Strangers to ourselves: a Nietzschean challenge to the badness of suffering

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Abstract
Is suffering really bad? The late Derek Parfit argued that we all have reasons to want to avoid future agony and that suffering is in itself bad both for the one who suffers and impersonally. Nietzsche denied that suffering was intrinsically bad and that its value could even be impersonal. This paper has two aims. It argues against what I call ‘Realism about the Value of Suffering’ by drawing from a broadly Nietzschean debunking of our evaluative attitudes, showing that a recently influential response to the debunking challenge (the appeal to phenomenal introspection) fails. It also argues that a Nietzschean approach is well suited to support the challenge and is bolstered by the empirical literature. As strangers to ourselves, we cannot know whether suffering is really intrinsically bad for us.
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Archival date: 2021-01-08
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2021-01-08

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