Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 30 March 2020

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

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.