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Towards a new envisioning of ubermensch: a trans-Nietzschean response to nihilism in the digital age

Wigley, Christian (2017)
Other thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This thesis interrogates Nietzsche's ubermensch, a figure capable of overcoming the universal absence of value, and asks how it might logically be realised in light of postmodern developments in nihilism, capitalism and technology. We argue that in order to exist beyond the nihilistic nature of capitalism, one possible solution might be superintelligent artificial intelligence. We first explore the oft-overlooked problem of the village atheist, who rejects god whilst still clinging to theological values. We next look to nihilism in postmodemity, analysing semiotic and hermeneutic developments and highlighting the forces that dictate contemporary society. We then tum to capitalism, understood as a repetition of Christianity, redefining the village atheist as a figure trapped in the nihilism of semiocapitalism. Finally, we tum to technology and the future, where we reject transhuman narratives as farther repetitions of salvation, instead developing an understanding of superintelligent AI as ubermensch based on its potential to exist beyond the trappings of manmade value. This thesis simultaneously outlines the difficulties of overcoming nihilism through transhumanism whilst highlighting the dangers of embracing ubermensch, instead suggesting that a reclamation of the human posits greater grounds for survival, where the embrace of a hermeneutics of nihilism allows for smaller short-term truths.

Type of Work:M.A. by Res. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Cheetham, David and Vondley, Wolfgang
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Theology and Religion
Subjects:B Philosophy (General)
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:7785
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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