Both an introduction to Nietzsche’s moral philosophy, and a sustained commentary on his most famous work, _On the Genealogy of Morality_, this book has become the most widely used and debated secondary source on these topics over the past dozen years. Many of Nietzsche’s most famous ideas - the "slave revolt" in morals, the attack on free will, perspectivism, "will to power" and the "ascetic ideal" - are clearly analyzed and explained. The first edition established the centrality of naturalism to (...) Nietzsche’s philosophy, generating a substantial scholarly literature to which Leiter responds in an important new Postscript. In addition, Leiter has revised and refreshed the book throughout, taking into account new scholarly literature, and revising or clarifying his treatment of such topics as the objectivity of value, epiphenomenalism and consciousness, and the possibility of "autonomous" agency. (shrink)
Both an introduction to Nietzsche’s moral philosophy, and a sustained commentary on his most famous work, On the Genealogy of Morality, this book has become the most widely used and debated secondary source on these topics over the past dozen years. Many of Nietzsche’s most famous ideas - the "slave revolt" in morals, the attack on free will, perspectivism, "will to power" and the "ascetic ideal" - are clearly analyzed and explained. The first edition established the centrality of naturalism to (...) Nietzsche’s philosophy, generating a substantial scholarly literature to which Leiter responds in an important new Postscript. In addition, Leiter has revised and refreshed the book throughout, taking into account new scholarly literature, and revising or clarifying his treatment of such topics as the objectivity of value, epiphenomenalism and consciousness, and the possibility of "autonomous" agency. (shrink)
General jurisprudence-that branch of legal philosophy concerned with the nature of law and adjudication-has been relatively unaffected by the "naturalistic" strains so evident, for example, in the epistemology, philosophy of mind and moral philosophy of the past forty years. This paper sketches three ways in which naturalism might affect jurisprudential inquiry. The paper serves as a kind of precis of the main themes in my book NATURALIZING JURISPRUDENCE: ESSAYS ON AMERICAN LEGAL REALISM AND NATURALISM IN LEGAL PHILOSOPHY (Oxford University Press, (...) 2007). (shrink)
Introduction: From legal realism to naturalized jurisprudence -- A note on legal indeterminacy -- Part I. American legal realism and its critics -- Rethinking legal realism: toward a naturalized jurisprudence (1997) -- Legal realism and legal positivism reconsidered (2001) -- Is there an "American" jurisprudence? (1997) -- Postscript to Part I: Interpreting legal realism -- Part II. Ways of naturalizing jurisprudence -- Legal realism, hard positivism, and the limits of conceptual analysis (1998, 2001) -- Why Quine is not a postmodernist (...) (1997) -- Beyond the Hart/Dworkin debate: the methodology problem in jurisprudence (2003) -- Part III. Naturalism, morality, and objectivity -- Moral facts and best explanations (2001) -- Objectivity, morality, and adjudication (2001) -- Law and objectivity (2002). (shrink)
Shapiro has recently argued that Dworkin posed a new objection to legal positivism in Law's Empire, to which positivists, he says, have not adequately responded. Positivists, the objection goes, have no satisfactory account of what Dworkin calls “theoretical disagreement” about law, that is, disagreement about “the grounds of law” or what positivists would call the criteria of legal validity. I agree with Shapiro that the critique is new, and disagree that it has not been met. Positivism can not offer an (...) explanation that preserves the “face value” of theoretical disagreements, because the only intelligible dispute about the criteria of legal validity is an empirical or “head count” dispute, i.e., a dispute about what judges are doing, and how many of them are doing it. Positivism, however, has two other explanations for theoretical disagreement, which “explain away” rather than preserve the “face value” disagreement. According to positivists, either theoretical disagreements are disingenuous, in the sense that the parties, consciously or unconsciously, are really trying to change the law, that is, they are trying to say, as Dworkin puts it, “what it should be” not “what the law is”; or they are simply in error, that is, they honestly think there is a fact of the matter about what the grounds of law are, and thus what the law is, in the context of their disagreement, but they are mistaken, because, in truth, there is no fact of the matter about the grounds of law in this instance precisely because there is no convergent practice of behavior among officials constituting a Rule of Recognition on this point. The “Disingenuity” and “Error Theory” accounts of theoretical disagreement are explored, with attention to the theoretical desiderata at stake in choosing between competing explanatory theories. Particular attention is given to the best explanation for Riggs v. Palmer in light of the actual historical context of the decision and other opinions by the Riggs judges in contemporaneous cases. (shrink)
