Introduction: Nietzsche's Naturalistic Moral Psychology

Moral Psychology With Nietzsche (Oxford University Press, 2018, Forthcoming)

21 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2017

Date Written: November 16, 2017


This is a draft of the introduction to a forthcoming monograph on moral psychology in a Nietzschean vein. “Moral psychology” here encompasses issues in metaethics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of action, including questions concerning the objectivity of morality, the relationship between moral judgment and emotion, the nature of the emotions, free will and moral responsibility, and the structure of the mind as that is relevant to the possibility of moral action and judgment.

While the book has exegetical aims, it is not an exercise in the “history of ideas.” I argue that Nietzsche is often right. Among Nietzsche’s views that seem to me plausible and are defended in this volume are: his anti-realism about value, his sentimentalism, his skepticism about consciousness and rational agency, his fatalism, and his skepticism about the post-hoc rationalizations of moral philosophers. For reasons that will become clear, I do not take a position on whether Nietzsche is right that morality is dangerous to the most valuable kinds of human flourishing—though I do believe we should be worried by his challenge, as I am.

The aim of this volume, in short, is to articulate and defend Nietzschean moral psychology. Because of this double aim I often move from exposition to philosophical argument independent of the exposition. I thus hope the volume will be of interest to philosophers interested in the philosophical issues, even if not especially interested in Nietzsche.

Keywords: Nietzsche, moral psychology, metaethics, sentimentalism, Hume, naturalism

Suggested Citation

Leiter, Brian, Introduction: Nietzsche's Naturalistic Moral Psychology (November 16, 2017). Moral Psychology With Nietzsche (Oxford University Press, 2018, Forthcoming), Available at SSRN:

Brian Leiter (Contact Author)

University of Chicago ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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