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This Life: Why Mortality Makes Us Free

Martin Hagglund



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Profile Books LTD
03 September 2019
Philosophy; Phenomenology & Existentialism; Social & political philosophy; Philosophy of religion
'Any spiritual life must tremble with the anxiety of freedom, even in the most profound fulfillment of our aspirations...' Would Heaven be boring? Do you want to live forever? If this is all there is, what should we do with it? Join the Swedish philosopher Martin Hagglund on an original inquiry into the deepest questions of existence.

To embrace the freedom that life grants us, Hagglund argues, we must rid ourselves of religious fantasies of immortality. Our time in this world is the only thing of value we can ever possess, but capitalism constantly beguiles us to steal it away. Via profound engagements with some of the greatest philosophers and theologians in history, including Aristotle, St Augustine, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Hegel and Marx, Hagglund takes aim at these two great enemies, religion and capitalism, stripping away their many subtle illusions to return us to life itself, in all its fragility and uncertainty.

This Life is the first great work of existentialist philosophy to emerge in the 21st century. Existence is our collective project: we must grasp that everything is at stake in what we do with our finite time together. It is the only thing we possess, and it is precious.
By:   Martin Hagglund
Imprint:   Profile Books LTD
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   Main
Dimensions:   Height: 240mm,  Width: 162mm,  Spine: 40mm
Weight:   746g
ISBN:   9781788163002
ISBN 10:   1788163001
Pages:   464
Publication Date:   03 September 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Martin Hagglund is Professor of Comparative Literature and Humanities at Yale University, and a member of the Society of Fellows at Harvard University. His first book in English, Radical Atheism (2008), was the subject of a conference at Cornell, a colloquium at Oxford, and a 250-page special issue of The New Centennial Review titled Living On: Of Martin Hagglund. His most recent book, Dying for Time: Proust, Woolf, Nabokov (2012), was hailed by the Los Angeles Review of Books as a 'revolutionary' achievement. In 2018, he received a Guggenheim fellowship. He lives in New York City.

Reviews for This Life: Why Mortality Makes Us Free

Beautifully liberating ... Hagglund's fundamental secular cry seems right: since time is all we have, we must measure its preciousness in units of freedom. Nothing else will do. Once this glorious idea has taken hold, it is very hard to dislodge. -- James Wood * New Yorker * Like the existentialist works of the mid-20th century, This Life is a stirring reminder about philosophy's power to move and disturb as well as illuminate. -- Gavin Jacobson * New Statesman * Really moving and actually soothing. It gave me some kind of inner peace to contemplate Martin Hagglund's arguments, partly because the arguments really are about how beautiful and precious and singular it is to have this life, to be alive as a human on this planet. -- Chris Hayes * Why Is This Happening? podcast * Lucidly written, and at times beautifully so, it is unmistakably a work of philosophy... [Hagglund] wants to effect a revolutionary change in our understanding of value, in our economies and in our lives. -- Mark O'Connell * New Statesman * A splendid primer in the importance of authentic freedom. * Yanis Varoufakis, former Greek minister of finance and author of Adults in the Room * Martin Hagglund 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 * 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... Hagglund 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 * A bold contemporary take on existentialism... Earnest and precise... huge intellectual range... beautifully clear. This Life requires no philosophical training or lexicon to follow it, only an interest in the meaning of this life...I found Hagglund's cherishing of mortal life a cheering corrective to the sometimes joyless scientificity of the new atheism....Hagglund is surely right that it is our mortality, our miraculous existence as carbon-based matter turned all too briefly into conscious beings who can love and be loved, that makes us priceless to ourselves and to each other. -- Joe Moran * Times Higher Education * Hagglund's This Life is a highly readable, accessible - yet profound - examination of what kind of society might enable life at its most fulfilling. Whilst realising our interdependence, we have to be responsible for our own fragile lives. The theses may be heavy, but the discussions and analyses, however complex, are written with a light touch and beguiling clarity which is both wholly absorbing and deeply relevant. The reader is complicit, a partner. It is a book to read slowly, and this reviewer is about to start reading it all over again. -- Marina Vaizey * The Arts Desk *

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