Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: "Signifying nothing" : nothingness and its relationship to the meaning of life
Author: Waghorn, Nicholas
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 6110
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2008
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
This thesis explores what I term the question of life's ultimate meaning. I distinguish this from some other investigations into the meaning of life on the basis that I am not primarily interested in ways of making life more meaningful. I address these issues of partial meaning implicitly, but my central focus is on whether it is possible to conceive or achieve an existence the meaningfulness of which cannot be improved upon. This endeavour can be rephrased to parallel epistemological discussions of our desire to eliminate doubt in order to arrive at knowledge claims that are certain. For, just as we have a tendency to ask how a claim drafted in to provide epistemological justification for a prior claim is itself justified, we have a tendency to ask by what further criteria a goal or purpose that is meant to bestow meaning is itself meaningful. It is my hypothesis that this capacity to re-iterate a request for justification for each new candidate that presents itself calls for a candidate to be presented which disrupts our ability to carry out such re-iteration. My route into this search for such a candidate is by examination of the notion of 'nothing'. I centre this examination around the work of Martin Heidegger, whose dealings with the subject form a nexus for differing understandings of 'nothing' in many important strands of philosophical thought. Hence, I discuss analytic interpretations of 'nothing' deriving from Rudolf Carnap's criticism of Heidegger, post-structuralist reactions as found in Jacques Derrida's work, and consider some provocative remarks that Wittgenstein makes on 'nothing' as Heidegger presents it. The radicality of the search for an understanding of 'nothing' also requires attention to the methodology of such an endeavour, and indeed to whether philosophy can adequately proceed without acknowledging the possibility of its other, faith.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available