Christa Davis Acampora
Ecce Homo offers Nietzsche’s own interpretation of himself, his thoughts, and his works. This article analyzes how the text bears on his ideas about agency, fate, and freedom. It presents an account of “how one becomes what one is.” For Nietzsche, a person is a set of drives ordered or ranked a certain way; there is no will or subject separate from these that could carry out the work of becoming. What is most important is that one’s drives be coordinated in a single entity. Through these tactics some of us can become what we are.
This article examines Nietzsche’s thoughts about becoming and being, and how these are at odds with both knowledge and life. It discusses how Nietzsche addresses this problem, beginning with its historical part: Nietzsche’s story of how the philosophical tradition first builds the concept of being, but then pulls it down by the stages described in the famous ‘history of an error’ chapter in Twilight of the Idols. This development culminates in the replacement of being with becoming. But understanding what Nietzsche means by becoming requires an understanding of its relation to time. We arrive at a genuine sense of becoming only by stripping away our experience of time as succession.
J. Brendan Ritchie and Peter Carruthers
This chapter focuses on three broad systems of bodily perception: interoception, the vestibular system, and proprioception. We argue that they constitute (collections of) sense modalities, while discussing some of the philosophical issues they raise. These include: the relationship between emotion and interoception, whether the vestibular system induces distinctive phenomenally conscious experiences, and the relationship between proprioception and the body schema.
This article first surveys those ‘causal theories of perception’ that attempt to explain what it is for someone to perceive an external thing. Then it surveys the other ‘causal theories of perception’ (or alternatively, ‘causal theories of knowledge’) that attempt to explain what it is for someone to know about external things by means of perception. Within each of these two topics, we can locate all the various causal theories on a two-dimensional map: along one dimension are the various things that have been taken to do the causing, and along the other dimension are the various things that have been taken to be thus caused.
Paul S. Loeb
This article shows that Nietzsche’s published presentations endorse the cosmological truth of eternal recurrence and that they indicate how belief in this truth can be supported with direct mnemonic evidence as well as a priori scientific proof. It also introduces a refutation of any attempt to construe Nietzsche’s doctrine as a thought experiment that would help to test or promote the affirmation of nonrecurring life.
This article's view is unusual among contemporary views of free will. It is defined by two radical theses. The first, Fundamental Dualism, says that we can and should be both incompatibilists and compatibilists about freedom and responsibility. There is no reason, the article argues, why it should not be the case that certain forms of moral responsibility, desert, and blame require libertarian free will, whereas other forms can be sustained without it. Thus, if libertarian free will is impossible, there is no reason why we have to choose between hard determinism or compatibilism. The second thesis, Illusionism, is even more radical. It notes that the consequences for humanity of widespread belief that we lack libertarian free will would be dire and destructive. Illusion about free will is therefore morally necessary.
This article examines one of Nietzsche’s most important works, The Gay Science (Die fröhliche Wissenschaft). The book’s title reflects its ambition to handle painful truths, arrived at by some kind of science, in a cheerful and uplifting way. One such truth is the death of God and the way this must pull down with it God’s ‘shadow’, morality, as we find out the truth about its origins. The most sensational idea introduced in the book is the thought of eternal return. The article also considers Nietzsche’s attempts to reconcile truth and art, rejecting efforts to resolve the tension by subordinating either to the other. It looks at Nietzsche’s critique of the usual scientific methods for seeking truth; rather than renouncing truth, he anticipates a new ‘science’ better aimed at what truth there is.
This chapter analyzes the issue of immortality in the opera “The Makropulos Case” and reviews Bernard Williams's essay inspired by the opera, which argues against immortality. It suggests that the widespread longing for an extended existence is an expression of our agency and that the rational appeal of extended existence rests on the fact that human beings are autonomous agents with a distinctively agential character.
R. Lanier Anderson
This article explores various conceptions of Nietzsche’s thoughts on autonomy. It distinguishes six main interpretive approaches, each with its own conception of autonomy: (1) autonomy as spontaneous self-determination, in the sense of traditional free will; (2) a “standard model” interpretation counting actions as autonomous when they are caused by rationalizing beliefs and desires; (3) a view that traces autonomy to a Kantian transcendental subject; (4) constitutivist theories that seek to explain the source of normativity by “deriving ethics from action”; (5) “hierarchical model” interpretations arguing that complex, higher-order attitudes “speak for the agent,” and thereby constitute her autonomy; and (6) conceptions of autonomy as an ethical ideal.
This article examines how Nietzsche’s illness bears on his philosophical ideas. It demonstrates that the long-standard explanation for Nietzsche’s dementia—syphilis—is almost certainly false. The cause is much more likely to have been a brain tumor, which had caused him severe headaches and eye problems since childhood. Nietzsche also suffered from a host of digestive problems. It is no wonder that he puts such great weight on “health” and especially the kind of health that overcomes sickness and suffering. When Nietzsche values “madness,” it is a healthy and philosophical madness exemplified in Zarathustra and which Nietzsche tried to cultivate in himself.
