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This Life

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This Life by Martin Hägglund
Hardcover
Mar 05, 2019 | 464 Pages
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    Mar 05, 2019 | 464 Pages

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    Mar 05, 2019 | 464 Pages

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Praise

“Brilliant. . .An excellent place to start for those who want to energize the theory of socialism… Hägglund insists on grounding his Marxism in a broader tradition, and his version of it is so exciting. . .One of Hägglund’s most impressive achievements is to bring to a new public agitating for an embrace of freedom in our lives a bold project of exhuming from the grave an identifiably Marxist intellectual enterprise. At stake are the beliefs we all must share that humanity is one, the social life it has created for itself an affront to its destiny, and — theoretically as well as practically — it has a world to win.” —Samuel Moyn, Jacobin

“Gives fresh philosophical and political vitality to a longstanding question… Much in the book will resonate with a democratic left that has gained strength in the seven-plus years since Occupy—in Black Lives Matter and the Sanders campaign, in the vision of the Green New Deal, in the Fight for $15 and in North Carolina’s Moral Mondays. This Life attempts to deepen the philosophical dimension of this left and to anchor its commitments in a larger inquiry: What kind of political and economic order can do justice to our mortality, to the fact that our lives are all we have?. . .This Life presents a vital alternative.” The New Republic
                                                                                      
“Martin Hägglund’s This Life is a splendid primer on the importance of authentic freedom.” —Yanis Varoufakis, Former Greek Minister of Finance and bestselling author of Adults in the Room

“Arriving at a moment of widespread intellectual and political disorientation, This Life is a timely, profoundly ambitious attempt to fashion a new foundation for personal and collective existence. Hägglund argues that a return to Marx’s radical materialism does not have to signal a loss of spirituality or contempt for democracy, but something like the opposite: a truly secular faith in a redemptive realm of freedom.” —Stephen Greenblatt, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

This Life is an audacious, ambitious, and often maddening tour de force. . .Its iconoclasm and sweep provide an example of what intellectual activity can and should look like in an era of emergency. . .We need a vision of justice that is plausible and compelling enough to organize our efforts. Hägglund’s book provides one. After a half century of anti-utopian suspicion, This Life calls us back to a nearly forgotten style of thinking and imagining. . .Hägglund is right that time is our most precious resource.” —The Boston Review

“This is a rare piece of work, the product of great intellectual strength and moral fortitude. The writing shows extraordinary range and possesses an honesty and fervor which is entirely without cynicism. Beneath Hägglund’s affirmation of secular faith and a life-defining commitment is a compelling reworking of the early Heidegger’s existential analytic, especially his understanding of finitude and ecstatic temporality. With the great difference that this is a distinctly leftist project, where secular faith leads to spiritual freedom which is understood as a Hegelian-Marxist affirmation of democratic socialism. Hägglund is a genuine moralist for our times, possessed of an undaunted resoluteness and a fierce commitment to intellectual probity. Maybe he’s the philosophical analogue to Karl Ove Knausgaard.” Simon Critchley, curator for The New York Times‘ The Stone and author of Tragedy, the Greeks, and Us

“Hägglund shows with real originality why the moral concern that underlies religious faith has always been a hope for the perpetuation of life on earth. Stringent, lucid, and urgent in its appeal for a politics equal to the prospect of climate disaster, This Life is both an argument and a summons.” —David Bromwich, Sterling Professor at Yale University and author of Moral Imagination

“Martin Hägglund is the most important young philosopher in America, whose work on time has already made an immense impression in academic circles. Now he has chosen to address a broad audience, in a work of immaculate clarity. When this powerful and moving book reaches a wide readership, it will, I think, have profound practical as well as theoretical consequences for the discussions that are raging on every side around questions of religious belief and the future of democracy.” —Richard Klein, Professor Emeritus at Cornell and bestselling author of Cigarettes Are Sublime 

“By far the most profound, thoughtful, compelling, and insightful book I have ever read on the topic of immortality, and the problematic implications of the religious fixation on eternal life. For a secular person–or anyone who wants to understand the secular worldview–this book is essential reading. . .Hägglund plumbs its depths like no one has ever before. He does so artfully, theoretically, and with tremendous wisdom. This Life is a truly welcome addition to the secularist humanist canon.” —Phil Zuckerman, Psychology Today  

“As timely as a work of philosophy could be these days.” Booklist, starred review 

“A densely argued critique of religion and capitalism . . . An impassioned and erudite proposal for vast systemic changes.” —Kirkus Reviews

Table Of Contents

Introduction 3

Part I: Secular Faith
1. Faith 39
2. Love 69
3. Responsibility 124

Part II: Spiritual Freedom
4. Natural and Spiritual Freedom 173
5. The Value of Our Finite Time 212
6. Democratic Socialism 270

Conclusion: Our Only Life 333

Notes 393
Bibliography 415
Acknowledgments 425
Index 429

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