“Philosophical skepticism at the end of the XXth century” (Marius Dobre)

Conference at International Workshop in Genova, „The life of communication. Knowledges, Practices and Powers”, october 2011, postdoctoral project POSDRU/89/1.5/S/63663, University of Genova, Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia.

Abstract: The skepticism represented a strong philosophical movement, at the twilight of Antiquity, within the school of Pyrrhon, its subsequent apparitions within the history of philosophy being just some minor throbs. But skepticism is not yet dead. During the last century one finds on the stage of philosophy a thinker who was born in Romania and would later become famous, in France. We are dealing with a thinker – Emil Cioran – who speaks about philosophy, writing, birth, life, death, suicide, history, civilization, God, etc. in a skeptical manner, even if it`s a moderate skeptical one. It is a solitary phenomenon, and also a surprising one, totally against the optimistic stream of thought of Western society which was at its peak of civilization and of the triumph of prosperity.

Keywords: Skepticism, Life, Death, History, God.



“Traces of buddhism in the works of Cioran” (Marius Dobre)

European Journal of Science and Theology, June 2013, Vol.9, No.3, 95-104

Abstract: Emil Cioran spoke repeatedly about the injustice of birth, life and death. I chose these three themes of reflection to highlight any similarities between the Buddhist doctrine and Cioran’s philosophy. But is Cioran an authentic Buddhist? Despite the connections made between him and the Buddhist doctrine, fact recognized by Cioran himself at one time, the two visions share only the starting point – suffering – and debate on issues of birth, life and death. Cioran’s approach is also a highly stylized one, highly emotional, which shows a revolt and a hidden inner drama.

Keywords: Buddhism, scepticism, birth, life, death


“Notes on nothing: an inquiry into nihilism in Cioran’s thought and works” (Rodrigo I. R. Sá Menezes)

Anale. Seria Drept, volumul XXVI (2017) la editura Mirton Timisoara, ISSN 1582-9359

Abstract: Cioran is often labeled as a “nihilist”, which is to a great extent the result of his equivocal ties with Friedrich Nietzsche, one of his main youth influences. However, nihilism does not constitute a key notion in Cioran’s writings, and neither does the Romanian-born author of French expression employs it as self-describing category. Instead, he accepts the category of the Skeptic as that which best suits his intellectual stance. We shall argue that, even if it is inevitable to speak of nihilism when it comes to Cioran’s thought and works, it is nevertheless an equivocal concept that must be relativized and held only as a propaedeutic hermeneutical operator that should later be abandoned, as it does not manage to encompass the depth and the complexity of his thought. Where readers and critics would see ” nihilist ” , Cioran says ” skeptic “. Instead of labeling him as a nihilist in the strict sense of the concept, we suggest replacing the concept of nihilism for that of meontology: a theory of nothingness, which does not amount to the same thing as nihilism. Finally, our contention is that Cioran’s philosophical and theological concerns for issues such nothingness and evil does not make him a nihilist as the Nietzschean tradition of philosophy would put it. He is rather a meontological metaphysician and also a heterodox mystic spirit, and yet a tragic character of a kind.
Keywords: Nothingness, Evil, Nihilism, Skepticism, Pessimism, Gnosticism, Atheism, Mysticism, Meontology, Voidness

“The sceptic-on-duty” (Rüdiger Punzet)

The Hindu, 04 December 2010

Profoundly influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism, the Romanian philosopher E.M. Cioran saw life as a quest for the void

The American literary critic Susan Sontag called him the French Nietzsche, John Updike dubbed him a frustrated monk, and Bernhard-Henri Lévy described him as a “Dandy of the void beside whom even the stoics appear as zealous bon vivants”. The Romanian philosopher and essayist E.M. Cioran (1911-1995) is considered one of the most critical thinkers and radical nihilists of the 20th century. In spite of his intense engagement with the Indian and Eastern philosophies and his deep admiration for them, Cioran is hardly known in this part of the world. To many who come in contact with his works he appears as an “aristocrat of doubt”, an “ungodly mystique”, a “reactionary” and a “cynic”. Cioran’s prose confronts the reader with an author who imposes an unmatched climate of cold apocalypse and scathing scepticism. In his book Anathemas and Admirations Cioran calls himself “The sceptic-on-duty of a decaying world”. He chose the essay and aphorism in particular to express himself as he was convinced that they perfectly captured the epigrammatic intensity of his thoughts: “The aphorism is cultivated only by those who have known fear in the midst of words, that fear of collapsing with all the words”… [+]