In Paul Katsafanas (ed.), Routledge Philosophical Minds: The Nietzschean Mind. Routledge (2018)

Alex Silk
University of Birmingham
Recent decades have witnessed a flurry of interest in Nietzsche's metaethics — his views, if any, on metaphysical, epistemological, semantic, and psychological issues about normativity and normative language and judgment. Various authors have highlighted a tension between Nietzsche's metaethical views about value and his ardent endorsement of a particular evaluative perspective: Although Nietzsche makes apparently "antirealist" claims to the effect that there are no evaluative facts, he vehemently engages in evaluative discourse and enjoins the "free spirits" to create values. Nearly every major type of metaethical "-ism" has been ascribed to Nietzsche in response. This chapter provides a critical introduction to Nietzsche's metaethics, focusing on matters concerning the nature and grounds of normativity. I begin by examining and raising challenges for Nadeem Hussain's prominent interpretation of Nietzsche as a revolutionary fictionalist. I argue that a constructivist interpretation (developed elsewhere) provides an improved account of the connections, for Nietzsche, between evaluative attitudes and the nature of value, and among practical nihilism, art, and value creation. Values, on this view, are treated as grounded purely in facts about creatures’ evaluative attitudes. The chapter concludes by considering several alternative subjectivist, constitutivist, and non-cognitivist interpretations. A nuanced understanding of the space of metaethical theories brings into relief a plausible normative and metanormative view that we can attribute to Nietzsche.
Keywords Nietzsche  metaethics  constructivism  constitutivism  nihilism  subjectivism  antirealism  non-cognitivism  Nietzsche's ethics  fictionalism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
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

Context.Robert Stalnaker - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
Essays in Quasi-Realism.Simon Blackburn - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
Thus Spoke Zarathustra.Friedrich Nietzsche - 1961 - New York: Viking Press.
The Sources of Normativity.Christine Korsgaard - 1999 - Philosophical Quarterly 49 (196):384-394.

View all 74 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Nietzschean Constructivism: Ethics and Metaethics for All and None.Alex Silk - 2015 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (3):244-280.
Nietzsche’s Metaethical Stance.Nadeem J. Z. Hussain - 2013 - In Ken Gemes & John Richardson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Nietzsche. Oxford University Press.
Nietzsche and Non-Cognitivism.Nadeem J. Z. Hussain - 2012 - In Simon Robertson & Christopher Janaway (eds.), Nietzsche, Naturalism & Normativity. Oxford University Press.
Honest Illusion: Valuing for Nietzsche's Free Spirits.Nadeem J. Z. Hussain - 2007 - In Brian Leiter & Neil Sinhababu (eds.), Nietzsche and Morality. Oxford University Press.
Problemi di metaetica nietzscheana.Paolo Stellino - 2015 - Rivista di Estetica 58:175-190.
Normativity for Nietzschean Free Spirits.Simon Robertson - 2011 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 54 (6):591-613.
Nietzsche on Objects.Justin Remhof - 2015 - Nietzsche-Studien 44 (1).


Added to PP index

Total views
793 ( #7,703 of 2,455,007 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
223 ( #2,174 of 2,455,007 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes