A Nietzschean Critique of Obligation-Centred Moral Theory

The focal objection of Nietzsche's critique of morality is that morality is disvaluable because antagonistic to the highest forms of human excellence. Recent advances in Nietzsche commentary have done much to unpack this objection - an objection which, at first blush, shares certain affinities with worries developed by a number of more recent morality critics. Some, though, have sought to disassociate Nietzsche from these more recent critics, claiming that his critique is directed mainly against moralized culture and that it cannot be successfully reapplied to moral theory. The aim of this paper is to show that there is a viable Nietzschean objection to obligation-centred moral theory - and, in particular, to those undermanding versions that resist the more recent morality critics' worries. The paper develops two sets of arguments, according to which (respectively) complying with an undemanding moral theory is both inimical to and incompatible with realizing Nietzschean excellence. Thus, even undemanding moral theories generate the effects to which Nietzsche objects
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DOI 10.1080/09672559.2011.600772
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Susan Wolf (1982). Moral Saints. Journal of Philosophy 79 (8):419-439.

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