Metaphysics of Being and Nothingness

Hello,

After several years’ work, I have finally published my book, “Metaphysics of Being and Nothingness”. I thought I would introduce the book to the forum by including the book description and a substantial portion of the first chapter. I cannot post a direct link to the book, but if you are interested in finding the book on Amazon, you can enter the title into the search engine.

Book Description
Publication Date: June 19, 2013 Metaphysics of Being and Nothingness is an original investigation into metaphysics and primordial ontology, socio-political dialectics and teleology. It is a concise system architectured in the spirit of the Hegelian model. David Findley confers upon Nothingness it’s truth, breathes life into the Overman, and bears forth man’s inherent spirituality. It stands as a culmination of historical influences, a post-modern approach at systemic philosophy.

‘Why is there Being instead of just Nothingness?’
Martin Heidegger

BEING AND NOTHINGNESS

How often does the question really strike at the depths of us, ‘Why is there Being, instead of Nothingness?’ This question, so basic, so necessary to the philosophical inquiry, stands as our starting point. It is the root, and contextual foundation, wherein all other philosophical inquiries are circumstanced. Any particular philosophical investigation almost necessarily hinges on a central argument that guides the philosopher in his inquiries. Theories of language, knowledge, self, god, politics and even art must all find themselves understood in light of the contextual significance of a central metaphysical argument. It was not until Heidegger’s investigation into metaphysics via his inquiry into Being that this most fundamental question was finally made explicit—and the key to doing philosophy proper absolutely must begin by asking the right question. We will discover that by exploring this dynamic of Being and Nothingness, we will be laying the foundations upon which all other tangents of the philosophical enterprise might find their meaning.

The line of questioning must be simple. We must first come to an explicit understanding of Being, and outline its general structure as best as possible in the simplest terms. By thus delimiting the most general structural aspects of Being, it becomes possible to come to corollary conclusions regarding the nature of Nothingness, in terms of its opposition from Being—utilizing the simple principle of opposition to specify the contrast between entities. By so doing, it becomes possible to assert a sort of truth-value for the nature of Nothingness, which allows it, together with Being, to substantiate a primordial dichotomy of Being and Nothingness. This is because the nature of Nothingness, delimited as follows, will be discovered as something quite distinct from an Absolute Nothingness, the supposed nature of which, by definition, eludes all attempts at characterization. Nothingness will then, due to its newly discovered nature as a positive entity, substantiate an actual duality of Being and Nothingness, in face of its charge as a necessarily false dichotomy.

Looking to the nature of Being that subsumes and envelopes us, the most singularly prevalent principle, or structural characteristic of Being, is that of change. Being is in a constant state of temporal flux. Nothing that may be categorized as Being can be considered as permanent in light of this principle of change. Even the physical laws have their beginning—and when the universe dies, then so should the principles that govern it unravel, proving that they too are ultimately subject to the law of change. As pre-condition necessary to substantiate the possibility of change, Being is also a sum of diverse, myriad aspects circumstanced in space and time, wherein everything is in perpetual metamorphosis. It is in every respect limited—restricted by its own finitude.

Delimiting the nature of Being by its primary structural principle of change, we can begin to assert the basic characteristics of Nothingness in respect to its opposition to Being. Nothingness, then, is eternal, because it is not subject to change. Nothingness is complete and whole in itself, because it does not consist of parts. It is aspatial and atemporal, because it is not circumstanced in space or time. Not restricted in itself by any sense of finitude, we can say that Nothingness is infinite—the only instance of true transcendence over material finitude. In so much respect to Being, suffering no self-contradiction, eternal and infinite, it is only Nothingness that can be referred to as the transcendental sublime.

These are very definitive characteristics that cast the nature of Nothingness in a positive, instead of negative, sense. That is, Nothingness here is not considered an Absolute Nothingness, as per more traditional nihilism, but instead pertains to a nature directly corollary to the specific nature of Being. This is because Nothingness, as per its nihilist interpretation for example, is usually lacking this kind of comparative analysis with Being. Nothingness, in their case, is an Absolute Nothingness that necessarily evades all attempts at characterization, as such would seem to imply that Nothingness could pertain to existential characteristics of Being—and thus be paradoxical, or nonsensical. ‘Nothingness’, a traditional nihilist might assert, is by definition absolutely nothing, and any attempt to characterize it would make it something, and thus not be ‘Nothingness’ any longer.

