Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Envy: or, Had We but World Enough and Time

draft syllabus

Spring 2011
Michael Forster, Brian Leiter
University of Chicago

Moral psychology is a broad area of philosophical and empirical inquiry encompassing a range of issues in ethics, meta-ethics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of action. Its questions include:
(1) What is the nature of moral judgment and what are its (emotional? rational?) sources?
(2) What role does moral judgment and motivation play in action?
(3) What role does conscious reflection play in action?
(4)Are agents morally responsible for what they do? If so, what must be true of their agency? Obviously Nietzsche has views on all these questions, and it will be our aim to try to understand his views and to assess, as much as possible, their plausibility. We will focus on questions (1) through (3), in particular, trying to get clear about the sources of moral motivation (in both action and judgment) and the character of the “will” on Nietzsche’s view. (The Spring 2012 seminar will focus on issues connected to [4], in both Nietzsche and contemporary philosophers. We will spend the most time on Books I and II and parts of III and V of Daybreak, and the first six chapters of Twilight of the Idols, with briefer selections from Books IV and V of The Gay Science, and Chapters I and V of Beyond Good and Evil. Jesse Prinz’s The Emotional Construction of Morals (OUP, 2007), an empirically
informed account of morals and moral judgment inspired by Hume and Nietzsche, will serve as our main contemporary interlocutor.

We will spend the first two weeks on the first four chapters (Part I) of Prinz’s book; Prinz will participate in the seminar on April 5 to discuss his views. We will then proceed largely, though not wholly, chronologically through the material from Daybreak, The Gay Science, Beyond Good and Evil and Twilight. In conjunction with the primary texts, there will also be secondary literature on Nietzsche and/or relevant psychological or philosophical literature by some or all of the following: M. Clark, J. Deigh, J. Haidt, P. Katsafanas, B. Leiter, P. Poellner, D. Rosenthal, D. Wegner, and B. Williams, among others.
Required texts:
Nietzsche, Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality, trans. Hollingdale, ed. Clark Leiter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).
The Portable Nietzsche, edited by Walter Kaufmann (Viking/Penguin, 1954).
Jesse Prinz, The Emotional Construction of Morals (Oxford: Oxford University Press,
Translations of Nietzsche by Hollingdale, Kaufmann, or any of the CUP translators (e.g., Judith Norman) are quite acceptable.

Recommended texts:
Brian Leiter, Nietzsche on Morality (London: Routledge, 2002), esp. Chapters 1-4. This will be useful as background to the instructor’s views on a range of interpretive issues, and will allow us not to spend too much classtime on this.
Christopher Janaway, Beyond Selflessness (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), esp. Chapters 1, 3, 6-7. Purports to contest the “naturalist” reading of Nietzsche in Leiter and makes a number of interesting points about the role of “affective engagement” for Nietzsche.

Brian Leiter, “Nietzsche’s Naturalism Reconsidered,” in The Oxford Handbook of Nietzsche, ed. K. Gemes J. Richardson (Oxford, forthcoming 2011 or 2012). Available for free download at:
Responds to some of Janaway’s concerns, and refines the account of Nietzsche’s naturalism about morality. At a minimum, please read this paper before the start of the term.


Nick Drew said...

* sighs *

( wv = doltu : well thanks a lot !)

hatfield girl said...

I apologize for the behaviour of wv, ND, I don't know why it does it. Unless - could it be responding to comment-poster interpretation because it certainly isn't coming from the blog?

I have kindled my reading list of texts I do not have; and lined the whole lot up for study in place of dusting.

Anyone thinking of a lazy poolside summer will be facing a rampant Angel dilettante scholar.

"Shall we go to ....tomorrow and see the ... with lunch in ....?"

"Or we could consider the role of emotion, feeling, in adopting our moral and political stance on...".

Mass rush for the paintings, any paintings.