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