Plato was perhaps the first philosopher to address this issue, in his dialogue The Sophist, in response to Parmenides’ influence. Plato develops the dialogue so as to argue that the duality of ‘Being’ and ‘Not-Being’ is a false dichotomy. Therein, perhaps most importantly, Plato is very careful not to attribute characteristics of ‘Being’ unto ‘Not-Being’, and discovers that language is not apt to bring the reality of ‘Not-Being’ into a positively existential entity. Ultimately, ‘…Not-Being in itself can neither be spoken, uttered, or thought, but … it is unthinkable, unutterable, unspeakable, indescribable.’ This is only partly true. When we approach the nature of Nothingness, or Not-Being, we need only be careful not to attribute unto it the characteristics of Being—because they do exist as opposites. But there are transcendental concepts that are not derived from the strictly material Being that do indeed characterize, and give truth-value, to the ‘Not-Being’ of Nothingness—such as infinitude, and eternality. It is true that it is difficult to breach the topic of Nothingness from arguments of language, but this is due to the fact that language is generally developed from associations discerned within the material. Language develops in a process exclusive to this very specific conversation about Nothingness, and so the logical deduction that lays Nothingness bare in it’s truth is very subtle. Language is simply not very apt for this specific topic. We may potentially refer to Nothingness as “it”, which to some contentious person may imply, irredeemably, an existential characteristic, (i.e. such as a singular in a plurality,)—but the fact of the matter is that we use the English language as we have it out of convenience, and the brute force of argument by diction simply does not revoke the truth-value of the central argument.

Perhaps one of the stronger arguments for the positive cognizance of Nothingness lay in mathematics. It is exactly within the realm of mathematics, a transcendental system in itself, that we first manage to come to terms with pure transcendental notions such as infinitude, eternality, and especially, zero. “Zero” is not a concept ontologically derivable from a purely material finitude. It simply does not exist in nature. We understand it, however, as a transcendental concept derived in respect to real numbers. That is, mathematics laid bare for us the reality of zero, as zero should exist in contrast to real numbers. Its conceptual derivation is, truly, a transcendental leap in understanding. As I try to assert above, to argue that zero does not exist is correct—but to try to argue that zero does not in itself have some sort of truth-value is in poor taste.

Ultimately, we discover, it is indeed very possible to discuss the nature of Nothingness, and elevate it’s reality from a negative to a positive sense. Unfortunately it is exactly Plato’s argument in The Sophist that has proven the authority on the matter since his time. This is the crux of the matter. We can turn to Heidegger for exemplification of this prevalent philosophical attitude in metaphysics:

“Nothing is simply nothing. Questioning has nothing more to seek here. Above all, by bringing up Nothing, he makes it into something. By speaking this way, he speaks against what he means. He contradicts himself. But self-contradictory speech is an offense against the fundamental rule of speech, against “logic.” Talking about Nothing is illogical. Whoever talks and thinks illogically is an unscientific person. Now whoever goes so far to talk about Nothing consists in utterly senseless propositions. Moreover, whoever takes Nothing seriously takes the side of nullity. He obviously promotes the spirit of negation and serves disintegration. Talking about Nothing is not only completely contrary to thought, but it undermines all culture and all faith.”

Traditional nihilism simply does not give Nothingness its warranted due emphasis in regards its inherent truth-value. Here, however, discovering the nature of Nothingness as the ‘transcendental sublime’ was done exactly by defining it as what material Being is not. That is, we have come to positive determinations regarding the nature of Nothingness, as it should contrast with the nature of Being, per the simple principle of opposition. Perhaps interpreting the nature of Nothingness as an eternal, infinite state of perfection involves a subjective interpretation of a logical derivation—but compared to Being in this respect, it stands as fair. It is almost a religious exclamation, if it were not so reasonable in its philosophical method. Because there is outlined a dichotomy of Being and Nothingness wherein Nothingness is recognized in a positive sense; we may refer to this dynamic as Positivistic Nihilism.

