Elements of Noncognitivism in Nietzsche's Metaethics and Epistemology

Dissertation, Yale University (1990)
The dissertation is an account of Nietzsche's denial of cognitive objectivity, that is, his denial that there can be such a thing as a true judgment. I claim that plausible arguments for denying cognitive objectivity can be found in Nietzsche, but only after some strong analogies between this denial and traditional arguments against evaluative objectivity are made apparent. Judgments of value are not considered objective because they are motivational, that is, because making an evaluative judgment is necessarily connected with having motivating reasons for action. I examine two forms such a denial can take, the error theory in which judgments of value are considered cognitive but false, and noncognitivism, in which they are not considered cognitive at all, and so neither true nor false. Both the error theory and non-cognitivism occur in Nietzsche's own denials of evaluative objectivity. ;I claim that Nietzsche argued against cognitive objectivity because he considered all judgments to be motivational. Nietzsche is only able to do so, however, on the basis of a radical critique of the possibility of normativity or normative constraint. This critique plays a crucial role in Nietzsche's philosophy of mind. Such a critique puts into doubt the traditional picture of intentional action, in which a sharp distinction is drawn between cognitive and affective contributions to such action. ;Because Nietzsche argues all judgments are motivational, his epistemology bears a strong resemblance to both the error theory and non-cognitivism. But because Nietzsche's critique of normative constraint amounts to a denial of the existence of cognition, the elements of non-cognitivism in Nietzsche's epistemology are more fundamental than those of the error theory. I explain how Nietzsche's ontology of the will to power can be seen as following from his non-cognitivism, but suggest that Nietzsche's epistemology bears the greatest affinity to naturalism
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,122
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Nietzsche and Non-Cognitivism.Nadeem J. Z. Hussain - 2012 - In Simon Robertson & Christopher Janaway (eds.), Nietzsche, Naturalism & Normativity. Oxford University Press.
Nietzsche's Sting and the Possibility of Good Philology.Kenneth R. Westphal - 1984 - International Studies in Philosophy 16 (2):71-90.
Nietzsche and Kant on the Will: Two Models of Reflective Agency.Paul Katsafanas - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):185-216.
Nietzsche and Moral Objectivity : The Development of Nietzsche's Metaethics.Maudemarie Clark & David Dudrick - 2007 - In Brian Leiter & Neil Sinhababu (eds.), Nietzsche and Morality. Oxford University Press. pp. 192--226.
Nietzsche and Equality.James Wilson - 2007 - In Gudrun von Tevenar (ed.), Nietzsche and Ethics. Peter Lang.
Nietzsche’s Aesthetic Critique of Darwin.Charles H. Pence - 2011 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 33 (2):165-190.
Nietzsche's Denial of Opposites.Steven D. Weiss - 1996 - Journal of Philosophical Research 21:261-305.
Nietzsche's Theory of the Will.Brian Leiter - 2007 - Philosophers' Imprint 7:1-15.
Added to PP index

Total downloads

Recent downloads (6 months)

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.
My notes
Sign in to use this feature