Double Negation: Between Nihilism and Institution
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This paper takes a cue from Roberto Esposito’s remark in Politica e negazione on the coincidence of positivism and nihilism: according to Esposito, nihilism would consist in the negation of the difference (itself the result of a negation) that originally inhabits being. We argue that this “negation of negation” has a nihilistic outcome since it is played at the level of nature, of the Schopenhauerian will that destroys itself as much as it affirms itself. Opposed to this immanent “negation of negation” is the affirmative character of the Hegelian double negation, which implies the passage to a different level from that of the first negation. Indeed, Hegelian double negation is an operator
with relational and non-immanent, i.e. incremental value, which enables the institution of an ethical-political world, that of the second nature. Hegelian double negation does not destroy, but stabilizes the difference, while affirming the historical and contingent (non- natural) character of its productions.