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PHL lecture, mar. 1.doc

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Peter King

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Nietzsche: Moral Mechanics • Treatise 2 is deconstructing moral agency o Tries to show the genealogy behind moral agency  What it takes, historically, to develop a human being who is capable of moral action  Answer: “We modern humans are the heirs of millennia of conscience-vivisection and cruelty to the animal-self” (24) • Holds that the real achievement in developing moral agency is in creating an animal permitted to promise (1). o An achievement because by nature we (and most animals) are inclined to forgetfulness, which is, an integral part of our psychological health o The foundation for moral agency, since it is at the root of responsibility o Unless we can be calculable, regular, able to foresee and determine our behaviour in advance, we cannot be moral agents o Upshot we become “sovereign individuals” we need to look at the mechanics of forgetting/remembering and especially what they have to do with the evolution of our moral selves • Memory works via pain (in “blood, torment, sacrifice” [3]) o We remember things because it hurts not to remember them o Evident in training animals  We can learn through rewards but we learn much more quickly through pain  Main topic in Treatise 2: punishment • The vehicle through which pain is administered • Rejects two common theories of punishment o First that punishment is meant to be retributive (4) o Second that it is meant to induce proper guilt and remorse (14) o Maintains punishment originates in something like disinterested malice, the enjoyment of not having to care about the pain suffered by the victim, and in
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