Where does philosophy, the oldest academic subject, stand at the beginning of the new millennium? This remarkable volume brings together leading figures from most major branches of the discipline to offer answers. What remains of the "linguistic turn" in twentieth-century philosophy? How should moral philosophy respond to and incorporate developments in empirical psychology? Where might Continental and Anglophone feminist theory profitably interact? How has our understanding of ancient philosophy been affected by the emergence of analytic philosophy? Where does the mind-body (...) problem stand today? What role must value judgments play in science? Do Marx, Nietzsche, or Freud matter in the 21st century? These and many other questions at the cutting edge of the discipline are addressed by distinguished philosophers from Australia, Britain, Canada, and the United States. They aim not only to stimulate philosophical debate, but to introduce those in cognate disciplines--biology, classics, economics, history, law, linguistics, literary studies, mathematics, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, among others--to what is happening in contemporary philosophy. In a substantial introduction, the editor gives an overview of the state of philosophy today and helps orient non-philosophers. List of Contributors Julia Annas: Ancient Philosophy for the Twenty-First Century Don Garrett: Philosophy and History in the History of Modern Philosophy Brian Leiter: The Hermeneutics of Suspicion: Recovering Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud Timothy Williamson: Past the Linguistic Turn? Jaegwon Kim: The Mind-Body Problem at Century's Turn David J. Chalmers: The Representational Character of Experience Alvin I. Goldman: The Need for Social Epistemology Philip Kitcher: The Ends of the Sciences Nancy Cartwright: From Causation to Explanation and Back Thomas Hurka: Normative Ethics: Back to the Future Peter Railton: Toward an Ethics that Inhabits the World Rae Langton: Projection and Objectification Philip Pettit: Existentialism, Quietism, and the Role of Philosophy. (shrink)
Contemporary moral psychology has been dominated by two broad traditions, one usually associated with Aristotle, the other with Kant. The broadly Aristotelian approach emphasizes the role of childhood upbringing in the development of good moral character, and the role of such character in ethical behavior. The broadly Kantian approach emphasizes the role of freely chosen conscious moral principles in ethical behavior. We review a growing body of experimental evidence that suggests that both of these approaches are predicated on an implausible (...) view of human psychology. This evidence suggests that both childhood upbringing and conscious moral principles have extraordinarily little impact on people's moral behavior. This paper argues that moral psychology needs to take seriously a third approach, derived from Nietzsche. This approach emphasizes the role of heritable psychological and physiological traits in explaining behavior. In particular, it claims that differences in the degree to which different individuals behave morally can often be traced back to heritable differences between those individuals. We show that this third approach enjoys considerable empirical support - indeed that it is far better supported by the empirical data than are either the Aristotelian or Kantian traditions in moral psychology. (shrink)
Do moral properties figure in the best explanatory account of the world? According to a popular realist argument, if they do, then they earn their ontological rights, for only properties that figure in the best explanation of experience are real properties. Although this realist strategy has been widely influential—not just in metaethics, but also in philosophy of mind and philosophy of science—no one has actually made the case that moral realism requires: namely, that moral facts really will figure in the (...) best explanatory picture of the world. This issue may have been neglected in part because the influential dialectic on moral explanations between philosophers Gilbert Harman and Nicholas Sturgeon has focused debate on whether moral facts figure in relevant explanations. Yet as others have noted, explanatory relevance is irrelevant when it comes to realism: after all, according to the popular realist argument, it is inference to the best explanation of experience that is supposed to confer ontological rights. I propose to ask, then, the relevant question about moral explanations: should we think that moral properties will figure in the best explanatory account of the world? (shrink)
