I was reading up on this idea of cosmicism that H.P. Lovecraft espoused. Wikipedia summarises the view nicely saying, "Cosmicism shares many characteristics with nihilism, though one important difference is that cosmicism tends to emphasize the insignificance of humanity and its doings, rather than summarily rejecting the possible existence of some higher purpose..."

I was wondering if any modern day philosophers focus on this idea or are nihilism and existentialism the closest academic variants of it?


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    Lovecraft's Nietzsche: "God is un-dead," i.e. one might look into the philosophy of maltheism (although this might seem sparsely written about). The insignificance thesis might be understood as, "If there are too many of some kind of thing, those things have vanishing marginal value," and then there being too many planets means Earth has vanishing marginal value, etc. (Lovecraft did love to talk about "vigintillions of years/eons" and who knows what he thought of the abyss of the aleph numbers). Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 14:13
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    It would take some effort, but one might try to connect the so-called repugnant conclusion to the insignificance thesis. Note that the cosmic beings of Lovecraft's stories are sometimes portrayed as happy, joyful, etc. in their macabre horror, ecstatic for atrocity, so one might imagine them as utility monsters. Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 14:16

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If you're digging into the whole philosophy and horror thing, you've got to check out this guy Eugene Thacker. He’s done some cool work around this, especially in his "Horror of Philosophy" trilogy. The books are "In The Dust Of This Planet", "Starry Speculative Corpse", and "Tentacles Longer Than Night".

In the first book, "In The Dust Of This Planet", Thacker really gets into this thing called "cosmic horror". It's a genre that H.P. Lovecraft, the guy who came up with Cthulhu, made popular. Thacker talks about this idea of the "world-without-us". It's all about trying to think about the world as it is, totally apart from us, humans. And that's pretty much Lovecraft's cosmicism in a nutshell - the universe doesn't care about us, it's just too vast and complex.

Then in "Starry Speculative Corpse" and "Tentacles Longer Than Night", Thacker takes these ideas even further. He looks at horror through the lens of philosophical pessimism and nihilism - think life is meaningless, and everything is pointless. He explores how horror really challenges our tendency to think the world revolves around us.

Also, if you're a Lovecraft fan, you'll love how Thacker uses Lovecraft's work. He quotes him a lot and uses Lovecraft's stories as a kind of jumping-off point for his philosophical discussions. Lovecraft's horror, with humans coming across these ancient, powerful alien entities, really fits with Thacker's exploration of the "world-without-us" and the philosophical implications of cosmic horror.

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