Volume 84, Issue 2, Spring 2010
Ex aliquo nihil
Nietzsche on Science, Anarchy, and Democratic Nihilism
This essay explores the nihilistic coincidence of the ascetic ideal and Nietzsche’s localization of science in the conceptual world of anarchic socialism
as Nietzsche indicts the uncritical convictions of modern science by way of a critique of the causa sui, questioning both religion and the enlightenment as well as
both free and unfree will and condemning the “poor philology” enshrined in the language of the “laws” of nature. Reviewing the history of philosophical nihilism
in the context of Nietzsche’s “tragic knowledge” along with political readings of nihilism, willing nothing rather than not willing at all, today’s this-worldly and very planetary nihilism includes the virtual loci of technological desire (literally willing nothing) as well as the perpetual and consequently pointless threat of nuclear annihilation and the routine or ordinary annihilation of plant and animal life as of inorganic nature.