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Title: Philosophies of nothing and the difference of theology
Author: Cunningham, C.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2001
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This abstract presents the central terms and presuppositions used in this dissertation. Doing so in the hope that this will make the reading of what is an intractably difficult project easier. The first of these is the presentation of an aporia, one which is presumed to be central to philosophy and theology, and which governs the various moves made in this dissertation. Grasping this aporia before reading the dissertation may help to contextualise what follows. "What am I to do, what shall I do, what should I do, in my situation, how proceed? By aporia pure and simple". (Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable). There is, I suggest, an aporia involved in finitude. Let me explain this aporia. How do we know that to think is significant? Or rather, how do we know that thought thinks? It seems we require a 'thought of thinking', a meta-level. However, if thought requires to be thought, then this thought about thought can either be another thought or something other than thought. The former would initiate an infinite regress, for the supplementary thought would require its own thought and so on. Whilst the latter would ground thought in that which is not thought, and this means that all thinking would rest upon its own absence: thoughtlessness. Such an upshot returns us to the previous position, in which thought had presumed its own significance, and so taken itself for granted - thoughtlessly. The aforementioned quandary can be seen throughout the history of philosophy. We pay witness to it in the dualisms employed to cope with this aporia. For example: Deleuze grounds sense in non-sense; Derrida grounds the Text in the Nothing which is said to reside outside it; Heidegger ground Being in das Nicht; Hegel, finitude in the infinite; Fichte, I in Non-I; Schopenhauer, representation in will; Kant, phenomenal in the noumenal; Spinoza, Nature in God, and God in Nature. The pervasiveness of such dualisms testifies to the inescapability of this aporia; later, however, it will be suggested that each of these philosophical dualisms is generated within a more fundamental monism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available