This article examines issues in resolving the problems concerning personal identity, focusing on how we use the first-person pronoun. It suggests that what we call the self plays a certain role, similar to the role that the present day plays in relation to the word ‘today’ and to our knowledge about today. It discusses the functional role of the self and argues that the idea of a narrative self is just the idea that keeping track of the self across time is what constitutes the self as something more than a minimal self.
This chapter develops a perceptual solution to the epistemological problem of other minds, relying on central ideas from Maurice Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology. The Merleau-Pontian account is contrasted with another attempted perceptual solution to the other minds problem, and it is argued that only the former meets the phenomenologists' desideratum of providing an alternative to inferential solutions. The chapter also provides responses to various objections to the perceptual solution, including a pair of objections recently put forward by Alec Hyslop.
This article develops an interpretation of Nietzsche’s notion of the overman and its links to his conceptions of agency and free will. Nietzsche sees human actions as commitments and commitment as irreducibly temporal inasmuch as it requires both obedience to the past and responsibility for the future. In making any possibility his own, the agent commits himself to certain outcomes in the face of contingencies beyond his control. An overman is someone who has overcome his resistance to the temporal character of agency by taking responsibility for the choices he makes.
What is it to perceive things as standing in relations to you? Why do you not need to keep track of yourself in perception? What is it to perceive a body part as belonging to you? A distinctive treatment of de se content, and the kind of entity to which de se contents refer, helps supply answers. The experience of ownership is additional to the experience of sensations as bodily located. Hume’s idea that the subject cannot be perceived is correct if taken as a thesis about the relations between the de se and what one can attend to as given in a certain way. Subjects can exist, and de se content can refer, without having objectively correct perceptual states. De se content at the nonconceptual level can explain some constitutive features of genuine first person conceptual content, when the relations between those two levels are properly understood.
Valerie Gray Hardcastle
Pain has been used as an example of a simple and easily understandable conscious experience. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that pain is actually quite complex and not well understood at all. This chapter examines whether our folk-intuitions tell us that pain is a subjective and incorrigible perception, a nonconceptual representation, or perhaps a an old-fashioned sense-datum. It also considers the latest neuroscientific approaches to understanding pain processing. Pain processing in the brain involves both nociception and the inhibition of nociception. Recent imagining studies indicate that pain processing utilizes large and diffuse regions of cortex.
Julian Kiverstein, Mirko Farina, and Andy Clark
Sensory substitution devices are a type of sensory prosthesis that (typically) convert visual stimuli transduced by a camera into tactile or auditory stimulation. They are designed to be used by people with impaired vision so that they can recover some of the functions normally subserved by vision. This chapter considers what philosophers might learn about the nature of the senses from the neuroscience of sensory substitution. It shows how sensory substitution devices work by exploiting the cross-modal plasticity of sensory cortex: the ability of sensory cortex to pick up some types of information about the external environment irrespective of the nature of the sensory inputs it is processing. It explores the implications of cross-modal plasticity for theories of the senses that attempt to make distinctions between the senses on the basis of neurobiology.
The main theme of Nietzsche’s first published work, The Birth of Tragedy (BT, 1872), is that the affirmation of life requires ‘illusion’ which allows us to cope with the ‘insight into the horrible truth’ of our condition. This article argues that Nietzsche held the same position in his later works: that illusion is a necessary to affirm life. The discussion is organized as follows. Section 1 sets out the core thesis of BT vis-à-vis the relationship between affirmation and illusion. Section 2 examines the role of illusion in one of Nietzsche’s litmus tests of affirmation found in The Gay Science of 1882, ‘amor fati’—that is, the ability ‘to see as beautiful what is necessary in things’. Sections 3, 4, and 5 consider Nietzsche’s understanding of ‘self-creation’ and how, through the employment of ‘distance’ and ‘pretence’, it engenders an affirmation of existence. Finally, Section 6 attempts a provisional assessment of Nietzsche’s conception of affirmation.
Transcendental phenomenology and the seductions of naturalism: subjectivity, consciousness, and meaning
This paper introduces phenomenology as a distinctive form of transcendental philosophy by exploring a problem that arises with the phenomenological concept of “constitution,” namely, the “paradox of human subjectivity” – the idea that under the transcendental reduction the human subject is both a (constituted) entity in the world and the ground of all such constitution. Focusing on the question of what conditions must obtain for something to be the bearer of normatively structured intentional content (i.e., meaning/Sinn), the paper argues that the appearance of paradox here rests upon a certain naturalistic assumption – namely, that the aspect of subjectivity responsible for transcendental constitution is consciousness conceived as the kind of phenomenal experience we share with other animals. In a final section I try to suggest how transcendentalism and a certain naturalism might nevertheless be reconciled on phenomenological grounds.