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The Expressivist Nietzsche

The Expressivist Nietzsche

(p.219) 10 The Expressivist Nietzsche
Robert B. Pippin
University of Chicago Press

I attempt here to clarify the understanding of human agency that I attribute to Nietzsche in my book, Nietzsche, Psychology, First Philosophy. A central issue concerns what Nietzsche means in Genealogy I, 13, in his famous “lightning-flash” metaphor. I argue that the task posed to us by this passage, which appears to deny the basic presupposition of the notion of agency - a distinction between the doer, as instigator of the bodily movement, and deed - is to understand it in way that is consistent with Nietzsche’s genealogies and critiques, all of which involve psychological explanations, and so a psychological model of motivated agency. Against objections that have been raised against my account, I defend the claim that Nietzsche proposes an “expressivist” account that preserves the notion of agency.

Keywords:   agency, lightning flash metaphor, doer deed relation, French moralists, Arthur Schopenhauer, forensic account, eros, Plato, Socrates, John Haugeland

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