Nihilism is not an existential quandary but a speculative opportunity.

— Ray Brassier

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Like many, I suspect, I found the difficulty of analytic philosophy unglamorous and therefore less appealing. This is regrettably superficial but superficiality is characteristic of youth. In my late teens I became enamored of Nietzsche, Bataille, and Artaud.

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Consciousness is not the ineluctable starting point for self-understanding because there is a difference between being conscious and understanding oneself as a conscious being. The difference is between being in a certain state and knowing oneself to be in a certain state.

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I am a nihilist because I still believe in truth.

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Philosophy ought to be able to give an account of rationality that is not wholly detached from science's account of nature, even if it is not straightforwardly reducible to it.

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It was Kant who first rejected the Cartesian premise of the mind's self-transparency: the idea that when it comes to knowing our own minds, we just know what we are thinking or feeling, and do not have to learn how to perceive ourselves thinking or feeling.

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Philosophy would do well to desist from issuing any further injunctions about the need to re-establish the meaningfulness of existence, the purposefulness of life, or mend the shattered concord between man and nature. It should strive to be more than a sop to the pathetic twinge of human self-esteem. Nihilism is not an existential quandary but a speculative opportunity.

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If nothing matters, then even the thought that nothing matters doesn't matter.

And if it doesn't matter whether anything matters or not, then there's no real difference between believing nothing matters and believing something matters.

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Philosophers should resist the temptation to be publicly virtuous.

Given an unjust society, from the vantage of what counts as the public good, they are corrupters, not edifiers. The desire to be seen to be virtuous, to make a positive contribution, is a deleterious symptom of professionalization. Philosophy's social utility is an ersatz for its duty to mount challenges to the entire social order.

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I think Enlightenment as an epistemic ideal involves rejecting the appeal to a fundamental stratum of non-conceptual self-evidence.

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Sellars's "myth of Jones" is deployed against what Sellars calls "the myth of the categorial Given": the idea that to be aware of something is to be aware of it as something. This short circuit between "awareness of" and "awareness as" inhibits the project of self-understanding because it perpetuates the assumption that there is a point where being and knowing coincide.

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I was trying to develop a notion of "non-dialectical negativity" as part of a concept of extinction that would transform the understanding of death and time elaborated in phenomenology.

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Correlationism rejects metaphysical realism understood as the claim that the way the world is does not depend on how we take things to be. It also rejects the Cartesian corollary, i.e., the claim that the way the mind is does not depend on the way the world is.

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About Ray Brassier

Quotes 13 sayings
Profession Philosopher
Birthday 1965
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