By Stefanos Geroulanos
French philosophy replaced dramatically within the moment area of the 20 th century. within the wake of worldwide battle I and, later, the Nazi and Soviet failures, significant philosophers equivalent to Kojève, Levinas, Heidegger, Koyré, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and Hyppolite argued that guy might not fill the void left by way of the "death of God" with no additionally calling up the worst in human background 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 life, notion, and ethics; particularly, human nature grew to become depending on different strategies and buildings, together with Being, language, notion, 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 eventually violent.
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Additional info for An Atheism that Is Not Humanist Emerges in French Thought (Cultural Memory in the Present)
By the start of the 1950s—the endpoint of the present study—most philosophers (including figures involved in politics and humanist commitments) rejected the very possibility of an irreducible or given human nature, of a natural man, or of something in man that is essentially or fundamentally human and that forms the core of human existence, interaction, creativity, and so forth. Not only could man no longer pose as the crux, end, or foundation of philosophical enterprise, but also the very possibility of conceiving the specificity of man’s humanity had come into doubt.
In a political culture marked by the war, as well as by increasing political divisions, this was a movement aiming at a general rejection of the status quo, and thus, it located the human precisely in what this culture was destroying. During the decade that followed The Temptation of the West, French intellectuals became obsessed with denouncing bourgeois humanism and announcing possible ways out of its supposedly destructive implications. Since the late nineteenth century, the Dreyfus Affair and the reorganization of secular education had divided intellectuals and the public between a faction that looked to Boulangism and the royalist past, and another that emphasized republican commitment as the progressive defense of the achievements of the Republic.
Negative” Philosophical Anthropology The second major dimension of philosophical antihumanism is its contribution to—and conceptual dependence on—the gradual elabora- Man Under Erasure tion of a negative philosophical anthropology. Negative anthropology, by and large an internal philosophical and theological problematic, attempts a generalized interpretation of man in terms that place unified notions of the human in suspension and deny that it owns or controls his own specificity and particularity.
An Atheism that Is Not Humanist Emerges in French Thought (Cultural Memory in the Present) by Stefanos Geroulanos