Dr Stephan Atzert


This talk will provide a sketch of Western notions of Nirvana, from Schopenhauer's relative nothingness (in The World as Will and Presentation) to Mainländer's absolute nothingness (in The Philosophy of Redemption) and to the „nirvana-principle” and the death drive mentioned in Sigmund Freud's Beyond the Pleasure Principle. Schopenhauer and Mainländer refer to the teachings of the Buddha as support for their respective philosophical outlooks; Freud quotes his student Barbara Low1, who coined the term „nirvana-principle” for the lowering of tension in the psyche - i.e. the experience of pleasure - as resulting from the death drive.


Dr Stephan Atzert is a lecturer in German. His research project investigates the reception of Schopenhauer's philosophy by Nietzsche, Deussen and Freud.

His research interests include the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer and its impact in the history of ideas, the writings of Sigmund Freud, of Friedrich Nietzsche and of Paul Deussen. Literary authors: Thomas Bernhard and Heiner Müller. Supervision interests include the work of Th. W, Adorno and the Frankfurt School, the German student movement and the Red Army Faction.

He is currently developing a project on K.E. Neumann and the 19th and 20th century reception of Buddhism in Europe.

About Research Seminar Series

The School of Languages and Cultures Research Seminar Series provides an opportunity to hear from the School's researchers as well as visitors on a range of topics from the following research areas: Linguistics, Second Language Studies, Studies in Culture, and Translation and Interpreting

Research Seminars are only available for UQ students and staff. 



Gordon Greenwood Building The University of Queensland, St Lucia

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