Nietzsche's Humean (All-Too-Humean) Theory of Motivation
Neil Sinhababu (National University of Singapore)

August 2, 2016, 4:00pm - 5:30pm
European Philosophy and the History of Ideas Research Group (EPHI), Deakin University

221 Burwood Hwy
Burwood 3125


  • School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Deakin University


I describe how Nietzsche joins Hume in defending the view that desire drives all human action and practical reasoning. This shared view of motivation gave them both an appreciation of the continuity between human and animal motivation, and set them against long tradition of rationalist rivals including Kant and Plato. Kantians like Christine Korsgaard argue that our ability to reflectively endorse or reject options presented by desire demonstrates reason's ability to drive reasoning and action independently of desire. In Daybreak 109, Nietzsche provides a simpler Humean explanation of the phenomena that obstructs the ambitions of Kantian moral theory: reflective endorsement and rejection involve reflecting on one desire from the viewpoint of another.

Bio: Neil Sinhababu is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the National University of Singapore. His book about how desire explains action, thought, and feeling, Humean Nature, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. His previous work on this topic has appeared in Philosophical Review and Noûs. He has also published on philosophy of mind, epistemology, Nietzsche, and romantic relationships with people in other possible worlds. He received his Ph.D from the University of Texas at Austin and his B.A. from Harvard University.

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