Would It Be Bad If the Human Race Ceased to Exist? Melancholia and the Import of Human Existence

  • Hans Pedersen


In this chapter I develop an interpretation of von Trier’s Melancholia as making an argument that it would be impossible to consider the elimination of the human race as something bad. After reconstructing the argument in the film as I see it, I proceed to consider whether a counter-argument can be given to provide some non-anthropocentric reasons for objecting to the end of the human race. Using the thought of Hegel and Merleau-Ponty, I show that human beings could be seen as an integral part of the development of the larger organism insofar as we contribute to the conceptual self-consciousness of the world or the less rationalistic self-perception and articulation of the world.


Melancholia Hegel Merleau-Ponty Anti-natalism Lars von Trier 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Pedersen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyIndiana University of PennsylvaniaIndianaUSA

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