Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (pron.: /ˈniːtʃə/; German: [ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈvɪlhɛlm ˈniːt͡sʃə]; October 15, 1844 -- August 25, 1900) was a German philosopher, poet, composer, cultural critic, and classical philologist. He wrote critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy, and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony, and aphorism.
Nietzsche's key ideas include the "death of God", the Übermensch, the eternal recurrence, the Apollonian and Dionysian dichotomy, perspectivism, and the will to power. Central to his philosophy is the idea of "life-affirmation", which involves questioning of all doctrines that drain life's expansive energies, however socially prevalent and radical those views might be. His influence remains substantial within philosophy, notably in existentialism, post-modernism, and post-structuralism, as well as outside it. His radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth has been the focus of extensive commentary, especially in the continental tradition.
Morality (from the Latin moralitas "manner, character, proper behavior") is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are "good" (or right) and those that are "bad" (or wrong). The philosophy of morality is ethics. A moral code is a system of morality (according to a particular philosophy, religion, culture, etc.) and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code. Morality may also be specifically synonymous with "goodness" or "rightness." Immorality is the active opposition to morality (i.e. opposition to that which is good or right), while amorality is variously defined as an unawareness of, indifference toward, or disbelief in any set of moral standards or principles. An example of a moral code is the Golden Rule which states that, "One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself."
Brian Leiter was a visiting professor at the Law School in the fall of 2006 and joined the faculty July 1, 2008, simultaneously founding the Law School's Center for Law, Philosophy & Human Values. Prior to that, he taught for more than a dozen years at the University of Texas at Austin, where he was the youngest chairholder in the history of the law school. He has also been a Visiting Professor of Law or Philosophy at Yale University, University College London, University of Paris X-Nanterre, and Oxford University.
His teaching and research interests are in general jurisprudence (including its intersection with issues in metaphysics and epistemology), moral and political philosophy (in both Anglophone and Continental traditions), and the law of evidence. His books include Objectivity in Law and Morals (Cambridge, 2001), Nietzsche on Morality (Routledge, 2002), The Future for Philosophy (Oxford, 2004), Naturalizing Jurisprudence (Oxford, 2007), The Oxford Handbook of Continental Philosophy, and Why Tolerate Religion? (Princeton, 2013). He is presently working on projects in moral psychology and meta-ethics (often in relation to Nietzsche), on 'realism' as a theme in political and legal theory, and on philosophical issues about free speech.
Elucidations is a monthly philosophy podcast recorded at the University of Chicago. Each month, a prominent philosopher sits down with our graduate student co-hosts to talk about his or her latest work and areas of philosophical expertise. The podcast covers a wide range of topics from the theoretical to the practical (including including causation, metaphor, agency, religious freedom, and moral psychology) and explores a wide range of problems from the perennial to the cutting-edge (including skepticism and experimental philosophy). Elucidations is hosted by Matt Teichman, Mark Hopwood, Jaime Edwards and Alex Langlinais.
Episode 3: Brian Leiter discusses Nietzsche on Morality [09/2009]
Brian Leiter is John P. Wilson Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values at the University of Chicago. He specializes in general jurisprudence (including its intersection with issues in metaphysics and epistemology), moral and political philosophy (in both Anglophone and Continental traditions), and the law of evidence.
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