Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Stephen Turner, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brook Sadler, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Alex Levine, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael Morris, Ph.D.


Agency, Ethics, Naturalism, Nietzsche, Normativity, Science


In this dissertation I set out to address the “scope problem” in Nietzsche scholarship. In the secondary literature, the scope problem is characterized as a problem for Nietzsche, who seems deeply skeptical about nearly every item of his inherited western metaphysical toolkit. If his skepticism about western metaphysics penetrates all dimensions of his thought, how can he motivate a reader to also reject western metaphysics without himself committing to some of it? I stipulate that answering the scope problem means explicating what Nietzsche views as the general source of normativity—it is there that we can understand the resources Nietzsche is committing himself to, and the ones he rejects. I examine Leiter’s solution to this problem, which assigns science as the general source of normativity. However, Leiter’s solution depends on textual pedigree that I argue is inconsistent with the texts themselves. I argue that the normativity of science, instead of being the source of general normativity, represents an order of normativity for Nietzsche—but it is not ordered generally. I look to GS 341 to analyze “eternal recurrence,” and argue that an expression of Nietzsche’s “higher morality” can be located in the passage. Higher morality, I argue, places the general source of normativity in the value the reader places on her life. This account of higher morality solves the scope problem by narrowing it to readers who already accept or embrace the challenge of placing a level of value on their life commensurate with eternal recurrence.