Guest talk: “The Skeptical Nature of Nietzsche’s ‘Immoralism'” by Jessica Berry ’94

Jessica Berry will be speaking about “The Skeptical Nature of Nietzsche’s ‘Immoralism'” tomorrow (Thursday) at 5:30pm in Trimble Forum.

Jessica Berry graduated from Puget Sound with a major in philosophy and a concentration in classics in 1994.  She got her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin.  She is currently Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgia State University.  Her work is focused on the philosophical influence of Ancient Greek philosophy on 19th century German philosophy, especially on Nietzsche.  Her book Nietzsche and the Ancient Skeptical Tradition was published in 2011 by Oxford University Press.  BerryBook

“The Skeptical Nature of Nietzsche’s ‘Immoralism'”
by Jessica Berry ’94
November 14, 2013
5:30pm – Trimble Forum

You can find out more about Jessica Berry and her work by looking at her faculty page at Georgia State and a recent interview in 3AM Magazine where she discusses her work (and her time at Puget Sound).

Talk Abstract: In this paper, I aim to do three things: first, to present some positive reasons (historical, textual and philosophical) for thinking that the Pyrrhonian skeptics exhibit an attitude toward morality (really, an attitude toward moralizing) that is echoed in Nietzsche’s thought and provides for us the best possible model on which to understand his “approach” to ethics–namely, as a retreat from ethics and from the entire enterprise of philosophizing about morality (an enterprise that turns out to be irreducibly moral). Second, I aim to clarify the kind of skepticism at issue, since it has become popular to read Nietzsche as a moral skeptic in the contemporary sense–that is, as a moral anti-realist. And finally, I will demonstrate how Pyrrhonism–the hallmark of which is just suspension of judgmen–could be construed as so dangerous as to merit the ominous title of “immoralism” and how the charges leveled against it even in antiquity reveal in its opponents precisely the symptoms of decadence and sickness that Nietzsche aligns himself against, from the beginning of his career to its end.

Jessica Berry’s visit is funded by the Catherine Chism Fund, the Department of Classics, the Humanities Program, and the Department of Philosophy.

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