GSSR Seminar

The GSSR announces the fifth in our new series of seminars addressed both to doctoral students and academic staff. The seminars aim to bring together students and established researchers working in the same field, thus promoting closer interaction and future collaboration between them.

During the seminars doctoral students present for discussion well-advanced research projects, with experienced scholars from various academic centres in Poland and abroad invited to take the role of commentators.

The seminars take place on the Zoom platform and are open to all.

This seminar is scheduled for April 20th at 16:00 Warsaw time (CET, GMT+1) with Mümtaz Murat Kök presenting the topic, Eugene Thacker’s Cosmic Pessimism”, and Adam Nocek and Adam Lipszyc as commentators. Abstract attached on the following page.

Meeting ID: 818 8196 9141; Passcode: 682588


16:00  Philip Højme – Chair of the seminar – Welcome address

16:05  Szymon Wróbel – What does it mean to be a pessimist? – introductory remarks

16:10  Mümtaz Murat Kök – Eugene Thacker’s Cosmic Pessimism doctoral presentation

16:40  Adam Nocek (Arizona State University) – Commentator

16:55  Adam Lipszyc (IFiS PAN) – Commentator

17:10  Discussion

17:45  Closing remarks

Next seminars:

  • May 5th at 18:00  Katarzyna Król – Knowledge production and biomedical cultures within rare diseases in Poland
  • May 25th at 14:00  Steve Davis – Mooring and anchoring in the ‘angloscape’: exploring the shifting sands of privilege for British nationals living long-term in Poland

Eugene Thacker’s Cosmic Pessimism

By Mümtaz Murat Kök


Friedrich Nietzsche likened pessimism to cholera precisely because just like cholera pessimism resurges from time to time. We can see that Nietzsche was not exaggerating as increasing amount of publications, television series and movies attest, there is once again an increasing interest in pessimism as a philosophy. Eugene Thacker is one of the most popular names in this trend as he not only produced impressive books on pessimism but he also inspired one of the most interesting and truly pessimistic character on television. Thacker named his brand of pessimism Cosmic Pessimism and he has been working on the concept through various publications. In this presentation, I would like to focus on Thacker’s cosmic pessimism. I will argue that despite the rebranding, Thacker’s cosmic pessimism rests on Arthur Schopenhauer’s metaphysics to a great extent. The two of the three aspects of the threefold world Thacker proposes in his cosmic pessimism are Schopenhauer’s Vorstellung and Wille. After having established that, I will argue that Thacker leaves Schopenhauer behind for the third aspect of the world and must indeed do so. I will show that in order to be able to do that Thacker resorts to another prominent pessimist who is also a more radical misanthrope than Schopenhauer and that is Emil Cioran. Following Cioran, Thacker maximizes his misanthropy to be able to envision this aspect of the world and while doing so he also refers to contemporary problems which he takes to justify such misanthropy. After this exposition, I will criticize Thacker’s cosmic pessimism on two accounts: misanthropy and resignation.

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