Global Capitalism and Nihilism

Studenteropgave: Kandidatspeciale og HD afgangsprojekt

  • Mehmet Zafer Demir
10. semester, Culture, Communication and Globalization. English (Kandidatuddannelse)
Since the German philosopher Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi introduced the concept of nihilism to the philosophical vocabulary in 1799, it has been employed in philosophy along with sociology, theology, literature and in various kinds of arts during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in different contexts and with different contents. It has been argued in this study that there is an explicit relation between nihilism and global capitalism insofar as nihilism is dealt with as state of existence. Since Jacobi never elaborated the concept of nihilism, which he used as a mere derogatory term to demonize Kantian and Fichtean philosophical positions, it has been incumbent upon this study to reconstruct and deconstruct it through existential philosophy (Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger) by the accompaniment of critical theory (Adorno) and various thinkers and writers; from Turgenev to D. H. Lawrence etcetera. In the course of the investigation of the concept of nihilism, it has become evident that nihilism as state of existence cannot be dealt with without having an understanding of existential valence of interpretations. Thus, the first chapter has been devoted to this task which has been implemented through emphasizing the distinction between faith and beliefs. The conclusion reached through this task is that interpretation is only possible as epistemological violence in the process of constitution of interpretations. By accomplishing this task, the concept of nihilism has been re-constructed as positive nihilism, negative nihilism, and nihilism as state of existence. Through a series of discussions and confrontations, nihilism as state of existence has been defined as that which manifests itself through nothingness and meaninglessness by the accompaniment of valuelessness, aimlessness, and confusion. In the last chapter, a conceptual analysis of capitalism, globalization, and global capitalism has been provided. The conclusion reached through this conceptual analysis is that global capitalism is that which determines state of existence of the subjects through its objective powers, namely, private property, profitability, and the market. From this argument it has followed that the conditions in which the subject constructs its interpretations are succumbed to nihilism as state of existence.
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