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Currently I'm writing a paper whose aim is to make comparative analysis of two ethical visions: that of Friedrich Nietzsche and that of Keiji Nishitani (Kyoto School associate). Early on, I made a distinction between modernist and postmodernist accounts of both Nietzsche and Nishitani and choosed to follow the modern one because it seemed to be more productive. In his paper on epistemology of Nietzsche, Karl Laderoute made a modern/postmodern division as well and put Brian Leiter in modernist camp. Not gonna lie, Leiter's reading appears to be very convincing with its clear structure and multitude of references to the original material (take his article on SEP as an example). But on the Internet, here and there I found some bits of critique that usually revolve around his misapprehension of some Nietzschean ideas and that a lot of his views on philosophy of law and religion are also quite misguided or contradict factual information.


With this in mind, does Nietzschean scholarship consider him credible? And if not fully, than what other modernist readings on Nietzsche's ethics can you recommend (besides obvious choice of Walter Kaufmann whom I've also employed)?

  • Do you have references to the "here and there" sources? – Frank Hubeny May 19 '18 at 14:42
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    @FrankHubeny Sure, here's one example: muse.jhu.edu/article/534481/summary By the way, I'm by no means a professional philosopher, so I might be wrong that he's somehow considered fallacious (and to get to know that is the point of my question). – ヨーゲン May 19 '18 at 15:24
  • ...Leiter's reading appears to be very convincing with its clear structure and multitude of references to the original material (take his article on SEP as an example)... Then I would say use Leiter. "Here and there" does not usually override "very convincing with it's clear structure etc. – Gordon May 19 '18 at 16:20
  • You can use Leiter and point out those who disagree with him on an issue in your paper itself, or in the endnotes, if it is even relevant to the topic of your paper. You say you have already employed Kaufman, so you are showing different points of view. Or you can check out sources mentioned by others here. – Gordon May 19 '18 at 16:35
  • @Gordon Great suggestion, I've never thought about such an approach. Thanks! – ヨーゲン May 19 '18 at 16:39
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My take here is that it’s better to focus on where the piece is published rather than who the author is. The reason is: even good scholars sometimes publish bad work. Thus, it’s best to look for and cite work only once it has been thoroughly vetted (anonymously) through the peer review system. But not all journals or publishing houses enforce the same high standards.

I’d expect the best work on Nietzsche to appear in journals like The European Journal of Philosophy, History of Philosophy Quarterly, or the new Journal of the American Philosophical Association, or the Journal of the History of Philosophy. I don’t know the German language journals well enough to comment, except to say that Archiv fur die Geschichte der Philosophie has a strong reputation. As far as publishing houses, I’d expect the best Nietzsche work to appear in books from Oxford or Cambridge University Press.

Also, for reference, Brian Leiter is a creditable scholar, because he has published in a lot of venues like these. John Richardson is another example of such a Nietzsche scholar who publishes in such places.

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In the interest of not making this about Leiter (since I'm having trouble framing any of that constructively)... Personally, I would suggest reading some other sources on Nietzsche. I'm favorable to Deleuze (Nietzsche and Philosophy) but Sloterdijk (Nietzsche Apostle), Klossowski (Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle) are really interesting takes as well. Spinoza's philosophy is curiously 'symmetric' to Nietzsche, as Deleuze hastens to elaborate; so perhaps he is another potential entrypoint into Nietzsche's singular point of view.

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