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The Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Nietzsche On Morality (Routledge Philosophy Guidebooks) Paperback – 27 Jun 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (27 Jun. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415152852
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415152853
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 589,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'The most important full length study to date of Nietzsche's primary text on the subject. The books sets the standard by which future treatments of this subject matter will be measured and I expect it to be a primary point of reference for discussions of Nietzsche and ethics for some time.' - Peter Poellner, University of Warwick; 'Leiter's book is both a major contribution to Nietzsche studies and a very helpful guide for students to Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morality'-Maudemarie Clark, Colgate University, USA

About the Author

Brian Leiter is Charles I. Francis Professor of Law and Philosophy at the UNiversity of Texas at Austin.

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A familiar, yet still curious, feature of Nietzsche's reception over the last century is that figures with radically divergent views and methodologies all claim the mantle of his influence. Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By radar maker on 21 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It took a long time, but over the last two decades or so, Anglo-American philosophers have begun to take Nietzsche's philosophical thought seriously. Brian Leiter's book is one of the major contributions to that development - it argues for an interpretation of Nietzsche that is clear, persuasive and well-supported with textual evidence. The book contains quite a few swipes at what Leiter views as the incoherence and misinterpretation endemic in the readings of Nietzsche by Heidegger, Foucault and Alexander Nehemas. In my own view, they're least justified in the latter case, but wholly so in the former two. The book is focused specifically on Nietzsche's 'On the Genealogy of Morality', and is best read in tandem with that work. You don't have to agree with every part of Leiter's book to nevertheless view it as a model of scholarship. It is clear, precise and engaging. It is the best book of secondary literature on Nietzsche to start with; others out there are more challenging and more right (in my view), but this is the best one to get first.

All that said, beware that Leiter is currently in the process of preparing a second edition of the book, so unless you really need to buy the book for a course on Nietzsche it might be worth waiting for that to come out. It seems likely to be in the next year or two.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr. R. D. Owen on 2 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brian Leiter's book offers a reading of Nietzsche with which I disagree in most fundamentals. This should not, however, prevent one from recognizing that this is a serious and intelligent (if in my view also idiosyncratic) study which does not deserve to be simply dismissed; on the contrary, Leiter has performed a service to Nietzsche scholarship by articulating a bold and somewhat brash reading which calls on us to develop our own arguments aginst his and raise the standards of the debate. This task has been taken up in what is certainly the best book on the Genealogy, Chris Janaway's BEYOND SELFLESSNESS and resources for undermining Leiter can also be found in Reginster's excellent THE AFFIRMATION OF LIFE. But the preceding reviews don't grant Leiter enough credit for the argument he supplies for his view, In a way, Leiter's book should be required reading since it is in the detailed work of refuting his claims that a more interesting Nietzsche emerges.
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14 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Aug. 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a hilariously arrogant book that everybody even vaguely interested in how not to read Nietzsche should read, and then perhaps throw away. "Saving Nietzsche from himself...", Absolutely brilliant! Such incisive and ironical wit from Herr Leiter just leaps from every page of this magnificent mistake of a book. Just make sure that when you're reading it you disguise it with a comic book, otherwise your friends will think that you've lost your mind.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Very Clear Book on Nietzsche's View of Morality 28 Feb. 2007
By John Benintendi - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I must first confess that I am not a student of philosophy. I have become interested in the subject at the age of 38. I have now read books on Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hobbes, Hume and Schopenhauer. I have to admit that I don't think that I understand half of what I read. This is the reason why I don't read the actual work of the philosopher at this time. I need to understand a little more about the philosophy of the author before I can understand the actual works.

With that being said, I did read the Geneology of Morals by Nietzsche before I read the Guidebook. I was not sure I understand half of what Nietzsche had to say in the acutal work. Because I had read the actual work, I believe I got more out of the Guidebook. I would suggest reading the work first or at least each essay before that portion of the book.

The Guidebook is a very good book for a full and better understanding of Nietzsche's thoughts on morality. I was happy to learn that I understood more of the actual work than I thought I had. However, the Guidebook was a wonderful book to follow the reading of the actual work. Mr. Leiter has a wonderful way of explaining Nietzsche's writing. He is clear and concise and places the writing in its proper historical context.

If you are interested in Nietzsche's view of morality and don't quite understand it, then this book will assit you in that understanding. If you don't read the actual work, this book will still be clear enough so that you can understand Nietzsche's thoughts on morality.