There are many different trends of nihilism, but here we are addressing the specific trend of metaphysical nihilism, that assumes that ‘nothing’ exists beyond our mere, material reality, and hence there is no inherently metaphysical meaning to the world or to our lives. This is actually the implicit attitude inherent in our contemporary scientism. This prevalent attitude leads many to an existential indulgence in our animal or cultural selves, and there is not acknowledged any grandiose pretext that might give deeper meaning to our lives. The issue at hand is that the nature of Nothingness has failed to be recognized in this positive sense—and we have floundered in so much confusion because of it.

But even by so claiming ‘Positivistic Nihilism’, the original question posed above has yet to really be answered. Why is there Being, instead of Nothingness? Determining the basic characteristics of Being and Nothingness in terms of their opposite natures, thereby asserting a veritable truth-value unto Nothingness, and then further establishing Being and Nothingness formally as a dichotomy, we may reasonably respond, ‘there is both Being and Nothingness’. But this still does not seem an answer to what was the original essence of Heidegger’s question, which hinges on the ‘why?’, ‘Why is there Being, instead of Nothingness?’ The question becomes subject to transformation in light of our investigation into the dichotomy, and the dynamic changes appropriately: ‘why is there Being and Nothingness?’

The question, ‘why is there Being and Nothingness’ becomes a question of ontology—a philosophical venture of inquiry into the origin of this primordial dichotomy…

–some of the formatting has been lost, but I hope you have enjoyed what you have read. If you have any comments or questions on the piece, please email me at: Imdavidfindley at gmail

Thank you,
David William Findley

Are you a theist?

A deserving question to an age old inquiry. Religious considerations were not related to this question, until the middle ages, when the arab philosophers Avecinnes and Averroes developed the concepts of existence, essence and being. I think the OP brings this up relative to Heidegger. The infinite subtlety of nothingness corresponds to essence in the medieval, religious sense. Hobbs, I do not think the question of theism can be raised without regard to the way essence developed in this manner, and hence, the author of the OP cannot but realize the utility of religious involvement in the development of the concept, as more than just a mathematical analysis centered around the concept O. If it were strictly a mathematical concept, then it would be irrelevant to talk of linguistic interpretations of nothingness, in terms of religion, or philosophy, because the matter of it , whether it be similar or dissimilar in characteristic, could never be defined.

 A mathematical O  cannot demonstratively be shown to exist, in the absolute sense, since demonstratively, there is always something.  

 Therefore, the nothingness the OP is talking about is an absolute absence, in the mathematically absolute sense, and only the concept of  God, fits this criteria.  God is the guarantor of absolute nothingness, and this is why God does not exist.

 In the scholastic sense, God may not exist, as a centrally placed position between an essential and an existential Being, but since He is not an existential Being, He has to be an essential Being.  He is essential to the notion of an absolute nothingness.

Hello,

Questions such as ‘my’ potential Theism are answered in context as the investigation is continued.

For illumination, though, I can point out that one of the main points of my work is to re-present Parmenides’ original metaphysics in such a way that they make sense-- and then so much so that even Logical Positivists cannot debase the argument. Of course, to do this, I move against traditional interpretations of Parmenides’ work that render him, essentially, non-sensical. If you look to the duality of Being and Nothingness as I present it, however, you will find stark correlation to his own duality of ‘Being’ and ‘True Being’, respectively.

And so if you were to ask to what historical concept I relate this presentation of Nothingness-- it would be to Parmenides’ ‘True Being’. Of course this is not Theism in the Christian or Judeo-religious tradition, but it does carry significant spiritual undertones that are discussed in detail in later chapters of the book.

Otherwise, I feel as though I would be cheating myself if I were to relay the general architecture of the system parcel by parcel in response to questions. I hope that interested parties might read the whole of the book, first, before again asking very specific questions. I’d probably be considerably more keen on conversation if that were the case.

I hope you understand,
David Findley