Neil Cornwell
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The theoretical absurd
An introduction
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This chapter introduces the concept of the absurd, which is frequently used in literature and is defined as something applied to the modern sense of human purposelessness in a universe with no meaning or value. It studies the connections the absurd has to nihilism, existentialism and ontology, and then takes a look at ‘negative theology’, which is relevant to practitioners of the absurd. From there, the discussion considers the problems related to the perception of inherent absurdity and the deconstruction of a philosophical system into nonsense, contradiction and absurdity. The chapter also considers the concept of the socio-linguistic absurd, as well as the nature of jokes and humour.

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