I realize that some may not agree with Lieter's interpreation of Nietzsche's Geneology of Morality. However, in philosophy, I am not sure there is one correct way to interpret such writings. Therefore, in the end, this is one very good book on Nietzsche's morality.
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A review based on actually reading the book 31 Oct. 2002
By London student - Published on
Format: Paperback
...The book I read, which is unusually lucid
in its discussion of Nietzsche (and doesn't do anything to make
Nietzsche a syetematic moral philosopher like Kant!), in fact
contains detailed critical engagements with Nehamas, Nussbaum,
Clark, Ridley, and many other commentators. The line in the
preface which has our Californian so agitated is a reference to
the fact that there are almost no books on Nietzsche's moral
philosophy, which is true. I can think of only one, by Peter
Berkowitz, and it is fairly dreadful. In any case, I think
Maudemarie Clark, quoted on the dustjacket gets it about right:
"Leiter's book is both a major contribution to Nietzsche studies
and a very helpful guide for students." Cheers and happy reading!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Best Book on the Subject 15 Oct. 2008
By Thomas Llewellyn - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have read around 15 books on Nietzsche and this one is the best. It is fair-minded, well-organized, and thoroughly argued. The prose is lucid and the ideas are intelligent. Professor Leiter has made an outstanding contribution to Nietzsche scholarship. And I love his philosophy blog!
22 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Caution advised: two and a half stars 12 Jan. 2007
By civilized discontent - Published on
Format: Paperback
I can understand why many reviewers have found Leiter's Nietzsche accessible however I believe Leiter ultimately misleads his readers into believing that Nietzsche is in fact a ''classical realist''. Whilst such a metaphysical label may seem besides the point when dealing with Nietzsche's views on ethics readers should be advised that any reading of Nietzschean ''perspectivism'' will be highly significant in the interpretation of Nietzsche that follows, and and this is nowhere more clearly evidenced than in Leiter's ''guidebook''.

This is not to say that one should not read Leiter's book (which I had wanted to rate with two and a half stars) for it does supply a clear/jargon-free, if imperfect, reading of ''On the Genealogy of Morals'' as well as serving to introduce the reader to the contemporary contoversies surrounding exactly what Nietzsche's philosophical activity ammounts to.

Leiter's polemical interpretation is frequently dogmatic in its assertions, and in that it is aimed at undergraduates, and is written in an unambiguous analytical style, will no doubt prove highly influential to many budding students of philosophy. Knowing what undergraduates can be like I only hope that students coming to Nietzsche for the first time round will read Nietzsche themselves (don't forget his important prefaces) rather than simply viewing him through Leiter's ''lens''.

I advise reading both this book and Clark's ''Nietzsche on Truth and Philosophy'' (Clark's reading of Nietzsche as an empirical realist is similar to Leiter's, and both authors agree to a certain extent in their (mis)interpretations of GM III: 12 and TI: IV), alongside Schrift's ''Nietzsche and the Question of Interpretation'', Nehamas' ''Nietzsche: Life as Literature'', and Allison's introduction: ''Reading the New Nietzsche'' for balance. Of course whilst these texts will provide this balance for any academic study of Nietzsche you must read him for yourself (and preferably before you resort to commentary). I made the mistake of reading Schacht's detailed ''Nietzsche'' before reading Nietzsche himself which, despite also being a clear and detailed commentary on Nietzsche (in Routledge's ''Arguments of the Philosopher's'' series), initially misled me: it soon became clear that on reading Nietzsche's remarkable works all systematic, and often dogmatic, accounts of Nietzsche's ''philosophy'' eventually over-determine the primary texts - for this reason I find the pluralistic (not necessarily relativistic) commentaries of Nehamas, Allison and Schrift to be more appropriate interpretations.

However we read Nietzsche we should be aware that that he sought to expose the fundamentally perspectival nature of existence, and the Heraclitian, perpetual flux of becoming. How we understand this will dramatically effect the way we interpret Nietzsche, including how we understand his genealogy and psychology. Ultimately I believe that an unhasty reading of Nietzsche reveals a thinker very different from the one Leiter portrays in ''Nietzsche on Morality''. Best of luck.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A treasure 21 Dec. 2010
By freespirit - Published on
Format: Paperback
This work is a treasure for a Nietzsche scholar. Rigorous and lucid, it is the best available guidebook to Nietzsche's most important work - the Genealogy.
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