Item description for The Routledge Philosophy GuideBook to Nietzsche on Morality (Routledge Philosophy GuideBooks) by Brian Leiter...
Nietzsche is one of the most important and controversial thinkers in the history of philosophy. His writings on moral philosophy are amongst the most widely read works in philosophy - many of his ideas are both startling and disturbing. Nietzsche on Morality introduces and assesses: *Nietzsche's life and the background to his writings on morality *The ideas and text of The Genealogy of Morals *Nietzsche's continuing importance in philosophy Nietzsche on Morality will be vital to all students coming to Nietzsche for the first time.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.25" Width: 5.25" Height: 8" Weight: 1 lbs.
Release Date Sep 20, 2002
ISBN 0415152844 ISBN13 9780415152846
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More About Brian Leiter
Brian Leiter is Charles I. Francis Professor of Law and Philosophy at the UNiversity of Texas at Austin.
Brian Leiter currently resides in the state of Texas. Brian Leiter has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Texas, Austin, University of Chicago University of Texas.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Routledge Philosophy GuideBook to Nietzsche on Morality (Routledge Philosophy GuideBooks)?
an analytic interpretation... Jan 18, 2008
Contrary to what Leiter has repeatedly claimed, there are such things as `analytic' and `Continental' philosophical approaches. Leiter seems quick to point out that these two `categories' defy single-criterion descriptions, but that does not preclude the existence of these categories in terms of what Wittgenstein calls `family resemblance.' With that, it's more than accurate to say that Brian Leiter takes an analytic approach to Continental figures. John Protevi once distinguished between `continental Continental philosophy' and `analytic Continental philosophy', whereas the former is distinguished by a `Continental' approach, the latter is, (very) roughly, a dissection of the Continental tradition through the lens of analytic concerns.
No doubt that anyone engaged in `continental Continental philosophy' will readily understand the importance and the meaning of these distinctions - if for no other reason than to distance themselves from Leiter's approach. Perhaps it's that the difference between the analytic and Continental traditions involve a shared set of assumptions distinct to each approach, regardless, however, Leiter's philosophy seems unproblematically linked with an analytic approach.
I would not wish to disparage either the analytic or Continental approaches, both have their own merit on their own ground, but Leiter, with his analytic mind frame, dare I say, seems a bit narrow in his interpretation of Nietzsche. Narrow, perhaps, to the point of (often) sheer inaccuracy. Leiter seems fond of making claims and citing passages where, only pages before, another passage problematized and challenged his claims. I would thus level charges of selective reading against Leiter. Selective reading of Continental figures, however, seems a bit rampant among so-called analytic philosophers. Leiter's recent collection of essays titled Nietzsche and Morality is rife with equally narrow interpretations of Nietzsche. The very first essay, for instance, wishes to claim Nietzsche as a moral perfectionist. Certainly the author of that essay clarifies himself a bit, but his claims are ultimately, if not radically, unconvincing. That essay, like Leiter's book here, seem to fail to look "at the big picture" - they ignore certain passages in favor of others in order to make a certain claim. But it remains to be seen why those passages are more important than the one's ignored...
I cannot recommend this book as a genuine work of careful Nietzsche scholarship, for it seems to me rather uncareful and almost revisionist. Instead, I would recommend articles by Keith Ansell-Pearson, who seems much more in-tune with the subtleties of Nietzsche's philosophy.
Very Clear Book on Nietzsche's View of Morality Mar 1, 2007
I must first confess that I am not a student of philosophy. I have become interested in the subject at the age of 38. I have now read books on Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hobbes, Hume and Schopenhauer. I have to admit that I don't think that I understand half of what I read. This is the reason why I don't read the actual work of the philosopher at this time. I need to understand a little more about the philosophy of the author before I can understand the actual works.
With that being said, I did read the Geneology of Morals by Nietzsche before I read the Guidebook. I was not sure I understand half of what Nietzsche had to say in the acutal work. Because I had read the actual work, I believe I got more out of the Guidebook. I would suggest reading the work first or at least each essay before that portion of the book.
The Guidebook is a very good book for a full and better understanding of Nietzsche's thoughts on morality. I was happy to learn that I understood more of the actual work than I thought I had. However, the Guidebook was a wonderful book to follow the reading of the actual work. Mr. Leiter has a wonderful way of explaining Nietzsche's writing. He is clear and concise and places the writing in its proper historical context.
If you are interested in Nietzsche's view of morality and don't quite understand it, then this book will assit you in that understanding. If you don't read the actual work, this book will still be clear enough so that you can understand Nietzsche's thoughts on morality.
I realize that some may not agree with Lieter's interpreation of Nietzsche's Geneology of Morality. However, in philosophy, I am not sure there is one correct way to interpret such writings. Therefore, in the end, this is one very good book on Nietzsche's morality.
