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‘True Detective’ and Nihilistic Philosophy

March 3, 2014

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Vulture has an interesting piece about the philosophical underpinnings of the HBO show “True Detective,” in which a nihilistic detective “Rust” Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) is paired with much more Everyman partner Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) to track down a murderer (or murderers) in Louisiana over seventeen years. In a Q-and-A, author-and-academic Paul J. Ennis decided to take a stab at explaining Cohle’s mindset. To wit:

Nuances dividing these thinkers aside, I’d say philosophically Rust considers consciousness an aberration or evolutionary error/mistake, that he is not concerned with filtering knowledge according to “the pathetic twinge of human self-esteem” [to quote philosopher Ray Brassier], and that, as an anti-natalist, he subscribes to the old maxim of “better to have never been born.” Better yet, many of these thinkers argue, as Rust mentions, that we should stop reproducing in order to end the cycle of existence.

And so on. It’s not light reading, but it’s a more interesting diversion than most television-related interviews, and well worth checking out.

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