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JNS 44:3 Abstracts

Part I: Nietzsche and Emerson

Benedetta Zavatta, “Historical sense as vice and virtue in Nietzsche's reading of Emerson”

Nietzsche was an avid reader of Emerson’s essays and their influence is discernible from his earliest philosophical writings through to his final philosophical works. Nietzsche’s copies of Emerson’s books are covered with traces of his reading, from underlinings, exclamation marks, question marks, and dog-eared pages to numerous annotations and philosophical comments written in the margins. I will use some of these to analyse the influence Emerson exerted on Nietzsche’s conception of history and historiography. The two authors can be considered ‘twin-souls’ in that they both praised the strengthening effects of past greatness while, at the same time, opposing psychological subjugation or fanaticism. Nevertheless, they were not twin minds: Nietzsche rejected Emerson’s metaphysical concept of an Oversoul and turned it into the ideal of a Dionysian soul, which aims at reliving the history of humanity in order to increase its power.

“Emerson-Exemplar: Friedrich Nietzsche’s Emerson Marginalia and Excerpts,” translated with an introduction by Mason Golden

Nietzsche once remarked of Emerson's Essays, "never have I felt so much at home in a book." Indeed, throughout his intellectual life, Nietzsche returned to Emerson more than any other author. This text is a presentation, for the first time in English, of Nietzsche's Emerson marginalia of 1881, along with those passages that he copied, with variations and abridgments, from Emerson's Versuche (Essays) into a separate notebook in January of 1882. For context, I have included in my notes brief passages from the German translation alongside Emerson's original that bear the most direct relevance to the texts here presented. Often these are passages Nietzsche himself underlined. With particular attention to the German translation Nietzsche was reading, I demonstrate in my introduction critical ways in which Emerson provoked Nietzsche's thought, and articulate what I take to be the basis of Nietzsche's deep and abiding affinity with the American thinker.

Part II: Proceedings from the North American Nietzsche Society

William M. Beals, “Internalization and Its Consequences”

Internalization is an important yet puzzling and under-theorized element in Nietzsche’s moral psychology. The aim of this paper is to resolve some textual puzzles by way of shedding light on Nietzsche’s views on the general nature of internalization, and how it relates to other significant concepts deployed in his thought: such as bad conscience, the pathos of distance, the will to power, and the ascetic ideal. I begin by providing a brief interpretation of internalization that is somewhat more perspicuous than exists in the literature. I then make a case for the claim that the consequences of internalization are dependent upon the nature of the attitudes that get redirected inward. This insight allows us to explain why Nietzsche does not give a uniform account of all instances of internalization, and provides resources to give a richer and more satisfying interpretation of his moral psychological and ethical thought.

Ian Dunkle, “Morality Makes Me Sick: A Criticism of Brian Leiter’s Treatment of Health in Nietzsche”

In this paper, the author offers a reconstruction and criticism of Brian Leiter's interpretation of Nietzsche's criticism of conventional morality in Nietzsche on Morality. Leiter's interpretation is said to falter because it attributes to Nietzsche an implausible combination of positions. First, Nietzsche is said to be a value anti-realist. But he is also said to defer to the value of the flourishing of his audience, who are limited to a certain subset of “higher” humans. The author argues that, in spite of Leiter's attempt to defend this view, he ultimately fails to explain how Nietzsche can be confident in the normative force of the higher humans' flourishing and, so, his criticism of morality. Since the author takes the problems of Leiter's reading to bear on a prevalent general reading of Nietzsche, the author concludes with a brief sketch of a plausible alternative.

Alfano, “Nietzsche, Naturalism, and the Tenacity of the Intentional”

Nietzsche’s most insightful contribution to the naturalistic project in philosophicalpsychology is not methodological but substantive: he discovered an important truth about the dynamics of psychological states, which I here dub the tenacity of the intentional. According to the tenacity thesis, when an intentional state loses its object, a new object replaces the original; the state does not disappear entirely. This interpretation is supported by and helps to tie together the three essays of the Genealogy. The paper concludes by contextualizing the tenacity thesis within Nietzsche’s doctrine of the will to power.

Joshua Andresen, “Nietzsche, Naturalism, and Falsification”

This essay focuses on one of Nietzsche’s greatest challenges to our understanding of perception and cognition: his so-called “falsification thesis.” I argue that despite several innovative and insightful attempts to understand Nietzsche’s claims about falsification, they havefailed because they have not made an adequate connection between Nietzsche’s falsification claims and his naturalistic account of the development of human cognition. Nietzsche’s most important insight is that the basic falsifications and simplifications of sensation and language are not only often quite useful but also the cornerstone of knowledge and science. The central implications that follow are that cognition can succeed without correspondence between mind and world and that the standard assumption thought to be absolutely indispensable for science, that the world is fundamentally ordered, or a cosmos, is unnecessary. That is, Nietzsche’s naturalism explains how we may have knowledge and successfully pursue science withoutavoiding falsification altogether.