Is the creed of the naturalist practice of philosophy “everything must go”? Do we have to think of the proposal to eliminate from our conceptual scheme purpose, intentionality, or colors, as a case of hard-nosed nihilism in a culture that, in the words of Nietzsche, is “like a river that wants to reach the end”? Or could we think, with the dissonant voices of the enlightened readers of neo-darwinism, that there could be a way to embrace, as Alex Rosenberg coined it, a “nice nihilism”? We will postulate that in naturalism’s nihilistic tendencies, or more precisely, and to borrow Dennett’s phrasing, in its tendency to dissolve the truths of commonsense in the “universal acid” of scientific enquiry, a smooth form of nihilism is indeed identifiable. But to achieve this, naturalism has to take into account what its last justifications of the accuracy of the manifest image of the world point at: a politics of nature, one that faces the challenge of the epistemological crisis triggered by the current ecological crisis.

Olivier Surel is a Doctoral researcher in philosophy at Université Paris X - Nanterre La Défense. He is notably a member of the journal Multitudes (Paris) and of the Critical Social Ontology group (Berlin).

The Matter of Contradiction is a series of workshops and seminars initiated by Sam Basu, Fabien Giraud, Ida Soulard and Tom Trevatt.
The Matter of Contradiction: War against the sun was organized in collaboration with Inigo Wilkins.
More informations can be found here:
War against the sun was held at Mute magazine offices at Limehouse Town Hall in London on the 1st and 2nd of March and followed by a workshop on the 3rd.
Special thanks to Val Ravaglia and Stephen Nachtigall for the video recordings of the event.

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