Nietzsche’s Pragmatic Genealogy of Justice

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (4):727-749 (2017)
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This paper analyses the connection between Nietzsche’s early employment of the genealogical method and contemporary neo-pragmatism. The paper has two goals. On the one hand, by viewing Nietzsche’s writings in the light of neo-pragmatist ideas and reconstructing his approach to justice as a pragmatic genealogy, it seeks to bring out an under-appreciated aspect of his genealogical method which illustrates how genealogy can be used to vindicate rather than to subvert, and accounts for Nietzsche’s lack of historical references. On the other hand, by highlighting what Nietzsche has to offer neo-pragmatism, it seeks to contribute to neo-pragmatism’s conception of genealogy. The paper argues that Nietzsche and the neo-pragmatists share a naturalistic concern and a pragmatist strategy in responding to it. The paper then shows that Nietzsche avoids a reductive form of functionalism by introducing a temporal axis, but that this axis should be understood as a developmental model rather than as historical time. This explains Nietzsche’s failure to engage with history. The paper concludes that pragmatic genealogy can claim a genuinely Nietzschean pedigree.

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Matthieu Queloz
University of Bern

References found in this work

A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
The Selfish Gene. [REVIEW]Gunther S. Stent & Richard Dawkins - 1977 - Hastings Center Report 7 (6):33.
Articulating Reasons: An Introduction to Inferentialism.Robert Brandom - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (206):123-125.
Nietzsche.John Richardson & Brian Leiter (eds.) - 2001 - Oxford University Press.

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