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date: 15 August 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter analyses the fundamental needs of nihilism, drawing upon the thoughts of Alain Badiou, Gianni Vattimo, Giorgio Agamben, and Jean-Luc Nancy. Nihilism has many needs, but the most serious, essential need is that it must not simply be nihilistic; that is, it cannot be mere lack. This fundamental need is witnessed in the necessary move to colonize theology, as seen when advocates of nihilism appropriate religious terms and concepts in an effort to remove any residual dualism between atheism and theism, and to ward off any sense of limit or absence. The first person examined is Badiou, whose main need is to rid himself of finitude so that the notion of a beyond is nonsensical. But that will come at a cost, for in losing any sense of a beyond, it is not transcendence that suffers, but immanence. In other words, it is the natural (and not the supernatural) that is lost in the flux of mere history. Vattimo, Agamben, and Nancy are more explicit in their attempt to colonize religion by setting up counterfeit theologies in the hope of saving nihilism.

Keywords: Alain Badiou, Gianni Vattimo, Giorgio Agamben, Jean-Luc Nancy, atheism, theism

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