By Stefanos Geroulanos
French philosophy replaced dramatically within the moment sector of the 20th century. within the wake of worldwide conflict I and, later, the Nazi and Soviet mess ups, significant philosophers resembling Kojève, Levinas, Heidegger, Koyré, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and Hyppolite argued that guy might now not fill the void left by means of the "death of God" with no additionally calling up the worst in human heritage 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, idea, and ethics; particularly, human nature turned depending on different thoughts and constructions, together with Being, language, inspiration, and tradition. This argument, which was once to be paramount for existentialism and structuralism, got here to dominate postwar notion. This highbrow heritage of those advancements argues that at their center lay a brand new atheism that confounded humanism as inadequate and finally violent.
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Additional info for An Atheism that Is Not Humanist Emerges in French Thought (Cultural Memory in the Present)
28 Similarly, in the famous article “Encyclopédie,” Diderot writes, “Why do we not introduce man into our work the way he is placed in the universe? Why do we not make him a common center? Is there some point in infinite space from which we can to greater advantage draw the immense lines we propose to stretch to all other points? ”29 What changes with the advent of negative anthropology is that this kind of definition becomes not just problematic but irrelevant. ” He can no longer claim to be capable of scientifically understanding the entire world.
In language, he is an interpreter, conduit, and enunciator of signs and symbols that form part of greater systems independent of his individual will, choices, and existence (the Saussurians, Merleau-Ponty, the later Heidegger); historically, he is constructed and operates within cultural, religious, and philosophical limits imposed on him (Koyré, Bachelard, Merleau-Ponty). In each of these systems, he does not grant meaning to reality, language, history, being, and society; he finds his own role and status produced and located by the way they construct his interaction with the world and with other beings.
41 Political and social humanism, with its commitment to contractarian social theory, its respect for free will, and its trust in human virtue and perfectibility, is at once a consequence and a constitutive dimension of this spirit that has surrounded humanism since the mid-1800s. 43 This attention to human nature and to the progress of human history also removed this breed of humanism from the Renaissance and Man Under Erasure Humboldtian tenet of a return to ancient Greek culture qua apex of human civilization.
An Atheism that Is Not Humanist Emerges in French Thought (Cultural Memory in the Present) by Stefanos Geroulanos