Moral Psychology with Nietzsche

ISBN : 9780192897930

Brian Leiter
216 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Mar 2021
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Brian Leiter defends a set of radical ideas from Nietzsche: there is no objectively true morality, there is no free will, no one is ever morally responsible, and our conscious thoughts and reasoning play almost no significant role in our actions and how our lives unfold. He presents a new interpretation of main themes of Nietzsche's moral psychology, including his anti-realism about value (including epistemic value), his account of moral judgment and its relationship to the emotions, his conception of the will and agency, his scepticism about free will and moral responsibility, his epiphenomenalism about certain kinds of conscious mental states, and his views about the heritability of psychological traits. In combining exegesis with argument, Leiter engages the views of philosophers like Harry Frankfurt, T. M. Scanlon, and Gary Watson, and psychologists including Daniel Wegner, Benjamin Libet, and Stanley Milgram. Nietzsche emerges not simply as a museum piece from the history of ideas, but as a philosopher and psychologist who exceeds David Hume for insight into human nature and the human mind, repeatedly anticipates later developments in empirical psychology, and continues to offer sophisticated and unsettling challenges to much conventional wisdom in both philosophy and psychology.


Introduction: Nietzsche's Naturalistic Moral Psychology
Part I: Metaphysics and Epistemology of Value
1 Nietzsche's Anti-Realism about Value: the Explanatory Arguments
2 Nietzsche's Metaethics: Against the Privilege Readings
3 Moralities are a Sign-Language of the Affects
4 Anti-Realism, Value, Perspectivism
Part II: Freedom, Agency, and the Will
5 Nietzsche's Theory of Agency: The Will and Freedom of the Will
6 A Positive View of Freedom?
7 The Case for Nietzschean Moral Psychology (with Joshua Knobe)

About the author: 

Brian Leiter is Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the Center for Law, Philosophy and Human Values at the University of Chicago, where he teaches and writes about moral, political, and legal philosophy in both the Anglophone and Continental European traditions. His many publications include Nietzsche on Morality (2002; 2015), which has been called the most important book on Nietzsche's philosophy in the last twenty years (Journal of Nietzsche Studies, 2010).

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