The eclipse of being: Heidegger on the question of being and nothing and the ground of nihilism

This thesis explores Heidegger’s philosophy of Being and Nothing in the context of the problem of nihilism. Nietzsche diagnosed the present age as an age of nihilism in the sense of a ‘devaluation of the highest values’. Heidegger argues that Nietzsches’s diagnosis suffers from a fundamental failure to question the meaning of ‘nihil’ in ‘nihilism’. This failure is, according to Heidegger, shared by the history of metaphysics which Nietzsche brings to completion, and it is closely connected with the failure of metaphysics to address the question of Being as such. We shall examine the emergence of Heidegger’s early phenomenological approach to the question of Being in his engagement and confrontation with Husserl’s phenomenology, and trace its subsequent development in major writings of his. It will be argued that Heidegger’s philosophy of Being permits for the first time a more adequate understanding of the problem of Nothing. Throughout the thesis, the horizon of the discussion is the question of the meaning and the ground of nihilism, which will also be addressed explicitly through an examination of Heidegger’s confrontation with Nietzsche
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