, democratic deliberation both respects the diversity of commitment and produces policies that can command the assent of free persons. This in turn supports a shared political culture based on equality and respect.
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  11. Robert Guay, On the Genealogy of Morals.
    1. We are unknown to ourselves, we knowing ones, we to our own selves, and for a good reason. We have never sought ourselves – so how could it happen, that one day we would find ourselves? Someone once correctly said: “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”;1 our treasure is where the beehives of our knowledge are. We are always on the way to finding it; as winged creatures and honey-gatherers of the spirit, we truly care (...)
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  12. Robert Guay, On the Genealogy of Morals a Not-so-Brief Analysis of the PHE Excerpt.
    “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 (...)
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  13. Robert Guay, “Paradoxes of Culture”.
    In this paper I argue that a basic problem in philosophical discussions of culture is what I call the “integration problem”: the need to provide an account of how distinctive considerations of culture can be integrated within practical deliberation in general. I then show how the failure to resolve this problem generates three paradoxes, which I call the “cosmopolitan paradox,” the “inclusion paradox,” and the “representation paradox.” I argue that these paradoxes arise from a common source, the attempt to separate (...)
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  14. Robert Guay, Rguay@Binghamton.Edu.
    Nietzsche, I once read, used to have nightmares about not being able to speak. My son has nightmares about tornadoes. I have nightmares about issues that can only be resolved by appeal to Hegel’s speculative logic. Stephen Snyder might indeed present us with several such issues, but fortunately his presentation is complex enough that I should be able to distract you by focusing on other things. First, let me review what I take to me the structure of Snyder’s argument. Snyder’s (...)
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  15. Robert Guay, Schelling and Graphocentrism.
    One project of philosophical research which would likely prove of little profit is a history of philosophy the epochs of which are the greatest philosophical jokes. Although philosophers have always said innumerable funny things, notable sources of humor have been few and far between: Socrates, though not Plato, Nietzsche, though not Zarathustra, and more recently perhaps Bernard Williams or Jacques Derrida. The most a scholar can usually hope for is a clever barb punctuating pages of deathly earnestness. Such is the (...)
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  16. Robert Guay, Study Guide – Sappho.
    The poetry of Sappho is the only example of lyric poetry that we shall examine this semester. Lyric poetry repays close attention: do not skim over the verses looking for the main characters and events. You will finish reading quickly, and get nothing out of it at all. Instead, listen to it carefully and repeatedly, until its music becomes apparent to you, and you can assume the perspective (imaginatively, of course) of its speaker.
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  17. Robert Guay, Teleology and Deontology, Etc. Copyright ©2003.
    One can reasonably ask whether or not there is any distinct domain of the ethical. That is, one might wonder whether ethical issues are distinct from, for example, prudential or aesthetic ones, perhaps by invoking duty or obligation or a specific kind of value. But that question, at least for now, is outside the scope of our discussion. For now, we’ll assume that there are such things as ethical questions and that you recognize them when you see them.
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  18. Robert Guay, The Gospel According to Bob.
    With Matthew we have an unusual opportunity. The text is in a sense very welcoming. Even among those who have no experience of it as a liturgical text, names and phrases are familiar; no one stumbles over the pronunciation of “Pharisee,” etc. – at least not with the frequency that “Agamemnon” and “Thucydides” are passed over. Even the parables, which as parables should be mysterious, do not alienate the students: it is already acknowledged that the text is one that demands (...)
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  19. Robert Guay, The Philosophical Function of Genealogy.
    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. (...)
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  20. Robert Guay, The Tragic as an Ethical Category Robert Guay.
    I. Introduction This paper aims to explain Nietzsche’s understanding of tragedy, and in particular his self-characterization as the “tragic philosopher.” What I shall claim is that, according to Nietzsche, to recognize the self-determining or self-creating character of our agency is to reveal it as tragic. Tragedy accordingly illuminates the most fundamental issue in Nietzsche’s mature philosophy: the possibility of affirmation.
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  21. Robert Guay, Paradoxes of Culture.
    In this paper I argue that a basic problem in philosophical discussions of culture is what I call the “integration problem”: the need to provide an account of how distinctive considerations of culture can be integrated within practical deliberation in general. I then show how the failure to resolve this problem generates three paradoxes, which I call the “cosmopolitan paradox,” the “inclusion paradox,” and the “representation paradox.” I argue that these paradoxes arise from a common source, the attempt to separate (...)
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  22. Robert Guay (2013). Friedrich Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography, by Julian Young. [REVIEW] European Journal of Philosophy 21 (S1):E17--E21.
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  23. Robert Guay (2013). Friedrich Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography, by Julian Young. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010, Xvi + 649 Pp. ISBN: 978‐0‐521‐87117‐4 Hb £30.00. [REVIEW] European Journal of Philosophy 21 (S1):17-21.
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  24. Christa Davis Acampora, Joe Ward, Robert Guay, Robbie Duschinsky, Stanley Rosen & Tom Stern (2011). 3.“Zarathustra Is Dead, Long Live Zarathustra!”“Zarathustra Is Dead, Long Live Zarathustra!”(Pp. 83-93). Journal of Nietzsche Studies 41 (1).
     
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  25. Robert Guay (2011). Genealogy and Irony. Journal of Nietzsche Studies 41 (1):26-49.
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  26. Robert Guay (2010). Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals: A Reader's Guide. [REVIEW] Journal of Nietzsche Studies 40:96-100.
