About the Summer School

A seminar with Simon CritchleyAugust 1-8, 2015

Next summer’s Tilburg Philosophy Summer School will be the last one, and in order to mark the end of this mini-tradition we thought that it would be fitting to celebrate our coming demise with a seminar on nihilism.

Nihilism is described by Nietzsche as the ‘uncanniest of all guests’ and defined in the following terms: ‘What does nihilism mean? That the highest values devalue themselves. The aim is lacking” “why” finds no answer’. Nihilism is the breakdown of the order of meaning, where all that was posited as a transcendent source of value becomes null and void, where there are no skyhooks upon which to hang a meaning for life. All transcendent claims for a meaning to life have been reduced to mere values and those values have become incredible, standing in need of what Nietzsche calls ‘transvaluation’ or ‘revaluation’.

It is the premise of next year’s summer school that the problem of nihilism does not merely describe some late 19th Century European crisis of Christianity, but precisely describes our current condition.

Although one privileged focus for the discussion of nihilism will be the work of Heidegger, in particular his extensive engagement with Nietzsche, discussions will range freely over the sources of nihilism, in the ancient Sophists, skeptics and in different iterations of theology, and forwards into the Pantheism conflict (Jacobi) within German Idealism, modern literature, theatre and art and across a wide range of 20th and 21st Century thinkers. Of particular interest is the contemporary massive resurgence of nihilism, both philosophically, socially and politically, and as it pervades culture in various forms, such as music, film and social media.

Graduate students, Post-Doctoral Researchers, artists, filmmakers, writers and anyone with a passion for this uncanniest of all guests are welcome to apply.