In his new book Why the World Does Not Exist (Polity Press, 2015), philosopher Markus Gabriel challenges our notion of what exists and what it means to exist. He questions the idea that there is a world that encompasses everything like a container: life, the universe, and everything else. Drawing on the recent history of philosophy, he asserts that the world cannot exist at all, because it is not found in the world. Yet, with the exception of the world, everything else exists—even unicorns. At the Goethe-Institut, Gabriel talks with Richard Wolin about these and other questions of human existence.
Why the World Does Not Exist is presented in collaboration with Polity Press.
Markus Gabriel is the Chair for Epistemology, Modern and Contemporary Philosophy and Director of the International Centre for Philosophy at the University of Bonn. Gabriel studied Philosophy and Ancient Greek in Bonn and Heidelberg. Previous to his current position, he was appointed Assistant Professor at the New School for Social Research, New York. Gabriel has held visiting professorships at Aarhus University, PUC Porto Alegre, PUC Rio de Janeiro, and UC Berkeley. His research interests include epistemology, philosophy of religion and aesthetics, ancient philosophy, Post-Kantian Idealism, contemporary analytical and post-analytical philosophy. His most recent English-language books are Why the World Does Not Exist (Polity Press, 2015), Fields of Sense. A New Realist Ontology (Edinburgh University Press, 2015), and Transcendental Ontology: Essays in German Idealism (Continuum, 2011), among others.
Richard Wolin is Distinguished Professor of History and Political Science at the CUNY Graduate Center. His books include The Politics of Being: The Political Thought of Martin Heidegger (Columbia University Press, 1992) and Heidegger’s Children: Hannah Arendt, Karl Löwith, Hans Jonas, and Herbert Marcuse(Princeton University Press, 2015).