Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jessica Berry

Second Advisor

Dan Weiskopf

Third Advisor

Neil Van Leeuwen


Friedrich Nietzsche thought that philosophers were deeply mistaken about the nature and sources of philosophical activity. Where others took themselves to be motivated by a desire to know the truth, Nietzsche charged that his fellow philosophers, motivated by a pathological set of psychological and physiological characteristics, did little more than sublimate and rationalize their own prejudices. In this thesis, I sketch out in further detail and defend the plausibility and significance of this Nietzschean diagnosis of philosophers. I argue that since Nietzsche’s view of philosophers both offers a compelling explanation of some phenomena in contemporary philosophical practice and, were it true, would have significant upshot for how and even whether philosophy should be practiced, we philosophers ought to begin taking it seriously.