Honouring Nihilism —A Review of Ray Brassier’s Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction

Roy Goddard

Abstract


Ray Brassier’s Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction (2007) embraces nihilism as “a speculative opportunity.” In the first part of this review my focus is threefold: on the book’s opening chapter in which Brassier considers the claims for eliminative materialism, a radical position within the analytic philosophy of mind; his second chapter which examines Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment as exemplary of the tendency in Continental philosophy to denounce “untrammelled scientific rationalism”; and its final few pages in which Brassier gives shape to his notion of nihilism by means of “a cosmological re-inscription” of Freud’s speculations concerning the death-instinct. However, I refer to other sections of the book throughout. In the second part of the paper I discuss questions provoked by Brassier’s argument and conclude with a brief suggestion of its implications for education.  


Keywords


Educational alternatives; progressive education; alternative education; difference; educational theory; educational philosophy; home education; education policy

Full Text:

Click here for PDF

References


Adorno, T. W. & Horkheimer, M. (1997) Dialectic of Enlightenment. London: Verso.

Brassier, R. (2007). Nihil unbound: Enlightenment and extinction. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Brassier, R., & Rychter, M. (2011). Ray Brassier interviewed by Marcin Rychter: I am a nihilist because I still believe in truth. Retrievable from http://www.kronos.org.pl/index.php?23151,896

Caillois, R. (1988). L'Homme et le sacré. La Flèche: Folio/Essais

Churchland, P. M. (1981). Eliminative materialism and the propositional attitudes. The Journal of Philosophy, 78, (2), 67-90.

Deleuze, G. (1983). Nietzsche and philosophy. London: Athlone.

Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. (2004). Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. New York: Continuum.

Ennis, P. J. (2015). Anti-vitalism as a precondition for nihilism. In S. De Sanctis & A. Longo (Eds). Breaking the spell: Contemporary realism under discussion (pp. 19-29). Milan: Mimesis International.

Foucault, M. (1972). The archaeology of knowledge. London: Routledge.

Gasché, R. (2007). The honor of thinking: Critique, theory, philosophy. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Harman, G. (2010). Towards speculative realism: Essays and lectures. Ropley, Hants: Zero Books.

Hutto, D. D. (1999). The presence of mind. John Benjamins Publishing Co: Philadelphia.

Lyotard, J-F. (1991). The inhuman: Reflections on time. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Merrin, W. (2007) Myspace and Legendary Psychasthenia. Retrievable at http://mediastudies2point0.blogspot.co.uk/2007_09_01_archive.html

Nietzsche, F. (1873). On truth and lies in a nonmoral sense. Retrievable from: http://www2.fiu.edu/~harveyb/HI-NietzEssay.htm

Seoul Philosophy Club (no date). Eliminative materialism and the propositional attitudes. Retrievable from: https://seoulphilosophy.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/eliminative-materialism-and-the-propositional-attitudes-by-paul-churchland/

Toulmin, S. E. (1990). Cosmopolis: The hidden agenda of modernity. Chicago: Chicago Press.

Žižek, S. (no date). No sex please, we’re post-human! Retrievable from http://www.lacan.com/nosex.htm




...open to be different...

Other Education works in association with the following partners: http://www.othereducation.org/public/site/images/hel1/yorksj_logo_120

and is sponsored by the silence and mindfulness App Calm Me Down http://www.othereducation.org/public/site/images/hel1/apple_app_store_logo_131http://www.othereducation.org/public/site/images/hel1/google_play_icon_85

Please see copyright notice at the end of each published work for specifics.


ISSN: 2049-2162 © Other Business Ltd, 2012-2017. Other Education™ is a not-for-profit trading entity of Other Business Ltd whose registered office is: Bernard Rogers Accounting, Bank Gallery, High Street, Kenilworth. Registered in England: 08567212