Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction
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Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  80 ratings  ·  15 reviews
This book pushes nihilism to its ultimate conclusion by linking revisionary naturalism in Anglo-American philosophy with anti-phenomenological realism in French philosophy. Contrary to the 'post-analytic' consensus uniting Heidegger and Wittgenstein against scientism and scepticism, this book links eliminative materialism and speculative realism.
Paperback, 275 pages
Published March 15th 2010 by Palgrave Macmillan (first published November 2nd 2007)
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Really a dense book. The only criticism I have of this brilliant text is that he relies almost completely on the "Heavy Hitters" of Continental Philosophy (Adorno and Horkheimer, Heidegger, Deleuze, Nietzsche, Lyotard, etc.). While I greatly appreciate the Lit. Review that this book provides, I'm not necessarily sure if it says anything new.

Brassier begins with an amazing rehashing of an ongoing debate between Folk Psychologists and Cognitive Psycholgists (namely Wilfrid Sellars and Paul Church...more
In the middle of this thing right now. The first chapter was so damn hard but the ideas were, in my opinion, kind of a restatement of certain philosophical maxims for which I myself have great sympathy, except it was explained through examples from neurosphilosophy. Second chapter, which I just finished, is a MONSTER. Devastates Adorno and Horkheimer's Dialectic of Enlightenment. This guy is in the category of "scary smart." I'm afraid, however, like many other people in the "scary smart" catego...more
David Spencer
I keep reading mind-blowing shit lately. First Quentin Meillassoux, and now this Meillassoux-influenced nuke drops inside my skull. I don't know if there's anything left of my grey matter after this sustained bombardment. Or, more to the point, I don't know if there was ever anything but grey matter to begin with...and I like it. Well, "I" like it. I "like" it? "It?"

For real though, let's get this party started.

I have since listened to/read Meillassoux responding to Ray Brassier's fundamental...more
First of all, I agree with Bradley that this book is largely a literature review. Brassier looks at and criticizes the materialisms of the Churchlands, Adorno, Meillassoux, Badiou, Laruelle, Heidegger, and Deleuze. Throughout, his main contention is with the vitalist claim "that physical and chemical principles cannot explain biological functions and processes" (168) though, as is clear from his chapter on the Churchlands, he is not quick to say precisely how physical processes can account for l...more
Eric Phetteplace
Brassier is doing important and interesting work, but his style tends to work against the stunning conclusions which animate his thought. This book functions better as an overview of the unique theories of the day rather than an original work in itself. Brassier gives trenchant summaries and critiques of Badiou, Meillassoux, Deleuze, Laruelle, and Eliminative Materialism (i.e. Paul & Patricia Churchland). But after spending a whole chapter describing a theory, he takes about one or two sente...more
I just don't know about these new folks. I enjoyed parts of this book but when it came down to the topic of Speculative Realism where Brassier camps I still find myself struggling to know whether I'm lost or that S.R. is just incoherent by nature. I get the general gist of it, but where they (Brassier, Meillassoux, Harman) take it just eludes me. I find Heidegger or Derrida easier to follow.
Jonathan Norton
An argumentative survey of a very narrow range of contemporary philosophy. We hear about the Churchlands, as token representatives of Anglo-American writing, and then after that we're firmly in the "continental" world, where a great big statue of Heidegger looms over the landscape, blotting out the sun.

The discussion of Churchlandian elminitivism is fairly handled, but in the end Brassier endorses a slightly more sophisticated version of the "self-refutation" objection, coached in terms of repre...more
Well..that was a challenge. There are many good things in here. Brassier's breadth of knowledge is impressive and i find myself generally in agreement with his sentiment. This is a no-joke survey of contemporary trends in continental philosophy along with a study of aspects of Nietzsche and Heidegger.
Rowan Tepper
An essential text in the drive toward the development of a philosophy adequate to the reality disclosed by contemporary science, particularly physics and cosmology.
John  Shinn
Aug 10, 2014 John Shinn is currently reading it
"Unfortunately, Churchland is not the Antichirst.."
David Peak
Something of a review of post-Kantian philosophies, centered around the concept of nihilism, or as Brassier refers to it "...a vector of intellectual discovery which philosophy should try to push to its ultimate conclusion." The sections on Meillassoux ("The Enigma of Realism"), Heidegger ("The Pure and Empty Form of Death"), and Nietzsche ("The Truth of Extinction") proved to be the most compelling. Fairly difficult reading but nonetheless a valuable resource.
Chapter 4, “Unbinding the Void”, is a solid secondary source on the set-theoretical roots of Badiou’s ontology. The thematization of "unbinding" - or as I would say, of the non-being of relation - is helpful and rare among receptions of Being and Event. There's no better hinge concept to focus on for understanding the relation between Badiou's ontology and his ethics.
Jazz Salo
The kind of book that radically challenges everything you thought what considered philosophy. Brassier does a great job expositing those he is both indebted to and trying to move beyond. His conclusions are of such radical nature that they are can hardly be accepted. Yet, they are argued with such precision and fortitude that they can hardly be ignored.
Carrie Lorig
i resist a lot of this particularly the writing style which is very MANSPLAINER COMING THROUGH but this also gave me so much to think about and vibrate on. particularly the phrase, "stellar corpses." also READ THIS WITH MELANCHOLIA you dark pony you.
Cary Aurand
Sep 07, 2008 Cary Aurand marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I have a printout of chapter 7, and I'm really digging it. Unfortunately, the almost $100 pricetag has made it a little difficult to snag a full copy. Though I've heard that it's coming out in paperback soon.
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