Nadeem J. Z. Hussain's Overview
Name:Nadeem J. Z. HussainTitle:Associate Professor of Philosophy and, by courtesy, of German StudiesDepartment:PhilosophyAdditional Appointments:Dean of the Freshman-Sophomore CollegeStanford Philosophy Department Member:YesAreas of Specialization:Metaethics; Philosophy of Action; Nineteenth-Century German PhilosophyEmail Address:Nadeem.Hussain@stanford.edu
ContactView All Contact InformationPrimary Phone:+1-650-725-9690Office Number (physical):100-101IOffice Hours:W 1-3Research Interests
I specialise in metaethics, the philosophy of action, and the history of nineteenth-century German philosophy. I am currently investigating contemporary criticisms of mainstream analytical metaethics and philosophy of action that draw their inspiration from the Kantian tradition. My hope is that a book will emerge from this. Meanwhile I continue to work on assessing different interpretations of Nietzsche views about metaethics and the nature of agency.Short Bio
I received my B.S. in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University in 1990. I then went to the Department of Philosophy at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I completed a Ph.D. there in 1999. I also spent the academic year of 1998-99 at Universität Bielefeld in Germany. I have been teaching at Stanford since 2000.
|Nadeem J. Z. Hussain||Metaethics and Nihilism in Reginster's The Affirmation of Life
In Journal of Nietzsche Studies 43, no. 1 (2012): 99-117.
Bernard Reginster, in his book The Affirmation of Life: Nietzsche on Overcoming Nihilism, takes up the challenge of figuring out what Nietzsche might mean by nihilism and the revaluation of values. He argues that there is an alternative, normative subjectivist interpretation of Nietzsche's views on nihilism and revaluation that makes as much sense as—indeed, he often clearly leans toward thinking that it makes more sense than—a fictionalist reading...
|Nadeem J. Z. Hussain||Nietzsche and Non-Cognitivism
In Nietzsche, Naturalism & Normativity, edited by Simon Robertson and Christopher Janaway, 111-132. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
Though Nietzsche traditionally often used to be interpreted as a nihilist, a range of possible metaethical interpretations, including varieties of realism, subjectivism and fictionalism, have emerged in the secondary literature. Recently the possibility that Nietzsche is a non-cognitivist has been broached. If one sees Hume as a central non-cognitivist figure, as recent...
|Nadeem J. Z. Hussain||A Problem for Ambitious Metanormative Constructivism
In Constructivism in Practical Philosophy, edited by J. Lenman and Y. Shemmer, 180-194. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
We can distinguish between ambitious metanormative constructivism and a variety of other constructivist projects in ethics and metaethics. Ambitious metanormative constructivism is the project of either developing a type of new metanormative theory, worthy of the label “constructivism”, that is distinct from the existing types of metaethical, or metanormative, theories already on...
|Nadeem J. Z. Hussain||Metaethics and Its Discontents: A Case Study of Kosgaard
Co-authored with Nishi Shah, Department of Philosophy, Amhest College.
To appear in Moral Constructivism: For and Against, edited by Carla Bagnoli. Cambridge University Press.
The maturing of metaethics has been accompanied by widespread, but relatively unarticulated, discontent that mainstream metaethics is fundamentally on the wrong track. The malcontents we have in mind do not simply champion a competitor to the likes of noncognitivism or realism; they disapprove of the supposed presuppositions of the...
|Nadeem J. Z. Hussain||The Role of Life in the Genealogy
In The Cambridge Critical Guide to Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morality, edited by Simon May, 142-69. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
In The Genealogy of Morality Nietzsche assesses the value of the value judgments of morality from the perspective of human flourishing. His positive descriptions of the “higher men” he hopes for and the negative descriptions of the decadent humans he thinks morality unfortunately supports both point to a particular substantive conception of what such flourishing...
|Nadeem J. Z. Hussain||Nietzsche's Metaethical Stance
Forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Nietzsche edited by Ken Gemes and John Richardson.
If we think in terms of mainstream, "analytic" classifications of metaethical theories, then basically every major type of metaethical theory has been ascribed to Nietzsche. In one of the first attempts to assess Nietzsche’s views on foundational questions in value theory in the light of contemporary metaethics, John Wilcox writes:
The term "metaethics" was coined after...
|Nadeem J. Z. Hussain||Error Theory and Fictionalism
This paper surveys contemporary accounts of error theory and fictionalism. It introduces these categories to those new to metaethics by beginning with moral nihilism, the view that nothing really is right or wrong. One main motivation is that the scientific worldview seems to have no place for rightness or wrongness. Within contemporary metaethics there is a family of theories that makes similar claims. These...
|Nadeem J. Z. Hussain||Eternal Recurrence and Nihilism: Adding Weight to the Unbearable Lightness of Action
I have argued elsewhere for ascribing an error theory about all normative and evaluative judgements to Nietzsche. Such a nihilism brings with it a puzzle: how could we—or at least the select few of us being addressed by Nietzsche—continue in the face of this nihilism? This is a philosophical puzzle and so, defeasibly, an interpretive puzzle. If there is no theory it would make sense for Nietzsche to have about how the select few could go on, then this is some evidence against the proposed...
|Nadeem J. Z. Hussain||Individual User Manual for Website
|Nadeem J. Z. Hussain||Honest Illusion: Valuing for Nietzsche's Free Spirits
Chosen for the Philosopher's Annual 2008 as one of the ten best philosophy articles published in 2007.
In his blog posting, "Is Nietzsche a Fictionalist?", Brian Leiter provides a detailed critique of this paper.
There is a widespread, popular view—and one I basically endorse—that Nietzsche is, in one sense of the word, a nihilist. As Arthur Danto put it some time...