One of the most fundamental things a philosopher does is to ask why. When someone says “you should do x” or “y is good,” it seems to me, the true lover of wisdom needs to ask why this is the case. If someone tells me I should do something and can’t provide a reason, I see this as grounds for questioning whether it really is something I should do at all. Nietzsche, if he does nothing else, shows us that the things we take as obvious may well not be so.
So what happens when we try to take our reasons all the way down? When we continue asking why we should do anything? We begin to get to a complex meta-ethical question: what constitutes a reason for action? What is it to have a reason to do something? (Warning: this will be an abstract and theoretical post, but it is important to fundamental questions like why we should do anything at all.) Continue reading