Degree Year


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Todd Ganson


Philosophy, Meaning, Apocalypse, Meaning of life, Jacques Derrida, No Apocalypse Not Now, Archive, Literary archive, Arts, Literature


Modernity has always contained the threat of destruction. Mostly, the threat has been shapeless. It has manifested itself in the collective psyche as a vague fear of a far-off wasteland: an unknown apocalypse. The more tense moments of history have sometimes lent the fear real shape. For many years, it seemed as if atomic destruction was just over the horizon. Indeed, the early years of atomic testing wrought significant ecological damage. In the post-Cold War era, the fear of atomic destruction, at least by full nuclear exchange between the superpowers, has receded, but the apocalyptic threat has not. Climate change, over population, anti-biotic resistant “super-bugs,” economic collapse, and war all seem, to varying degrees, to threaten the equilibrium of human society.

The purpose of this project is not to determine the likelihood of such an event, but to investigate the philosophical ramifications of such an eventuality. Further, the project will focus on the central question of whether or not humans can live a meaningful life in a post-apocalyptic scenario. The framework for this investigation will be firstly to take traditional theories of meaning and see if their argumentation remains cogent in an apocalyptic scenario. Second, if traditional theories fall short, I will try to see if there is any way in which a recognizable theory of meaning can be constructed.

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