McNair Symposium, Aug 13

Kaushal Raju, one of our German majors (and Philosophy double-major), is presenting a version of his honors thesis titled: "A Rejection of Consequentialist Readings of Nietzsche’s 'Immoralism'" at the 2004 McNair Symposium here on campus.

You are all invited to attend his talk on Friday, August 13 from 4:10-5:40 p.m. in room 235 Dwinelle. His presentation will be for 20 mins (15 mins talk + 5 mins for Q&A), during the above mentioned session time.


Despite the fact that Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) reacted strongly against John Stuart Mills version of Utilitarianism, scholars such as Steven Hales (1995) and Ivan Soll (1994) continue to interpret Nietzsche, like Mill, as a consequentialist. This paper argues that consequentialism was not the central moral view that Nietzsche espoused. I make my case by raising two essential features of his affirmative ethics that such consequentialist readings overlook: (1) They fail to realize that Nietzsches reflections on ethics are not directed towards an erection of a universally valid morality and (2) they ignore the crucial distinctions between agents that are indispensable in understanding anything about Nietzsches ethics. In order to rescue Nietzsche’s ethics from the consequentialist readings ascribed to it, I contrast Nietzsche’s own views from the works of the English Psychologists of his time, i.e. John Stuart Mills Utilitarianism (1861), Paul Rees On the Origin of Moral Sensations (1877) and Herbert Spencers The Data of Ethics (1879). After rejecting the consequentialist readings of Nietzsches immoralism I conclude by suggesting that the Nietzschean ontology and ethics can be better understood in the framework of virtue ethics recently articulated by Christina Swanton (2003).

Other papers that will be presented during the same session include Jin S. Lee’s (University of California at Berkeley) presentation: “The Will to Truth in Nietzsche”.