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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 zone of the 20th century. within the wake of worldwide battle I and, later, the Nazi and Soviet failures, significant philosophers reminiscent of Kojève, Levinas, Heidegger, Koyré, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and Hyppolite argued that guy may possibly now not fill the void left by way of the "death of God" with out additionally calling up the worst in human historical past and denigrating the respect of the human topic. In reaction, they contributed to a brand new trust that guy should still now not be considered because the foundation for lifestyles, suggestion, and ethics; quite, human nature grew to become depending on different strategies and constructions, together with Being, language, concept, and tradition. This argument, which used to be 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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56 The postwar period, with its different political and intellectual landscape, also marked a significant transformation of these critiques. 57 Postwar Catholic critics of atheist humanism became especially influential—Henri de Lubac eventually became a cardinal after yielding much influence in the 1960s, Jacques Maritain and Gabriel Marcel enjoyed substantial followings, and even Pope Paul VI came to emphasize a conception of humanity based on “theocentric humanism” that invoked an openness and respect toward those outside Christianity for the first 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).

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).  D.  Europe, great cemetery where only dead conquerors sleep, whose sadness is deepened by the pride taken in their illustrious names—you leave me with only a naked horizon and the mirror of solitude’s old master, despair” (TW 120–21).  D. address, from outside the West, a non-Westerner in the West, allows Malraux to provide a critique that would not easily fall to political categorization, all the while claiming the knowledge of an insider and enjoying the analytical clarity of distance.

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