Recent & forthcoming research projects
Nietzsche's Philosophy of the Free Spirit. Edited by Rebecca Bamford. London: Rowman & Littlefield International.
A major collection of essays by a panel of leading Nietzsche scholars exploring Nietzsche's philosophy of the free spirit. Written by leading Nietzsche scholars from Europe and North America, the essays in this book explore topics such as: the kind of freedom practiced by the free spirit; the free spirit's relation to truth; the play between laughter and seriousness in the free spirit period texts; integrity and the free spirit; health and the free spirit; the free spirit and cosmopolitanism; and the figure of the free spirit in Nietzsche's later writings. This book fills a significant gap in the available literature.
More information is available here. Buy the book via Amazon.com here.
2019 (in press). "The relationship between science and philosophy as a key feature of Nietzsche’s metaphilosophy," in Nietzsche’s Metaphilosophy: The Nature, Method, and Aims of Philosophy, edited by Matthew Meyer and Paul S. Loeb. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. I clarify Nietzsche’s approach to the relationship between philosophy and the natural and physical sciences. I treat the relationship between Nietzsche and the sciences in his free spirit writings as a key aspect of Nietzsche’s metaphilosophy, on the basis that our understanding of how philosophy ought to be done rests in significant part on whether or not we agree that the sciences must inform, or constrain, philosophical investigations in at least some respects.
2019. "Experimentation, Curiosity, and Forgetting." Journal of Nietzsche Studies 50.1: 11-32. I examine how curiosity is grounded in Nietzsche’s critique of customary morality. I argue that Nietzsche’s positive account of active forgetting is compatible with his treatment of curiosity as a key virtue, and that it can be shown to actively support curiosity. To support the latter claim, I suggest that Nietzschean memorial courtesy can be defined as the application of politeness about memory toward ourselves, toward others, or with regard to specific matters of inquiry.
2018. "Dawn." In The Nietzschean Mind, edited by Paul Katsafanas, 37-52. New York: Routledge.
I provide an overview of Nietzsche's ethics in Dawn. I begin with an account of Nietzsche's critiques of customary morality, and of pity and compassion. In contrast to Nietzsche's critical engagement with modern morality, I lay out an account of Nietzsche's positive, experimental, approach to the ethical. Throughout, I examine the key role of mood and its social transmission in sustaining both modern morality and Nietzsche's experimental alternative.
2017. "Distributed Survival." AJOB-Neuroscience 8(3): 183-184.
Jecker and Ko’s (2017) adoption of a narrative approach to identity has the potential to help patients, families, and professional caregivers to improve neurosurgical intervention care as well as the patient experience. I am sympathetic to their account, but in this essay, I argue that their argument would benefit from incorporating further attention to (i) distributed cognition and (ii) the complexity of loving relationships.
2016. “The ethos of inquiry: Nietzsche on experience, naturalism, and experimentalism.” Journal of Nietzsche Studies 47(1): 9-29.
In this paper I examine Nietzsche’s experimentalism, treating this as a naturalist feature of his wider philosophical concerns. I focus predominantly on Nietzsche’s presentation of remarks on experimentation in Dawn and in The Gay Science. Through analyzing the role played by the concept of experience within Nietzsche’s experimentalism, I show that experimentalism is both a strategy for philosophical engagement, and a form of virtue. In so doing, I clarify the relevance of experimentalism to scientific inquiry and to ethics in Nietzsche’s wider philosophy.
2015. “‘Moraline-Acid-Free’ Virtue: The Case of Free Death,” Journal of Value Inquiry 49(3), 437-451.
In this paper I examine Nietzsche's view of virtues as life-affirming, and explore the significance of Nietzsche's account of life-affirming virtues to contemporary bioethics. My focus in the paper is on the relevance of death to understanding virtues as life-affirming. Following previous work by Paul S. Loeb, I show why, for Nietzsche, death may plausibly be understood as life-affirming - at least under certain specific conditions. In light of this, I suggest that Nietzsche's thinking on virtuous death may prove useful to contemporary bioethicists' efforts to make it clear why physician-assisted dying need not be opposed to the aim of medicine understood as the promotion of well-being.
2015. “Unrequited: Neurochemical enhancement of love.” Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 24(3), 55-60.
I raise several concerns with Earp and colleagues' analysis of enhancement through neurochemical modulation of love as a key issue in contemporary neuroethics. These include: (i) strengthening their deflation of medicalization concerns by showing how the objection that love should be left outside of the scope of medicine would directly undermine the goal of medicine; (ii) developing stronger analysis of the social and political concerns relevant to neurochemical modulation of love, by exploring and suggesting possible counters to ways in which 'wellbeing' may be used as a tool of oppression; (iii) providing reasons to support a broad need for ecological investigation of, and indeed ecological education concerning, neuro- technology; (iv) suggesting ways in which philosophy, and the humanities more broadly, remain directly relevant to responding effectively to issues in contemporary neuroethics.
James Tiberius Kitten, 2001-2016
Friend; philosopher; senior research assistant.