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Nietzsche's Critique of Utilitarianism

Nietzsche's Critique of Utilitarianism 010 Anomaly (1-15) 3/21/05 12:12 PM Page 1 Nietzsche’s Critique of Utilitarianism Jonny Anomaly ietzsche’s scattered, caustic remarks on utilitarianism pervade his philo- Nsophical corpus and tend to be sweepingly critical. Until recently, how- ever, scholars have generally ignored Nietzsche’s critique because it consists largely of undeveloped arguments and ad hominem attacks against particular utilitarian proponents. This is unfortunate, since his critique of utilitarianism is linked in important ways to his critique of Christianity, and moreover it exem- plifies Nietzsche’s adeptness at attacking views he opposed by exposing con- cealed assumptions and turning the assumptions of its proponents against the principles they defend. This essay examines the main sources of Nietzsche’s fierce opposition to util- itarianism, without considering at length any alternative normative position he may have advanced. The absence of sustained discussion in this essay of a pos- itive alternative should not, however, be taken to imply that he rejects morality tout court. Nietzsche parries this common interpretation in Daybreak by con- ceding, “in this book faith in morality is withdrawn—but Why? Out of moral- ity!”(D 4). Instead of criticizing utilitarianism by contrasting it with his own moral values, however, Nietzsche primarily attacks utilitarianism by querying its internal http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Nietzsche Studies Penn State University Press

Nietzsche's Critique of Utilitarianism

The Journal of Nietzsche Studies , Volume 29 (1) – May 9, 2005

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 The Friedrich Nietzsche Society.
ISSN
1538-4594

Abstract

010 Anomaly (1-15) 3/21/05 12:12 PM Page 1 Nietzsche’s Critique of Utilitarianism Jonny Anomaly ietzsche’s scattered, caustic remarks on utilitarianism pervade his philo- Nsophical corpus and tend to be sweepingly critical. Until recently, how- ever, scholars have generally ignored Nietzsche’s critique because it consists largely of undeveloped arguments and ad hominem attacks against particular utilitarian proponents. This is unfortunate, since his critique of utilitarianism is linked in important ways to his critique of Christianity, and moreover it exem- plifies Nietzsche’s adeptness at attacking views he opposed by exposing con- cealed assumptions and turning the assumptions of its proponents against the principles they defend. This essay examines the main sources of Nietzsche’s fierce opposition to util- itarianism, without considering at length any alternative normative position he may have advanced. The absence of sustained discussion in this essay of a pos- itive alternative should not, however, be taken to imply that he rejects morality tout court. Nietzsche parries this common interpretation in Daybreak by con- ceding, “in this book faith in morality is withdrawn—but Why? Out of moral- ity!”(D 4). Instead of criticizing utilitarianism by contrasting it with his own moral values, however, Nietzsche primarily attacks utilitarianism by querying its internal

Journal

The Journal of Nietzsche StudiesPenn State University Press

Published: May 9, 2005

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