The Will to Novelty: Ennui, Neophilia, and Whitehead’s Metaphysics

Ennui is the feeling of boredom, listlessness, dissatisfaction, and fatigue that results from a lack of occupation or excitement in one’s life. Ennui has been felt by many of us over the past two years. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions, many of us were forced to lead quite repetitive days:…

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Julius Bahnsen’s Radical Pessimism

Julius Bahnsen (1830 – 1881) was a German philosopher and disciple of Arthur Schopenhauer. The historian Frederick C. Beiser, in his book Weltschmerz: Pessimism in German Philosophy, 1860–1900, describes Bahnsen’s philosophical views, along with other key German pessimistic philosophers and followers of Schopenhauer, such as Julius Frauenstädt, Eduard von Hartmann, and Philipp Mainländer.  Weltschmerz is…

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Book Review: Cosmic Pessimism by Eugene Thacker

Cosmic Pessimism (2015) is a collection of aphorisms, fragments, and prose poems by the philosopher Eugene Thacker. Thacker, who is also Professor of Media Studies at The New School in New York City, offers many unique thoughts on pessimism and the human condition in this very short book. He explores various themes of pessimism: futility,…

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Nietzsche and Antinatalism: Can You Affirm Life But Oppose Procreation?

It is fair to say that much of antinatalist thought is underpinned by a rejectionist philosophy, a nay-saying attitude towards life, a pessimism about the state of human life and the world at large. The line between such pessimism and antinatalism seems logical: if you believe existence is – overall – a bad deal, an…

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Pessimism and Pandeism: Philipp Mainländer on the Death of God

Philipp Mainländer (1841 – 1876) was a German poet and philosopher, born in Offenbach am Main. He was a disciple of Arthur Schopenhauer’s philosophy and one of the patron saints of 19th century German pessimism (other notable figures belonging to this curious philosophical trend include Eduard von Hartmann and Julius Bahnsen). Unlike these other pessimists,…

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