Nothngness and Science (A Propadeutic)


  • Michael Christian Cifone University of San Francisco


Science, Crisis, Nothingness, Nihilism, Representation, Subjectivity, Desire, Lacan, Psychoanalysis, Nietzsche, Deleuze, Heidegger, Phenomenology, Music, Performance


We characterize science in terms of nihilism: the nihilism of science is something faced not in what science implies, but as the very essence of science as such. The nihilism of science is the birth of the truth of Nietzsche's announcement "God is dead" from within science as it must now face its repressed subjective core. But in truth, as the Psychoanalytic tradition has determined, it is subjectivity itself that is a bottomless searching-the subject is itself born from nothing. In this way it becomes clear that the nihilism of science is in fact the birth of a nothingness as the essence of science insofar as it embraces the nothingness of its own (repressed) subjectivity. Therefore, we show that the proper determination of the crisis of science is not made via phenomenology, as Husserl attempted in the early 20th century, but can only be made properly in a philosophical-psychoanalytic register. This nihilism is encoded within science in its very modality of thought (which also indicates its existential condition as a whole), as Heidegger well understood: science thinks by means of "representation", and it is this "representational thinking" which prevents the expression of the repressed core of subjectivity. Therefore, by overcoming representation, it is seen that science will no longer be in despair to determine itself as a self, but come to see that this self, grounded in nothingness, in fact becomes its greatest and final expression, that is, as a self rooted not in an unending yearning (desire) for the transcendent certainty of a ground, but in a productive desire (a "groundless" becoming)-self as will-to-create, will-to-power (to return to Nietzsche). This transition from the self as rooted in Desire qua lack to a self as determined by an infinitely productive desire is shown to be, in fact, the transition from Lacan to Deleuze. Once this transition is accomplished, it becomes clear that the anti-representational mode of thinking, accompanied by the productive self as will-to-power, determines science not from a transcendent metaphysic (i.e., as a metaphysically "grounded" praxis), but as an aesthetically determined modality of pure creativity-i.e., as an art. We then conclude by speculating on the proper form of art that this new science should take. We see that anti-representational thinking, rooted in the self as infinite creativity (as will-to-create), is determined not by concepts, but by play ("agon") or performances (performance as concept). Perhaps, then, we should consider music as determining the proper artistic form of this new kind of science? In this way we finally come to see the possibility for the first time of music as a new kind of science.


How to Cite

Cifone, M. C. (2014). Nothngness and Science (A Propadeutic). Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 10(1), 251–275. Retrieved from