The Death of God and the Meaning of Life

By Julian Young | Go to book overview

Notes

Introduction

1
Here, and from now on, I abandon the 'scare quotes' round 'true world'. Whenever the phrase occurs, however, they should be imagined to be there, lending it a tone of mild irony.
2
The basic definition of 'metaphysics' is 'the study of what ultimately exists'. Sometimes, however, philosophers emphasise the etymological components of the word - meta-physics, above-the-physical - so that the word is used in a more restricted way (particularly by nineteenth-century Germans) to mean 'the study of the (putative) supra-natural world'. A third use of 'metaphysics', which will not appear until Chapter 15, is introduced by Heidegger. In this book the first of these three uses will be by far the most common.
3
If I know someone has drunk a slow-acting, but invariably fatal, poison, I may correctly say 'Yo u 're dead' even though you are, in fact, still alive. When Nietzsche announced the death of God in 1882, he spoke with the prescience of the seer. He knew perfectly well that Marxism - 'socialism', as he called it - was a perpetuation of the idea of God by other means: he called it God's 'shadow'. But he also knew that this form of the idea had to 'die', too. It is, therefore, no objection to Nietzsche to point out that 'God's' death-throes did not completely end until the fall of the Berlin Wall (the final and visible collapse of communism) in 1989.
4
'Life' is not the same as 'my life'. While 'life is meaningful' entails 'my life is meaningful', on the surface, at least, it would seem that my life might be meaningful even if life as such were not. I shall return to this point later on.

-216-

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The Death of God and the Meaning of Life
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Before the Death of God 7
  • 1 - Plato 9
  • 2 - Kant and Christianity 21
  • 3 - Schopenhauer 29
  • 4 - Early Nietzsche 44
  • 5 - Hegel 57
  • 6 - Hegel (Continued), with a Postscript on Marx 71
  • Part II - After the Death of God 81
  • 7 - Later Nietzsche 83
  • 8 - Posthumous Nietzsche 97
  • 9 - Early Heidegger 107
  • 10 - Sartre 125
  • 11 - Sartre (Continued) 142
  • 12 - Camus 160
  • 13 - Foucault 173
  • 14 - Derrida 188
  • 15 - Later Heidegger 197
  • Further Reading 213
  • Notes 216
  • Index 233
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