Christopher Janaway
University of Southampton
In On What Matters, Derek Parfit argues that Nietzsche does not disagree with central normative beliefs that ‘we’ hold. Such disagreement would threaten Parfit’s claim that normative beliefs are known by intuition. However, Nietzsche defends a conception of well-being that challenges Parfit’s normative claim that suffering is bad in itself for the sufferer. Nietzsche recognizes the phenomenon of ‘growth through suffering’ as essential to well-being. Hence, removal of all suffering would lead to diminished well-being. Parfit claims that if Nietzsche understood normative concepts in Parfit’s objectivist sense, he would not disagree with the claim that suffering is bad in itself – that intrinsic facts about suffering count in favour of our not wanting it. I argue that Nietzsche would disagree. Suffering for Nietzsche is not merely instrumentally necessary for psychological growth, nor is it easy to construe it as something bad in itself that contributes value as part of a good whole. Suffering that can be given meaning through growth is something we have reason to want. Suffering that remains brute and uninterpreted is something we have reason not to want. But for Nietzsche, suffering as such has no invariant value across all contexts.
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DOI 10.1080/0020174X.2016.1251165
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References found in this work BETA

On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
The Emotional Construction of Morals.Jesse Prinz - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Nietzsche, Genealogy, History.Michel Foucault - 1978 - In John Richardson & Brian Leiter (eds.), Nietzsche. Oxford University Press. pp. (139-164).
Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785/2002 - Oxford University Press.

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Suffering and the Primacy of Virtue.Simon P. James - 2019 - Analysis 79 (4):605-613.
Friedrich Nietzsche.Robert Wicks - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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