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Nietzsche on Freedom and Autonomy$
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Ken Gemes and Simon May

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199231560

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231560.001.0001

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Nietzsche's Theory of the Will *

Nietzsche's Theory of the Will *

(p.107) 6 Nietzsche's Theory of the Will*
Nietzsche on Freedom and Autonomy

Brian Leiter (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers a philosophical reconstruction of Nietzsche's theory of the will, focusing on: (i) Nietzsche's account of the phenomenology of ‘willing’ an action, the experience we have which leads us (causally) to conceive of ourselves as exercising our will; (ii) Nietzsche's arguments that the experiences picked out by the phenomenology are not causally connected to the resulting action (at least not in a way sufficient to underwrite ascriptions of moral responsibility); and (iii) Nietzsche's account of the actual causal genesis of action. Particular attention is given to passages from Daybreak, Beyond Good and Evil, and Twilight of the Idols, and a revised version of Leiter's earlier account of Nietzsche's epiphenomenalism is defended. Finally, recent work in empirical psychology (Libet, Wegner) is shown to support Nietzsche's skepticism that our ‘feeling’ of will is a reliable guide to the causation of action.

Keywords:   Nietzsche, free will, consciousness, epiphenomenalism, responsibility, incompatiblism

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