Markus Gabriel Against the World

Sophia 56 (3):471-481 (2017)
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Abstract

According to Markus Gabriel, the world does not exist. This view—baptised metametaphysical nihilism—is exposited at length in his recent book Fields of Sense, which updates his earlier project of transcendental ontology. In this paper, I question whether meta-metaphysical nihilism is internally coherent, specifically whether the proposition ‘the world does not exist’ is expressible without performative contradiction on that view. Call this the inexpressibility objection. This is not an original objection—indeed it is anticipated in Gabriel’s book. However, I believe that his response to it is inadequate and that I have something illuminating to say about this state of affairs. My claim is that we can distinguish between two senses of ‘the world’, one of which is benign and acceptable, the other not. The acceptable sense of ‘the world’ suffices to answer the inexpressibility objection—at a certain theoretical cost, of course. To explain what this cost is, I turn briefly to an examination of Martin Hägglund’s radical atheism.

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References found in this work

Writing and Difference.Jacques Derrida - 1978 - Chicago: Routledge.
Beyond the Limits of Thought.Graham Priest - 1995 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Radical Atheism: Derrida and the Time of Life.Martin Hägglund - 2008 - Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.
Fields of Sense: A New Realist Ontology.Markus Gabriel - 2015 - Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

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