How does Nietzsche, as psychologist, envision the future of religion and
atheism? While there has been no lack of “psychological” studies that
have sought to illuminate Nietzsche's philosophy of religion by
interpreting his biography, this monograph is the first comprehensive
study to approach the topic through the philosopher's own psychological
thinking. The author shows how Nietzsche's critical writings on religion,
and especially on religious decline and future possibilities, are informed
by his psychological thinking about moods. The author furthermore
argues that the clarification of this aspect of the philosopher’s work is
essential to interpreting some of the most ambiguous words found in his
writings; the words that God is dead. Instead of merely denying the
existence of God in a way that leaves a melancholic need for religion or a
futile search for replacements intact, Nietzsche arguably envisions the
possibility of a radical atheism, which is characterized by a mood of joyful
doubt. The examination of this vision should be of great interest to
scholars of Nietzsche and of the history of philosophy, but also of
relevance to all those who take an interest in the interdisciplinary
discourse on secularization.
Sampsa Andrei Saarinen, Helsinki.
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