Author Information

Angel Cooper


One of the most well known, but deeply debated, ideas presented by the philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, is the will to power. Scholars have provided a variety of interpretations for what Nietzsche means by this concept. In this paper, I argue that, under each interpretation, Nietzsche may still face what I call, the problem of moral chaos, or the problem of endorsing the claim that immoral acts, such as murder and torture, are justifiable as they exemplify the human will towards power over others. I ultimately argue that Nietzsche’s philosophy avoids this problem: though Nietzsche proposes it is possible to harm others as a way to power, we should not direct our will to power in this manner. To illustrate this point, I investigate common interpretations of the will to power, arguing that the psychological interpretation is the most compelling. From here, I demonstrate through Nietzsche’s passages that he clearly inspires humanity to direct the will to power towards individual inner growth, and not as a form of domination. Therefore, Nietzsche does not fall into the problem of moral chaos.

Note on the Author

Angel Cooper is a senior, majoring in Philosophy and English. This research began in the summer of 2009 as an Adrian Tinsley Program Summer Grant project under the mentorship of Dr. William J. Devlin. Angel has presented her research at the2009 Adrian Tinsley Summer Research Symposium and will be further presenting her research at the Undergraduate Mid-South Philosophy Conference.

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