Nihilism in Postmodernity: Lyotard, Baudrillard, Vattimo by Ashley Woodward

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.
a) Nihilism
b) The postmodern Nihilism and the postmodern
c) The economy of this writing d) Overview
Chapter 1. The Advent of Nihilism
a) Nietzsche: the devaluation of the highest values
b) Sartre: existentialist nihilism
c) Heidegger: nihilism and metaphysics
Chapter 2. Postmodern Nihilism
a) Lyotard: neo-nihilism
b) Baudrillard: the nihilism of transparency
c) Vattimo: positive nihilism
d) Nihilism in postmodern theory
Chapter 3. Postmodernity and Nihilism
a) Theories of postmodernity
i) Lyotard: the end of metanarratives
ii) Baudrillard: hyperreality
iii) Vattimo: the secularisation of secularisation
b) Nihilism at the end of history
Chapter 4. Negotiating Nihilism
a) The logic of difference
b) The politics of passivity
c) Postmodern responses to nihilism
i) Lyotard: Dissimulation
ii) Baudrillard: Seduction
iii) Vattimo: Verwindung
d) Facing the abyss: the problem of contingency
Conclusion: the contemporary mise-en abyme

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