Nietzsche and Moral Psychology
J. Sytsma & W. Buckwalter (eds.), Blackwell Companion to Experimental Philosophy (Forthcoming).
27 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2015 Last revised: 29 May 2015
Date Written: April 13, 2015
Nietzsche’s 1886 claim that psychology is the 'queen of the sciences' demands that we attend to the results of actual psychology. Such attention reveals Nietzsche to be prescient on several moral psychological issues. The aim of this article is to outline four such issues and thereby present readers with Nietzsche's promise for empirically-informed philosophical psychology. First, Nietzsche holds that moral responses are products of a two-tier structure of the affects; secondly, that each person has a relatively stable psycho-physiological constitution qualifying him or her as a 'type'; thirdly, that the real causes of action are frequently hidden from introspection and retrospectively confabulated; and lastly — a view of Nietzsche's that is yet to receive due treatment — that the practically significant question regarding one’s will is to be understood on a 'strength-model' of self-control. After discussing the evidence in support of these claims, we conclude with a brief discussion of how, given his lack of access to contemporary experimental methods, Nietzsche could have nonetheless been the astute moral psychologist that he appears to be.
Keywords: Nietzsche, Moral Psychology, Philosophy of Action, Experimental Philosophy
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