Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Video of my 2010 lecture at the Oxford FNS Meeting: "Who is the 'Sovereign Individual'? Nietzsche on Freedom"

Here. No idea who put it on-line, but there it is.

UPDATE (JANUARY 11): Manuel Dries tells me videos of all the talks from the Oxford conference, including mine, are available via I-Tunes here.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"Five Books": Nietzsche edition

I'm on "The Browser" website recommending "five books," per their usual format. They wanted some primary, some secondary...and, of course, you can't recommend anything you've written yourself.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rutherford on Nietzsche on Freedom

I was pleased to see that Donald Rutherford's important paper on Spinoza, the Stoics, Nietzsche and the idea of freedom has now appeared in Inquiry.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Two Useful Reviews

Himmelmann on Berry, Nietzsche and the Ancient Skeptical Tradition

Reginster on Gemes & May (eds.), Nietzsche on Freedom and Autonomy.

ADDENDUM: We discussed Gardner's paper from the Gemes & May volume previously. Contra my analysis of the experience of willing, Reginster writes:

One problem with this proposal is that it conflates willing with successful
willing. But it seems as though I can have an experience of willing even when my
body fails to respond, and I precisely do not feel "as if the bodily qualia are
obeying the thought." When I will to move my paralyzed body, for example, I have
an experience of willing, which means that I identify with a "commandeering
thought" even though it does not elicit obedience. But then this identification
cannot be motivated by the "feeling of power" that is supposed to explain its

This depends on whether it is a correct account of what it feels like to will the movement of a paralyzed part of the body: I would have thought this feels like an attemp at willing, not willing. I actually address this in note 6 of the paper; it is a difficult case that turns on having more information about the phenomenology of paralysis.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Virtual Reading Group on Nietzsche

Carlos, a student at UC Berkeley, is devoting a new website to the discussion of Nietzsche's texts.

The website will be conducted as a virtual reading group, where they will work through each of Nietzsche's books at a rate of approximately one aphorism per day (or four shorter maxims a day).

Carlos has begun with the text of Twilight of the Idols and invites other interested readers to comment on the reading by visiting the comment box at the bottom of each aphorism's page (which can be visited by clicking "read more" or by clicking on the title of the relevant aphorism).

The website for the reading group is:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dirk Johnson on Nietzsche's Anti-Darwinism

I haven't read this book, but I was just reading Ansell-Pearson's review, in which he writes:

The fundamental claim of this book is that we will not properly understand
Nietzsche until we understand the main polemical target of his philosophizing.
This target, the author wants to demonstrate, is the evolutionary naturalism of
Darwin: “Nietzsche’s philosophy in his final years was premised on a fundamental
anti-Darwinism” (p. 203)....According to Paul S. Loeb, who provides the puff on
the back cover, the balanced and careful examination the book offers of this
crucial test case, “results in a powerful critique of the prevalent naturalistic
approach to Nietzsche.” In short, instead of trying to co-opt Nietzsche for
fashionable projects we need to respect the independence of his philosophical

This is puzzling. Who, apart from Richardson in the 2004 book, reads Nietzsche as a systematically Darwinian naturalist? There are obvious Darwinian themes here and there in Nietzsche (as in his critique of Paul Ree, or his Lamarckianism), but I'm not aware of anyone other than Richardson reading Nietzsche as fundamentally a Darwinian naturalist. Ansell-Pearson suggests that this ambiguity infects the book: "There is, however, an ambiguity at the heart of Johnson’s book that is never satisfactorily resolved: is the suggestion that Nietzsche is not at all a naturalist, or is it that he needs to be liberated from his entanglement with a fashionable Darwinism?"

Thoughts from readers who have read the book? Is it confused as Ansell-Pearson implies? And is it worth reading? Signed comments, as usual, will be strongly preferred.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Nietzsche and Moral Psychology" Syllabus

Here's the 95% complete syllabus (which incorporates a couple of good suggestions from longtime reader Rob Sica).

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

On-Line Nietzsche Articles from EJP

European Journal of Philosophy has made available on-line articles they have published on Nietzsche over the last (not quite) 20 years. I especially recommend the debate between Hussain and Clark & Dudrick; also the papers by Anderson, Katsafanas (which we have discussed previously), Geuss's "Nietzsche and Genealogy" essay (which is in our OUP Reading volume on Nietzsche), the old Williams essay (which is slight, but useful), and the important paper by Risse on the 2nd Essay of GM, which has generated a lot of discussion.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Draft Syllabus for "Nietzsche and Moral Pychology"

The draft syllabus for the seminar Michael Forster and I are offering in Spring is on-line here. Our first session is Tuesday, March 29, and we will be discussing the first three chapters of the Prinz book; Jesse will visit the seminar the following week (and we'll also do Chapter 4 of his book), and after that we will begin with the Nietzsche readings proper. Please also read my paper "Nietzsche's Naturalism Reconsidered" by April 12.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Nietzsche and Empirical Psychology

I'll have an essay on the topic in the March 4, 2011 Times Literary Supplement. If they put it on-line, I'll post a link.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sales of academic books

I just got my latest OUP royalties statement, and thought readers might find this interesting (or instructive or maybe depressing). The co-edited Nietzsche and Morality book (2007) that I did with Neil Sinhababu has sold over 1200 copies, since publication (805 hardcover, 450 paper, and 1 e-book). The old OUP Readings volume on Nietzsche I did with John Richardsonn back in 2001 has lifetime sales of nearly 2,400 (all paperback, no hardcover edition). The more recent Oxford Handbook of Continental Philosophy (edited with Michael Rosen, 2007) has sold an amazing 560 copies in hardcover (amazing given the price) and nearly 500 copies in paperback. What bears emphasizing is that these are good sales figures in academia. Nietzsche sells!

(My Routledge Nietzsche on Morality has sold around 5,000 copies since 2002, though I haven't seen recent sales data on it. So that's a regular "best-seller"!)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Brian Leiter dot net

Many of you have probably seen my new personal homepage via my philosophy blog, but just in case not here it is. The 'video and audio' section includes links to some podcasts and radio programs I've done about Nietzsche that might be of interest to some readers.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Me and Peter Poellner at the Nietzsche Society Meeting in Oxford in 2009

Here, courtesy of Babette Babich. Not sure why I look so unhappy, I always enjoy talking to Peter. He must have been saying something really serious!