Kant, Nietzsche, and the moral agent

Abstract
This thesis examines Kant's and Nietzsche's treatments of the moral agent. It argues for three broad conclusions. Firstly, it argues that, although Nietzsche's explicit criticisms of Kant's conception of the moral agent can be understood only in the context of Nietzsche's broader moral philosophy, neither these criticisms nor their context are well understood by the prevailing literature. The thesis thus engages with existing scholarship on the nature of Nietzsche's moral philosophy and with the scanty literature on the relationship between Kant's and Nietzsche's moral philosophies. Secondly, the thesis argues that Kant's conception of the moral agent is not undermined by the criticisms which Nietzsche explicitly levels at it, or, indeed, by others which are commonly made in Nietzsche's name. In doing so, the thesis combines original interpretations of Kant with elements of recent Kant scholarship. Finally, however, the thesis argues that neglected elements of Nietzsche's own moral philosophy provide for a more sophisticated, telling, and, indeed, original critical engagement with Kant's conception of the moral agent is not undermined by the criticisms which Nietzsche explicitly levels at it, or, indeed, by others which are commonly made in Nietzsche's name. In doing so, the thesis combines original interpretations of Kant with elements of recent Kant scholarship. Finally, however, the thesis argues that neglected elements of Nietzsche's own moral philosophy provide for a more sophisticated, telling, and, indeed, original critical engagement with Kant's conception of the moral agent. Thus the thesis defends an original interpretation of Nietzsche's moral philosophy and its critical relation to Kant's, and demonstrates the pertinence of a certain neglected critical approach to Kant's conception of the moral agent. On the basis of these conclusions, the thesis ultimately defends a conception of the moral agent which, although Kantian, owes something to both Kant and Nietzsche
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