Difficult Atheism

Christopher Watkin

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780748640577
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671793 | DOI:
Difficult Atheism

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This book shows how contemporary French philosophy is rethinking the legacy of the death of God in ways that take the debate beyond the narrow confines of atheism into the much broader domain of post-theological thinking. The argument traces its way through the different approaches of Alain Badiou, Jean-Luc Nancy and Quentin Meillassoux, showing how each thinker elaborates a distinctive account of the ‘post-theological’, each moving beyond atheism and seeking to follow the death of God in a different way. The term ‘post-theological’ is used to describe a position that has moved beyond the twin poles of an ‘ascetic’ or residual atheism shorn of radical political potential and a ‘parasitic’ or imitative atheism still relying on theological categories. The three positions considered in the book all seek to locate themselves differently in relation to the spectrum between the ascetic and the parasitic as they seek to occupy the territory of post-theological thought. After examining each position carefully and exposing them to a three-way mutual critique, the book concludes that, while Badiou, Nancy and Meillassoux are each sensitive in different measure to the dangers of the ascetic and the parasitic, and while they each gesture towards a post-theological thinking no longer defined in terms of imitative and residual atheisms, they each also struggle to do justice to the death of God.

Keywords: Death of God; Atheism; Theology; Atheology; God; Metaphysics

Book.  296 pages. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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