The Virtue of Shame: Defending Nietzsche’s critique of Mitleid

In Gudrun von Tevenar (ed.), Nietzsche and Ethics. Peter Lang Verlag (2007)


I argue that moral intuitions about Nietzsche as an exemplar of practical cruelty can be overturned. My argument is based upon the possibility of abandoning the notion of pure and unmediated passivity as intrinsic to the phenomena of human suffering and of Mitleid, as identified by Nietzsche. I claim that wrongly identifying intrinsic passivity in the phenomenology of Mitleid and of suffering generates the moral sceptical intuition. Once this case of mistaken identity is uncovered, 1 suggest, there is no reason to remain subject to the force of the intuition. I support my account with a fresh reading of 'The Ugliest Man', from Book IV of Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

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Rebecca Bamford
Queen's University, Belfast

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Citations of this work

The Functions of Shame in Nietzsche.Mark Alfano - forthcoming - In Raffaele Rodogno & Alessandra Fussi (eds.), The Moral Psychology of Shame. Rowman & Littlefield.
Nietzsche’s Theory of Empathy.Vasfi O. Özen - 2021 - Philosophical Papers 50 (1-2):235-280.

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