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Nietzsche, Religion, and Mood

Funded by: University of Helsinki

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.

Author Information

Sampsa Andrei Saarinen, Helsinki.

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