An Atheism that Is Not Humanist Emerges in French Thought by Stefanos Geroulanos

By Stefanos Geroulanos

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French philosophy replaced dramatically within the moment region of the 20 th century. within the wake of global battle I and, later, the Nazi and Soviet mess ups, significant philosophers reminiscent of Kojève, Levinas, Heidegger, Koyré, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and Hyppolite argued that guy may now not fill the void left by means of the "death of God" with no additionally calling up the worst in human background and denigrating the distinction of the human topic. In reaction, they contributed to a brand new trust that guy should still not be considered because the foundation for lifestyles, inspiration, and ethics; relatively, human nature grew to become depending on different strategies and constructions, together with Being, language, proposal, and tradition. This argument, which was once to be paramount for existentialism and structuralism, got here to dominate postwar proposal. This highbrow heritage of those advancements argues that at their middle lay a brand new atheism that defied humanism as inadequate and finally violent.

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Thanks to the adaptability of the phenomenological critique of transcendence, atheism came to be thought as no longer demanding a replacement of human transcendence (deemed wrong) for classical divine transcendence (deemed long outdated), and alternatives to humanism could be proposed. This second part considers the forceful rise of antihumanism in the period 1943 to 1954. The crucial postwar development was the tearing of the humanist mantle that followed the 1944 libération, after the résistance had temporarily succeeded in bringing back a sense of humanist accord against Nazism.

These systems are not consequences of Man’s creative activity, desire, or will; they are not figures of his difference from an animal. They are domains in which he finds himself and to which he reacts. They are what grants meaning to “his” experience, to each of “his” forms, thoughts, modes, and conceptual  Man Under Erasure expressions. ” cannot be given a lasting, comprehensive, transcendental answer. In this sense, the human in man comes to mean less and less: we can only know what he is not, what others and other things are, what his approach to them can reveal.

The Temptation of the West presents the bleakest expression of this line of questioning. Rather than seek a way out of the feared decline, Malraux announces it as the central tragedy of his time.  D. who is corresponding, during the course of a trip to China, with Ling, an Asian aristocrat visiting Europe.  D. has contrasted the China that consumes him with an individualist Europe that he declares arid and morally bankrupt and that he fears has lost its essence (TW 76, 92). ’s comments as invitations to express his criticism of Europe (in contrast to a China in decline) as a civilization based on an absurd core, increasingly foreign to itself, perhaps even doomed from the start (TW 98).

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