The essay offers a philosophical reconstruction of Nietzsche’s theory of the will, focusing on (1) Nietzsche’s account of the phenomenology of “willing” an action, the experience we have which leads us (causally) to conceive of ourselves as exercising our will; (2) Nietzsche’s arguments that the experiences picked out by the phenomenology are not causally connected to the resulting action (at least not in a way sufficient to underwrite ascriptions of moral responsibility); and (3) Nietzsche’s account of the actual causal genesis (...) of action. Particular attention is given to passages from Daybreak, Beyond Good and Evil and Twilight of the Idols and a revised version of my earlier account of Nietzsche’s epiphenomenalism is defended. Finally, recent work in empirical psychology (Libet, Wegner) is shown to support Nietzsche’s skepticism that our “feeling” of will is a reliable guide to the causation of action. (shrink)
The latest volume in the Oxford Readings in Philosophy series, this work brings together some of the best and most influential recent philosophical scholarship on Nietzsche. Opening with a substantial introduction by John Richardson, it covers: Nietzsche's views on truth and knowledge, his 'doctrines' of the eternal recurrence and will to power, his distinction between Apollinian and Dionysian art, his critique of morality, his conceptions of agency and self-creation, and his genealogical method. For each of these issues, the papers show (...) Nietzsche's continuing philosophical importance. Giving a clear and accessible overview, while retaining an analytical philosophical approach throughout, this volume is essential reading for all students of Nietzsche. (shrink)
Evolutionary biology – or, more precisely, two (purported) applications of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, namely, evolutionary psychology and what has been called human behavioral biology – is on the cusp of becoming the new rage among legal scholars looking for interdisciplinary insights into the law. We argue that as the actual science stands today, evolutionary biology offers nothing to help with questions about legal regulation of behavior. Only systematic misrepresentations or lack of understanding of the relevant biology, (...) together with far-reaching analytical and philosophical confusions, have led anyone to think otherwise. Evolutionary accounts are etiological accounts of how a trait evolved. We argue that an account of causal etiology could be relevant to law if (1) the account of causal etiology is scientifically well-confirmed, and (2) there is an explanation of how the well-confirmed etiology bears on questions of development (what we call the Environmental Gap Objection). We then show that the accounts of causal etiology that might be relevant are not remotely well-confirmed by scientific standards. We argue, in particular, that (a) evolutionary psychology is not entitled to assume selectionist accounts of human behaviors, (b) the assumptions necessary for the selectionist accounts to be true are not warranted by standard criteria for theory choice, and (c) only confusions about levels of explanation of human behavior create the appearance that understanding the biology of behavior is important. We also note that no response to the Environmental Gap Objection has been proffered. In the concluding section of the article, we turn directly to the work of Owen Jones, a leading proponent of the relevance of evolutionary biology to law, and show that he does not come to terms with any of the fundamental problems identified in this article. (shrink)
This essay offers a new interpretation of Nietzsche's argument for moral skepticism (i.e., the metaphysical thesis that there do not exist any objective moral properties or facts), an argument that should be of independent philosophical interest as well. On this account, Nietzsche offers a version of the argument from moral disagreement, but, unlike familiar varieties, it does not purport to exploit anthropological reports about the moral views of exotic cultures, or even garden-variety conflicting moral intuitions about concrete cases. Nietzsche, instead, (...) calls attention to the single most important and embarrassing fact about the history of moral theorizing by philosophers over two millennia: namely, that no rational consensus has been secured on any substantive, foundational proposition about morality. Persistent and apparently intractable disagreement on foundational questions, of course, distinguishes moral theory from inquiry in the sciences and mathematics (perhaps in kind, certainly in degree). According to Nietzsche, the best explanation for this disagreement is that, even though moral skepticism is true, philosophers can still construct valid dialectical justifications for moral propositions because the premises of different justifications will answer to the psychological needs of at least some philosophers and thus be deemed true by some of them. The essay concludes by considering various attempts to defuse this abductive argument for skepticism based on moral disagreement and by addressing the question whether the argument "proves too much," that is, whether it might entail an implausible skepticism about a wide range of topics about which there is philosophical disagreement. (shrink)
Nietzsche is one of the most important and controversial thinkers in the history of philosophy. His writings on moral philosophy are among the most widely read works in philosophy- many of his ideas are both startling and disturbing.
