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Title:  Nihilism in Postmodernity: Lyotard, Baudrillard, Vattimo Author:  Ashley Woodward Imprint:  The Davies Group, Publishers soft cover 332 pp. USD  28.00 ISBN 978-1934542088 2009 Nihilism in Postmodernity is an exploration of the nature of the problem of meaninglessness in the contemporary world through the philosophical traditions of nihilism and postmodernism. The author traces the advent of modern nihilism in the works of Nietzsche, Sartre, and Heidegger, before detailing the postmodern transformation of nihilism in the works of three major postmodern thinkers: Lyotard, Baudrillard, and Vattimo. He presents a qualified defense of their positions, arguing that while there is much under-appreciated value in their responses to nihilism, they fail to address adequately the problem of contingency in contemporary life. Drawing on the critical encounters with nihilism in both existentialist and postmodern traditions, the author concludes by staking out future directions for combating meaninglessness.   Contents Introduction Nihilism The postmodern Nihilism and the postmodern The economy of this writing Overview Chapter 1. The Advent of Nihilism Nietzsche: the devaluation of the highest values Sartre: existentialist nihilism Heidegger: nihilism and metaphysics Chapter 2. Postmodern Nihilism Lyotard: neo-nihilism Baudrillard: the nihilism of transparency Vattimo: positive nihilism Nihilism in postmodern theory Chapter 3. Postmodernity and Nihilism Theories of postmodernity Lyotard: the end of metanarratives Baudrillard: hyperreality Vattimo: the secularisation of secularisation Nihilism at the end of history Chapter 4. Negotiating Nihilism The logic of difference The politics of passivity Postmodern responses to nihilism Lyotard: Dissimulation Baudrillard: Seduction Vattimo: Verwindung Facing the abyss: the problem of contingency Conclusion: the contemporary mise-en abyme Notes Bibliography Index   Reviews   "In this comprehensive and deep reflection on the problem of nihilism and postmodernity, Woodward offers a convincing and important thesis on the relations of postmodern life and thought to nihilism. He avoids the easy equation of postmodernism with nihilism and instead relies on careful interpretations of Nietzsche, Sartre, Heidegger, Baudrillard, Vattimo and Lyotard to demonstrate that these thinkers combine to offer not only one of the deepest diagnoses of our contemporary condition but also subtle and perhaps essential models for how to live beyond it. This book is proof not only of the high scholarly values of modern philosophical research, but also of its relevance and urgency." — James Williams, University of Dundee  "… a study of postmodern nihilism by way of a critical analysis of the understanding of contemporary nihilism in Lyotard, Baudrillard, and Vattimo…a genuinely scholarly study of philosophical nihilism that makes possible a truly new understanding of nihilism, a nihilism that is being completed even in postmodernity." — Thomas J. J. Altizer   About the author The author, Ashley Woodward (University of Dundee, Scotland), is a member of the Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy, and has taught philosophy at several Australian universities. He is an editor for Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy, and a co-editor of Sensorium: Aesthetics, Art, Life (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007).
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