Caution advised: two and a half stars Jan 12, 2007
I can understand why many reviewers have found Leiter's Nietzsche accessible however I believe Leiter ultimately misleads his readers into believing that Nietzsche is in fact a ''classical realist''. Whilst such a metaphysical label may seem besides the point when dealing with Nietzsche's views on ethics readers should be advised that any reading of Nietzschean ''perspectivism'' will be highly significant in the interpretation of Nietzsche that follows, and and this is nowhere more clearly evidenced than in Leiter's ''guidebook''.
This is not to say that one should not read Leiter's book (which I had wanted to rate with two and a half stars) for it does supply a clear/jargon-free, if imperfect, reading of ''On the Genealogy of Morals'' as well as serving to introduce the reader to the contemporary contoversies surrounding exactly what Nietzsche's philosophical activity ammounts to.
Leiter's polemical interpretation is frequently dogmatic in its assertions, and in that it is aimed at undergraduates, and is written in an unambiguous analytical style, will no doubt prove highly influential to many budding students of philosophy. Knowing what undergraduates can be like I only hope that students coming to Nietzsche for the first time round will read Nietzsche themselves (don't forget his important prefaces) rather than simply viewing him through Leiter's ''lens''.
I advise reading both this book and Clark's ''Nietzsche on Truth and Philosophy'' (Clark's reading of Nietzsche as an empirical realist is similar to Leiter's, and both authors agree to a certain extent in their (mis)interpretations of GM III: 12 and TI: IV), alongside Schrift's ''Nietzsche and the Question of Interpretation'', Nehamas' ''Nietzsche: Life as Literature'', and Allison's introduction: ''Reading the New Nietzsche'' for balance. Of course whilst these texts will provide this balance for any academic study of Nietzsche you must read him for yourself (and preferably before you resort to commentary). I made the mistake of reading Schacht's detailed ''Nietzsche'' before reading Nietzsche himself which, despite also being a clear and detailed commentary on Nietzsche (in Routledge's ''Arguments of the Philosopher's'' series), initially misled me: it soon became clear that on reading Nietzsche's remarkable works all systematic, and often dogmatic, accounts of Nietzsche's ''philosophy'' eventually over-determine the primary texts - for this reason I find the pluralistic (not necessarily relativistic) commentaries of Nehamas, Allison and Schrift to be more appropriate interpretations.
However we read Nietzsche we should be aware that that he sought to expose the fundamentally perspectival nature of existence, and the Heraclitian, perpetual flux of becoming. How we understand this will dramatically effect the way we interpret Nietzsche, including how we understand his genealogy and psychology. Ultimately I believe that an unhasty reading of Nietzsche reveals a thinker very different from the one Leiter portrays in ''Nietzsche on Morality''. Best of luck.
Terrific book Aug 25, 2006
I've looked at a number of analyses of Nietzsche's writings, and this one is by far the best for someone reading this philosopher for the first time, as well as for anyone who has read around in Nietzsche without coming away with any clear conception of what exactly it was all supposed to be about. The book focuses on Nietzsche's theories of morality as set out in 'On the Genealogy of Morality,' but in doing so it also provides entre to the man's work and his central concerns more generally. The great virtue of Leiter's book is its organized and systematic approach to Nietzsche; what Leiter has provided is essentially a carefully crafted and well supported argument as to what Nietzsche was up to, and why. You can't jump around in the text, and you have to read carefully. But if you do, you will discover a model of how to lay out a clear intellectual case, end to end, and without skipping any steps.
Leiter's book also succeeds in rescuing Nietzsche from interpreters who had distorted his work as part of an effort to enlist Nietzsche in support of one or another relativist, postmodern agenda. Nietzsche's style and form of exposition has always lent itself to cherry-picking, unfortunately; but this book will make it much more difficult to do that sort of thing convincingly in the future.
A superb job. Highest possible recommendation.
Sharp, lucid, and highly accessible Dec 19, 2005
Brian Leiter is a very active academic and not only in his publishing productivity but even more so in his enthusiasm and advocacy of good scholarly work. He also happens to be one of the foremost contemporary Nietzsche scholars. Yay for us!
Leiter is cutting edge. He's active and engaged in the philosophic and legal communities, and it shows throughout this book. It is structured very well so as to be easy to follow, but it doesn't drop any academic quality in order to be accessible to the uninitiated. It's a great guide for introducing Nietzsche but would also be beneficial to philosophers and educated lay people.
An earlier commenter noted that Leiter spends all his time talking about how much better he knows Nietzsche than the earlier scholars. This a claim that is wholly without merit. Any corrections and harsh words the author has for earlier N scholars are necessary not only because they inform the development of N scholarship but because they ARE wrong. Leiter's vigor in this area is not unusual or off-putting.
As a conservative type, I don't particularly agree with or even like Brian Leiter's views generally, but no one can deny him just desserts. He's written a book that holds even against his own high standards and done so in a way that most everyone can enjoy. Highly recommended!