Selfing Nietzsche

Dissertation, Emory University (2004)

James Holbrook
Georgia Institute of Technology
In Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry Alasdair MacIntyre issues a direct challenge to anyone who purports to defend a Nietzschean view of moral enquiry. My dissertation answers that challenge. In chapter 1, I establish the terms of the debate: I lay out MacIntyre's account of the Nietzschean and post-Nietzschean genealogical project of moral enquiry and his critique of that project. I argue that Maclntyre's critique of the genealogical project rests on an illegitimate connection between Nietzsche and Foucault. ;MacIntyre holds that unless Foucault's efforts to carry on the genealogical project succeed, the genealogical project as a whole fails. He then argues that Foucault's efforts fail. In chapter 2, I argue that the Nietzschean and Foucauldian approaches to genealogy are substantially different. Yet, insofar as MacIntyre's critique of the project depends on his critique of Foucault, and insofar as Foucauldian and Nietzschean genealogy are different, MacIntyre's critique fails to defeat Nietzsche. ;MacIntyre's charge against Foucault is directed at Foucault's notion of the self: he argues that, lacking a coherent notion of the self, the genealogical project is not sustainable. In chapter 3, I give an account of the Nietzschean view of the self, a view that escapes MacIntyre's critique of Foucault. ;In chapter 4, I offer an alternative to MacIntyre's Foucauldian reading of Nietzsche. My reading focuses on the way in which Nietzsche confronts moral enquiry as a profoundly personal problem. Whereas chapter 2 deals with Nietzsche's use of genealogy as a method of moral enquiry, chapter 4 deals primarily with the approach Nietzsche outlines in Beyond Good and Evil and Ecce Homo. I conclude with the suggestion that, in place of Michel Foucault, MacIntyre might find Georges Bataille a more fittingly Nietzschean opponent
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