In Moral Psychology with Nietzsche (PDF), Brian Leiter defends a set of radical ideas from Nietzsche: there is no objectively true morality, no one is ever morally responsible, there is no free will, and our conscious thoughts and reasoning play almost no major role in our actions and how our lives unfold. Leiter offers a new interpretation of main themes of Nietzsche’s moral psychology, including his anti-realism about the value (including epistemic value), his account of moral judgment and its association to the emotions, his skepticism about free will and moral responsibility, his conception of the will and agency, his epiphenomenalism about particular kinds of conscious mental states, and his views about the heritability of psychological traits. In combining exegesis with the argument, Leiter connects the views of philosophers like Harry Frankfurt, Gary Watson and T. M. Scanlon, and psychologists including Daniel Wegner, Stanley Milgram and Benjamin Libet. Nietzsche emerges not simply as a museum piece from the history of ideas, but as a psychologist and philosopher who exceeds David Hume for insight into human nature and the human mind, anticipates later developments in empirical psychology again and again, and continues to provide sophisticated and unsettling challenges to much conventional wisdom in both psychology and philosophy.
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