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  27. Christa Davis Acampora, Daniel Conway, Robert Guay, Lawrence Hatab & Tracy Strong Still (2009). Autonomy, Self-Respect, and Self-Love: Nietzsche on Ethical Agency1. In Ken Gemes & Simon May (eds.), Nietzsche on Freedom and Autonomy. Oxford University Press.
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  28. Robert Guay (2009). Nietzsche, Contingency, and the Vacuity of Politics. In Jeffrey A. Metzger (ed.), Nietzsche, Nihilism, and the Philosophy of the Future. Continuum.
    Nietzsche’s self-proclaimed ‘anti-political’(EH ‘wise’ 3; cf. TI 8.4) stance is often ignored.1 Commentators, that is, often interpret Nietzsche’s texts as responding to familiar issues within political philosophy, and as furnishing a novel position therein. This could indeed be the appropriate hermeneutic response. Dismissing one of Nietzsche’s proclamations is, on a variety of different grounds, hermeneutically reasonable. In this particular case, given all that Nietzsche has to say about sociality and the roles of public institutions in modern life, dismissal might even (...)
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  29. Robert Guay (2009). Review of Robert Wicks, Schopenhauer. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2009 (1).
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  30. Robert Guay (2007). Transcendental Elitism. International Studies in Philosophy 39 (3):163-177.
    Even popular caricatures of philosophers serve important philosophical functions. By coordinating personae with ideas, they facilitate conversations involving matters that we would otherwise neglect. But one function they do not serve is generating consistency. And indeed, Nietzsche serves for us as both the transgressor of all boundaries and unmasker of all pretensions, and at the same time as the ultimate elitist who is available to us in modern culture. There are, of course, ways to reconcile these: perhaps anti-elitism is the (...)
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  31. Robert Guay (2006). The 'I's Have It: Nietzsche on Subjectivity. Inquiry 49 (3):218 – 241.
    This paper identifies recent attributions to Nietzsche of skeptical arguments about the subject in its theoretical and practical capacities and argues that they are wrong. Although Nietzsche does criticize the picture of the subject as a unity that exerts influence in the world from outside it, he does so in order to replace it with a richer, more complex model of subjectivity. The skeptical arguments attributed to Nietzsche attempt to assimilate features of subjectivity to some alternative, purportedly more familiar explanatory (...)
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  32. Robert Guay (2006). The Tragic as an Ethical Category. Philosophy and Literature 30 (2):555-561.
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  33. Robert Guay (2006). Virtue Ethics: A Pluralistic View (Review). Journal of Nietzsche Studies 31 (1):75-77.
  34. Robert Guay (2005). Our Virtues. Philosophical Topics 33 (2):71-87.
    Perhaps anticipating that no one would pay attention to his chapter titles anyway,1 Nietzsche titled the seventh chapter of Beyond Good and Evil “Our Virtues.” I draw attention to this because, given that the first line of the chapter is the question, “Our virtues?”,2 the title immediately generates a puzzle.3 There might not be any subject matter for this chapter – unlike, say, “On the Prejudices of Philosophers,” but possibly more like “What is Noble” – leaving us to wonder what (...)
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  35. Robert Guay (2005). A Refutation of Consequentialism. Metaphilosophy 36 (3):348-362.
    The thesis of this paper is that consequentialism does not work as a comprehensive theory of right action. This paper does not offer a typical refutation, in that I do not claim that consequentialism is self-contradictory. One can with perfect consistency claim that the good is prior to the right and that the right consists in maximizing the good. What I claim, however, is that it is senseless to make such a claim. In particular, I attempt to show that the (...)
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  36. Robert Guay (2005). John Kekes, The Art of Life:The Art of Life. Ethics 115 (4):829-831.
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  37. Robert Guay (2004). Review of Christa Davis Acampora (Ed.), Ralph R. Acampora (Ed.), A Nietzschean Bestiary: Becoming Animal Beyond Docile and Brutal. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2004 (7).
    means of defense, squirts its spittle and half-digested fodder at its opponent.”1 Thus we see Nietzsche, as he does frequently in his writings, drawing on the semantic resources made available by the investigation of animal nature and using them to illuminate human character. The editors of . Nietzschean Bestiary had the superlative idea to advance the progression from zoology to anthropology one step further: starting from Nietzsche’s myriad trope of animality, to construct a philosophical bestiary that illuminates not only the (...)
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  38. Robert Guay (2002). Nietzsche on Freedom. European Journal of Philosophy 10 (3):302–327.
    One of the very few matters of nearly universal agreement with respect to Nietzsche interpretation, one that bridges the great analytic/continental divide, is that Nietzsche was offering some sort of account of freedom, in contradistinction to the ‘ascetic’ or ‘slavish’ ways of the past. What remains in dispute is the character of this account. In this paper I present Nietzsche’s account of freedom and his arguments for the superior cogency of that account relative to other accounts of freedom, including irony (...)
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  39. Robert Guay, “So Many Formulas”: The Relations Among the Formulas of the Categorical Imperative.
    Kant, having identified the formulas of the supreme principle of morality, offers a succinct explanation of their interrelation. What Kant says is, “The above three ways of representing the principle of morality are at bottom only so many formulae of the very same law, and any one of them of itself unites the other two in it.”1 This claim – hereafter the “Unity Claim” – plays the role of the eccentric cousin in the family of Kant’s ethics: although glaringly present, (...)
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