This essay offers an interpretation and partial defense of Nietzsche's idea that moralities and moral judgments are or of our affects, that is, of our emotions or feelings. According to Nietzsche, as I reconstruct his view, moral judgments result from the interaction of two kinds of affective responses: first, a of inclination toward or aversion from certain acts, and then a further affective response (the ) to that basic affect (that is, sometimes we can be either inclined towards or averted (...) from our basic affects). I argue that Nietzsche views basic affects as noncognitive, that is, as identifiable solely by how they feel to the subject who experiences the affect. By contrast, I suggest that meta-affects (I focus on guilt and shame) sometimes incorporate a cognitive component like belief. After showing how this account of moral judgment comports with a reading of Nietzsche's moral philosophy that I have offered in previous work, I conclude by adducing philosophical and empirical psychological reasons for thinking that Nietzsche's account of moral judgment is correct. (shrink)
To say that the law is indeterminate is to say that the class of legal reasons is indeterminate. The Class, in turn, consists of four components: 1. Legitimate sources of law ; 2. Legitimate interpretive operations that can be performed on the sources in order to generate rules of law ; 3. Legitimate interpretive operations that can be performed on the facts of record in order to generate facts of legal significance ; and 4. Legitimate rational operations that can be (...) performed on facts and rules of law to finally yield particular decisions. (shrink)
This is my contribution to a symposium on my book Why Tolerate Religion?, in which I respond to essays by François Boucher and Cécile Laborde, Frederick Schauer, Corey Brettschneider, and Peter Jones. I clarify and revise my view of the sense in which some religious beliefs are “insulated from reasons and evidence” in response to the criticisms of Boucher and Laborde, but take issue with other aspects of their critique. I defend most of my original argument against utilitarian and egalitarian (...) objections from, respectively, Schauer and Brettschneider. I also discuss and defend the “No Exemptions” approach to conscientious objection to neutral laws of general applicability against a variety of objections, arguing, in particular, that my view is probably not very different from that of Jones. (shrink)
The essay offers a philosophical reconstruction of Nietzsche's theory of the will, focusing on (1) Nietzsche's account of the phenomenology of "willing " an action, the experience we have which leads us (causally) to conceive of ourselves as exercising our will; (2) Nietzsche's arguments that the experiences picked out by the phenomenology are not causally connected to the resulting action (at least not in a way sufficient to underwrite ascriptions of moral responsibility); and (3) Nietzsche's account of the actual causal (...) genesis of action. Particular attention is given to passages from Daybreak, Beyond Good and Evil and Twilight of the Idols and a revised version of my earlier account of Nietzsche's epiphenomenalism is defended. Finally, recent work in empirical psychology (Libet, Wegner) is shown to support Nietzsche's skepticism that our "feeling " of will is a reliable guide to the causation of action. (shrink)
Legal philosophers have been preoccupied with specifying the differences between two systems of normative guidance that are omnipresent in all modern human societies: law and morality. Positivists propose a solution to this ‘Demarcation Problem’ according to which the legal validity of a norm cannot depend on its being morally valid, either in all or at least some possible legal systems. The proposed analysis purports to specify the essential and necessary features of law in virtue of which this is true. Yet, (...) the concept of law is an ‘artefact concept’, that is, a concept that picks out a phenomenon that necessarily owes its existence to human activities intended to create it. Artefact concepts, even simple ones like ‘chair’, are notoriously resistant to analyses in terms of their essential attributes, precisely because they are hostages to human ends and purposes, and also cannot be individuated by their natural properties. Twentieth-century philosophy of science dealt with a kindred Demarcation Problem: how to demarcate epistemically reliable forms of inquiry from epistemically unreliable ones, that is, how to demarcate science from pseudo-science or nonsense. Like the legal philosophers, they sought to identify the essential properties of a human artefact (namely, science). They failed, and spectacularly so, which led some philosophers to wonder, ‘Why does solving the Demarcation Problem matter?’ This essay develops the lessons for legal philosophy from this episode and its philosophical aftermath, and concludes that, in order not to become embroiled in pointless Fullerian speculations about the effects of jurisprudential doctrines on behaviour, we should abandon the Demarcation Problem in jurisprudence. (shrink)
