Thauma Magazine: Ray Brassier Interview [Updated]

A new interview with Ray Brassier, courtesy of Nikola Andonovski, featured in the new issue of Thauma magazine (click for larger images):

[Update:] Fabio Gironi has compiled the images into a much easier to read PDF, that you can find here.

[Update #2:] John Hartmann has made the PDF available in a version that’s perfect for printing or putting onto a Kindle: find it here.

5 thoughts on “Thauma Magazine: Ray Brassier Interview [Updated]

  1. Very interesting, thanks. He’s a self-excoriating guy, isn’t he? -there are some serious, and welcome, about-faces in there. I find his references to Sellars and Brandom particularly interesting, and wonder how he reconciles the constitutive role of normativity in those thinkers’ systems with the nihilism he advocates – my suspicion is that the meaning of Brassier’s ‘nihilism’ has significantly shifted since Nihil Unbound. I wonder what it means, within the more Sellarsian framework he seems to be adopting, to say that “the compulsion of the concept allows reason to incorporate death”.

    • Yeah, actually I was thinking of your writings on Brandom at a few points (e.g. the important role of naturalism in his and Sellars’ work). I wonder whether the meaning of nihilism has changed all that much for him though – I think the fundamental project has actually maintained a strong consistency. For instance, nihilism is still a matter of welding thought to truth at all costs. It’s just that Brandom and Sellars now provide the means to properly do so.

      Not sure what he means by “the compulsion of the concept allows reason to incorporate death” though…

      • “the compulsion of the concept allows reason to incorporate death”:

        If we read this within the context of Nihil Unbound, it’s probably best understood in terms of what Brassier says about cognitive science–the idea that thought itself becomes object. Reason incorporates death when the individual can treat him/herself as object, or as dead/inanimate. On the cosmic scale, I think it’s just a strong reaffirmation of the difference between Brassier’s project a la (meta)physics and the project of someone like Grant, who, by comparison, is very much a vitalist. So, for the Nihil Unbound Brassier, this really just strikes me as reiterating that essential distinction. A Lucretian/Epicurian position contra the Plato of Timaeus–where the horror vacui is transformed from a simple impossibility to an inconceivable, though structurally necessary and productive, element of reality.

        The bigger question then becomes: what does post-Nihil Unbound Brassier mean by this. I don’t think the meaning has utterly changed, but certainly, if he is now turning toward a half-Hegelian dialectic and a half-Laurelleian unilateralization, what does this mean in that kind of synthesis? Since he’s only written a few articles between now and Nihil Unbound, however, we will probably just have to wait for another book. I suspect that the phrase now has a particular Hegelian inflection when rendered for the individual, though I doubt this results in the full intellectual intuition of Meillassoux’s Hegelianism. On the cosmic scale of reality-as-such, though, I think it probably has not changed.

  2. One might read Nihilism as the systematic eradication of all norms and values that are not derived from, or grounded in, the fundamental obligations that Reason places upon us. Precisely not an eradication of all value, as in bad forms of nihilism (and Nietzsche did of course distinguish between good and bad nihilism), but as the systematic demystification of value in parallel with the systematic demystification of nature.

  3. Pingback: Balibar, Brassier, Singularum | Progressive Geographies

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