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Nietzsche's Critique of Utilitarianism

Nietzsche's Critique of Utilitarianism Nietzsche's Critique of Utilitarianism ietzsche's scattered, caustic remarks on utilitarianism pervade his philosophical corpus and tend to be sweepingly critical. Until recently, however, scholars have generally ignored Nietzsche's critique because it consists largely of undeveloped arguments and ad hominem attacks against particular utilitarian proponents.1 This is unfortunate, since his critique of utilitarianism is linked in important ways to his critique of Christianity, and moreover it exemplifies Nietzsche's adeptness at attacking views he opposed by exposing concealed 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 utilitarianism, without considering at length any alternative normative position he may have advanced.2 The absence of sustained discussion in this essay of a positive alternative should not, however, be taken to imply that he rejects morality tout court. Nietzsche parries this common interpretation in Daybreak by conceding, "in this book faith in morality is withdrawn--but Why? Out of morality!" (D 4).3 Instead of criticizing utilitarianism by contrasting it with his own moral values, however, Nietzsche primarily attacks utilitarianism by querying its internal coherence, and by raising the possibility that utilitarians are driven by motives at odds with their 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) – Sep 5, 2005

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

Nietzsche's Critique of Utilitarianism ietzsche's scattered, caustic remarks on utilitarianism pervade his philosophical corpus and tend to be sweepingly critical. Until recently, however, scholars have generally ignored Nietzsche's critique because it consists largely of undeveloped arguments and ad hominem attacks against particular utilitarian proponents.1 This is unfortunate, since his critique of utilitarianism is linked in important ways to his critique of Christianity, and moreover it exemplifies Nietzsche's adeptness at attacking views he opposed by exposing concealed 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 utilitarianism, without considering at length any alternative normative position he may have advanced.2 The absence of sustained discussion in this essay of a positive alternative should not, however, be taken to imply that he rejects morality tout court. Nietzsche parries this common interpretation in Daybreak by conceding, "in this book faith in morality is withdrawn--but Why? Out of morality!" (D 4).3 Instead of criticizing utilitarianism by contrasting it with his own moral values, however, Nietzsche primarily attacks utilitarianism by querying its internal coherence, and by raising the possibility that utilitarians are driven by motives at odds with their

Journal

The Journal of Nietzsche StudiesPenn State University Press

Published: Sep 5, 2005

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