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Agency and the Foundations of Ethics: Nietzschean Constitutivism Hardcover – May 5, 2013

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Agency and the Foundations of Ethics: Nietzschean Constitutivism + Nietzsche: Life as Literature + The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (May 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199645078
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199645077
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


impressive and important... a comprehensive examination of constitutivism in ethics, including a lucid exposition and critical discussion of previous constitutivist theories, as well as a novel version of constitutivism that draws on developments in previously untapped areas... The writing is consistently clear, the argumentation reliably rigorous... The book is a valuable read not only for those interested in constitutivism, but also for anyone with a serious interest in ethical theory, philosophy of action, moral psychology, and Nietzsche studies more broadly. Alex Silk, Notre Dame Philosophical Studies Katsafanas's thesis is novel and imaginative, both in itself and as a reading of Nietzsche. David Owens, The TLS

About the Author

Paul Katsafanas is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Boston University. He works in ethics, action theory, and nineteenth-century philosophy.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sam P. on August 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'd recommend this book to anyone with a background in analytic philosophy and an interest in ethics, meta-ethics, or Nietzsche studies. I especially encourage anyone with an interest in ethical constitutivism to pick it up: it offers what amounts to the third complete ethical constitutivist view in contemporary analytic philosophy.

Most all of what I have to say is positive. Kastafanas' writing is lucid and readable. His use of Nietzsche seems very careful and appropriate. (There is a trend, I think, for contemporary philosophers to offer analyses of historical figures that *bend* these figures to make them more amenable to whatever theory the contemporary philosopher is advocating; Kastafanas, with what seems to me a genuine concern with getting Nietzsche right, bucks this trend. ) His objections to Korsgaard and Velleman - the other two contemporary philosophers will fully articulated constitutivist views - are incisive and interesting, and his analysis of where the Kantian/Lockean view of deliberation goes wrong is compelling.

I have only one mildly critical point to make: interestingly, Kastafanas' form of constitutivism does not accomplish quite as much as one might have hoped. Whereas many think that constitutivism could potentially explain normativity itself, Kastafanas' constitutivism aspires only to explain the universality of moral norms; it's compatible with meta-ethical theories like expressivism. And as it turns out, the sorts of universal norms Kastafanas' form of constitutivism can clearly explain are not the sorts of norms we generally take to be moral.
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