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  • Guest Editors' IntroductionExamining Moral Emotions in Nietzsche with the Semantic Web Exploration Tool: Nietzsche
  • Mark Alfano and Marc Cheong


Five years ago, the Journal of Nietzsche Studies published a special issue on Nietzsche and the affects. In it, Aurelia Armstrong wrote generically about the passions, Michael Ure discussed Schadenfreude, Joanne Faulkner addressed disgust, and Joseph Kuzma focused on eroticism.1 In subsequent issues, authors have discussed love,2 emotion in general,3 resentment,4 compassion,5 honor and empathy,6 and affect in general.7 This special section on emotions and reactive attitudes is a chance to take stock of the progress we have made as a field, draw connections among the affects and emotions addressed in the secondary literature, and introduce new ideas and tools for future research.

If the articles here are any indication, we can point to three trends in the secondary literature, all of them welcome. First, authors have gotten more specific. Nietzsche himself engages with and expresses a diverse range of discrete emotions, and it is far from clear that they all have the same structure and function. For these reasons, we do well to reflect on specific emotions and their interrelations, rather than speaking of emotion or affect as a monolith. All five of the articles in this issue address specific emotions. Second, authors have shifted some of their attention from the prudential and moral to the epistemic. Despite the fact that he often puts emotions to epistemic use, not one of the articles mentioned above connects Nietzsche's thinking on emotion with his epistemology. By contrast, two of the five articles in this issue focus on the epistemic side of emotions. Third, authors [End Page 1] pay less attention to the Nachlass and more attention to the published and authorized manuscripts—including texts from D that were not translated in Kaufmann's Portable Nietzsche (1977) and that consequently received less engagement than they merit. While the contributions to this section do refer to the Nachlass, they make a point of giving priority to the published writings.

Contributions to This Issue

There are five articles in this special section. The first two address epistemic emotions in Nietzsche's philosophy. In "Experimentation, Curiosity, and Forgetting," Rebecca Bamford explores the Nietzschean virtue of curiosity, which is associated with the epistemic emotion of inquisitiveness. She argues that curiosity is best understood in the context of Nietzsche's "campaign against morality," which he associates with the figures of the free spirit and the philosophers of the future. Finding things out requires living experimentally, which in turn is opposed to the rigid strictures of traditional morality. Bamford also asks whether curiosity is compatible with Nietzsche's "positive account of active forgetting." She answers in the affirmative, suggesting that forgetting aids "memorial courtesy" toward both oneself and others, and that such courtesy or politeness assists rather than impedes inquiry.

The next article, by Rachel Cristy, is titled "'Being Just Is Always a Positive Attitude': Justice in Nietzsche's Virtue Epistemology." Her title is a quote from GM II:11, in which Nietzsche contrasts a notion of justice grounded in revenge and resentment, on the one hand, with his own notion of a virtue of justice that "is a piece of perfection and supreme mastery on earth." Cristy argues that Nietzschean justice is an epistemic rather than a practical virtue. It is a disposition, she says, to "give everything—every person, event, institution, or idea, past or present—its due: to accord it the correct amount of importance and value, credit and blame." And, according to Nietzsche, this epistemic activity is typically attended by "the pathos" of "the office of the judge" (HL 6), which foreshadows his later conception of perspectivism. In addition, like Bamford, Cristy associates epistemic virtues and emotions with the figure that Nietzsche sometimes calls the "philosopher of the future."

The next two articles focus primarily on the emotion of disgust. In "Nietzsche on Nausea," Gudrun von Tevenar argues that Nietzsche talks about and aims to induce in his readers "the affective force of nausea as part [End Page 2] of his effort to render his readers receptive" to changing their values. Disgust is instrumental to...


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