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Symposium Thinking Nothing - the void and its resurgence in contemporary thought

Ray Brassier
Justin Clemens
Robin Mackay
Alex Murray
John Sellars

31 July 2008
10.00 hrs – 17.00 hrs
Seminar A, Library Woodlane Campus,
Falmouth, UK

Programme (PDF)

From the emergence of empty set as a basis for ontology, to materialist negative theology, to Metzinger's 'nemocentric' destitution of the subject, contemporary thought seems to be obsessed with nothing. But the politics of this nothing seems drastically different from its earlier existentialist and postmodern nihilistic incarnations.

This symposium seeks to explore the problem of nothing in contemporary thought, asking precisely how the postulation of an inherent negativity as a productive realm of philosophical discourse has come to characterise our intellectual landscape, and how the contemporary void relates to those of Ancient and Modern philosophical traditions.


10:00 Registration, Coffee and Welcome (Magda Tyżlik-Carver/iRes)

Morning Session (Chair Robin Mackay)

10:30 John Sellars (UWE): Ancient Theories of Void
11:30 Alex Murray (UoE): The Void and the Voice: Agamben's Romantic Petics'

12:30 - 13.30 Lunch Break

Afternoon Session (Chair Alex Murray)

13:30 Robin Mackay (Middlesex): Void As Destination of Science:                                 Meyerson/Brassier
14:30 Ray Brassier (Middlesex): Knowing Nothing

15:30 - 15:45 Coffee Break

15:45 Justin Clemens (Melbourne): Blankety Blank: Formalisation in Thought

17:00 End