Analysis 69 (4):704-713 (2009)
AbstractJesse Prinz’s The Emotional Construction of Morals is among the most significant of illuminations of human morality to appear in recent years. This embarrassment of riches presents the space-starved commentator with a dilemma: survey the book’s extraordinary sweep, and slight the textured argumentation, or engage a fraction of the argumentation, and slight the sweep. I’ll fall on the second horn, and focus mostly on Chapter 7, ‘The Genealogy of Morals’. Like Prinz , 1 I think that genealogical arguments have not, despite their frequent appearance, received enough self-conscious discussion in ethical theorizing; I’ll try to extend Prinz’s amelioration of this neglect, by making some recurring themes explicit. In so doing, I indulge myself in a bit of therapy. I’ve always regarded genealogical arguments with certain ambivalence: genealogies frequently make a beguiling first impression, but just as often, when one gets to know them, their appeal turns out to be superficial. In articulating the contrasting uses to which genealogical arguments might be put, I hope to distinguish uses that deliver real substance from uses where the promise is not realized in the practice.Genealogical arguments are indelibly associated with Nietzsche, so it is unsurprising that Prinz in this chapter parts company with Hume, his usual muse, 2 and takes up, somewhat ambivalently , a Nietzschean torch. I won’t fret the historical details, nor will I trouble myself over where Nietzsche ends and Prinz begins; I’ll simply raise some general issues about genealogy and ethics. 3The Nietzschean insight, according to Prinz , is that ‘the values we currently cherish have a history’ and this history ‘may not be pretty’. Notoriously, Nietzsche was a bit grumpy about Christianity, and he supposed that tracing morality through the dark and labyrinthine history of the Church would unmask the attendant values …
Similar books and articles
The Genealogy of Morals and Right Reading: On the Nietzschean Aphorism and the Art of the Polemic.Babette Babich - 2006 - In Christa Acampora (ed.), Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals: Critical Essays. Lanham, MD 20706, USA: pp. 177-190.
The Emotional Construction of Morals * by Jesse Prinz * Oxford University Press, 2007. XII + 334 Pp. 25.00: Summary. [REVIEW]J. Prinz - 2009 - Analysis 69 (4):701-704.
On the Genealogy of Morals: A Polemic. By Way of Clarification and Supplement to My Last Book Beyond Good and Evil.Friedrich Nietzsche - 1996 - Oxford ;Oxford University Press.
Jesse Prinz, The Emotional Construction of Morals (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007): Prinz's Subjectivist Moral Realism1.David Copp - 2011 - Noûs 45 (3):577-594.
The Emotional Construction of Morals • by Jesse Prinz: Summary.Jesse Prinz - 2009 - Analysis 69 (4):701-704.
Critical Review: The Emotional Construction of Morals.Erick Ramirez - 2013 - Philosophical Psychology 26 (3):461-475.
Understanding Genealogy: History, Power, and the Self.Martin Saar - 2008 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 2 (3):295-314.
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
Citations of this work
Attitudes to Suffering: Parfit and Nietzsche.Christopher Janaway - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (1-2):66-95.
Review of The Social Psychology of Morality. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2016 - Metapsychology Online 20 (48):1-8.
References found in this work
Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of the Emotions.Jesse J. Prinz - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
Lack of Character: Personality and Moral Behavior.John M. Doris - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.