Ronald Dworkin describes an approach to how courts should decide cases that he associates with Judge Richard Posner as a Chicago School of anti-theoretical, no-nonsense jurisprudence. Since Professor Dworkin takes his own view of adjudication to be diametrically opposed to that of the Chicago School, it might seem fair, then, to describe Dworkin's own theory as an instance of pro-theoretical, nonsense jurisprudence. That characterization is not one, needless to say, that Professor Dworkin welcomes. Dworkin describes his preferred approach to jurisprudential (...) questions, to be sure, as theoretical, in opposition to what he calls the practical orientation of the Chicago School. But while there is a real dispute between Dworkin and Posner, it is not one illuminated by the contrast between theory and practice. It is, rather a dispute about the kind of theory that is relevant and illuminating when it comes to law and adjudication. And the fault line marked by this dispute is profound indeed, one that extends far beyond Dworkin and Posner and has a venerable and ancient history. I shall describe it, instead, as a dispute between Moralists and Realists, between those whose starting point is a theory of how things (morally) ought to be versus those who begin with a theory of how things really are. The Lecture endeavors to show that our contemporaries, Ronald Dworkin and Richard Posner, are reenacting a version of the dispute between the paradigmatic philosophical moralist Plato and the paradigmatic historical realist Thucydides. (shrink)
Nietzsche holds that people lack freedom of the will in any sense that would be sufficient for ascriptions of moral responsibility; that the conscious experience we have of willing is actually epiphenomenal with respect to the actions that follow that experience; and that our actions largely arise through non-conscious processes (psychological and physiological) of which we are only dimly aware, and over which we exercise little or no conscious control. At the same time, Nietzsche, always a master of rhetoric, engages (...) in a “persuasive definition” (Stevenson 1938) of the language of “freedom” and “free will,” to associate the positive valence of these terms with a certain Nietzschean ideal of the person unrelated to traditional notions of free will. (shrink)
The conference will examine important historical influences on Nietzsche, as well as Nietzsche's legacy to later philosophy. Invited papers will last approximately one hour, followed by a short comment, and then general discussion.
This article revisits the author’s influential account of Nietzche as a philosophical naturalist. It identifies the sources of Nietzsche’s position in the German naturalism of the mid-nineteenth century, in particular the work of Friedrich Lange. His naturalism is, however, “speculative” in that he postulates causal mechanisms not confirmed by science. Nietzsche’s ambition to explain morality naturalistically coexists with a “therapeutic” ambition to induce some readers to escape from morality. The article also addresses doubts that might arise against reading Nietzsche as (...) a naturalist. (shrink)
Any reader of Foucault's corpus recognizes fairly quickly that it is animated by an ethical impulse, namely, to liberate individuals from a kind of oppression from which they suffer. This oppression, however, does not involve the familiar tyranny of the Leviathan or the totalitarian state; it exploits instead values that the victim of oppression herself accepts, and which then leads the oppressed agent to be complicit in her subjugation. It also depends, crucially, on a skeptical thesis about the epistemology of (...) the social sciences. It is this conjunction of claims-that individuals oppress themselves in virtue of certain moral and epistemic norms they accept-that marks Foucault's uniquely disturbing contribution to the literature whose diagnostic aim is, with Max Weber, to understand the oppressive character of modernity, and whose moral aim is, with the Frankfurt School, human liberation and human flourishing. I offer here both a reconstruction of Foucault's project - focusing on the role that ethical and epistemic norms play in how agents subjugate themselves - and some modestly critical reflections on his project, especially the weaknesses in his critique of the epistemic standing of the human sciences. (shrink)
This is a review essay (forthcoming in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews) discussing Christopher Janaway's book "Beyond Seflessness: Reading Nietzsche's 'Genealogy' (OUP, 2007). Particular attention is given to the question of Nietzsche's style, and the relationship between his philosophical positions and his therapeutic objectives; to Janaway's critique of my account of Nietzsche's naturalism; and to Nietzsche's conception of agency and the meaning of the image (from GM II:2) of "the sovereign individual.".
This review essay of Nietzsche’s “Twilight of the Idols” (1888) is part of the journal TOPOI’s “Untimely Reviews” series of classic works of philosophy. Themes dealt with are Nietzsche’s attacks on morality, on free will, on mental causation, on Socrates, and on Kant. Connections are drawn with contemporary work by Mark Johnston, David Rosenthal, and Daniel Wegner, among others.