Is Punishment Morally Justified? Developing Nietzsche's Critique of Compatibilism in The Wanderer and His Shadow, Section 23

Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2 (3):420-436 (2016)
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Abstract

ABSTRACT:Nietzsche is mostly known for denying moral responsibility on account of lack of libertarian free will, thus betraying an incompatibilist approach to moral responsibility. In this paper, however, I focus on a different, less familiar argument by Nietzsche, one that I interpret as a critique of a compatibilist conception of moral responsibility. The critique shows why punishment and our moral sanctions in general are morally unjustified by the compatibilist's own lights. In addition, I articulate what I call Nietzsche's explanatory challenge, which challenges the compatibilist to explain the performance of an immoral action without appealing to conditions that would exempt or excuse the wrongdoer or otherwise relieve the wrongdoer from responsibility and would thus make punishing the wrongdoer morally unjustified. By drawing on the work of R. Jay Wallace, I reconstruct Nietzsche's anticompatibilist argument and defend it against four possible objections.

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Guy Elgat
Northwestern University

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References found in this work

Nietzsche on Morality.Brian Leiter - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3):729-740.
Semicompatibilism and Its Rivals.John Martin Fischer - 2012 - The Journal of Ethics 16 (2):117-143.
Nietzsche's theory of the will.Brian Leiter - 2007 - Philosophers' Imprint 7:1-15.

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