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The Death of God and the Meaning of Life Paperback – July 25, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0415307901 ISBN-10: 0415307902

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (July 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415307902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415307901
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,043,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Young is to be congratulated in producing a lively and accessible discussion of some difficult philosophical texts.' - The London Magazine


'Young's book builds on his excellent study of Nietzsche's aesthetics.' - The Philosopher's Magazine


'This book is excellent as a weekend read, yet is sectioned perfectly for use as a course text; it is absolutely a worthwhile read for professional philosophers and students of philosophy alike, as well as anyone who has ever wondered about 'the meaning of life'.' - Dialogue

About the Author

Julian Young is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Auckland and Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Tasmania. His most recent books are Heidegger's Philosophy of Art (2001), and Heidegger's Later Philosophy (2002).

More About the Author

Julian Young is the author of eleven books, mostly on nineteenth- and twentieth-century German philosophy. He has also written The Death of God and the Meaning of Life. His most recent work is The Philosophy of Tragedy: from Plato to Žižek. He has appeared on radio and television in Ireland, New Zealand and the USA, and has written for the Guardian, the New York Times and Harper's Magazine. He is currently completing a book on the philosophy of Richard Wagner. Visit his website here: http://college.wfu.edu/philosophy/people/faculty/julian-young/

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By K. Kehler on May 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a very good book, full of ideas and insights, and -- last but not least -- solid, thoughtful criticism of the various thinkers treated (after a short opening chapter on Plato, it's basically Hegel, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche through to Sartre, Heidegger, Foucault and Derrida). Young is a superbly clear writer, reluctant to obfuscate or to oversimplify. As I have said, he criticizes and in doing so doesn't pull his punches, though he's never unfair. He explains each thinker's philosophical approach, and then discusses it in terms of the overarching theme of the book: what counts as human flourishing for the thinker in question, and to what extent is the thinker's account a compelling one. He engages with arguments, puts the philosophers into context, and into debate with each other. Finally, I found that he was enjoyably critical of Foucault for the philosopher's derivative Nietzschean hedonism (the idea that the best answer to the question of how to live, and how to promote human flourishing, is to live one's life as though it were a work of art). This is a book many readers would like and get a lot out of even if they aren't philosophers. I have a high regard for his other books (on Heidegger and Nietzsche) but this one, for all of the care he takes in presenting arguments, allows his personality to show through a little bit. And he sounds like an interesting, likeable chap.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mark I. Vuletic on April 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
The clarity of Young's Schopenhauer motivated me to read this book, which I otherwise would have put aside as soon as I saw chapters about Hegel, Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida. My confidence in Young was well-placed: he makes every single philosopher in the book accessible, no matter how obscure their writings are. This, I think, is the great advantage of the book, far beyond the light it casts on the search for meaning in light of the death of God: it is an outstanding introduction to Continental philosophy generally, digestible to those of an analytic temperament.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Michael S. Valle on June 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I, like Mark (another reviewer), was attracted to Young based on his book on Schopenhauer. Julian Young is, in my humblest of opinions, one of the clearest, most insightful, and simply most useful philosophers living on this tainted orb.

Young manages to transform the hopelessly obscure (Heidigger, Derrida, Foucoult, Sartre) into pressingly relevant thinkers for the secular age in which we live. It may be possible that those thinkers may not agree entirely with the use that Young makes of them, but they may have. In any case, what is important in philosophy are the ideas, and Young sees amazing ideas in dark places.

In any case, Young traces a story through these difficult thinkers, and that story is a compelling one. He digs for the insights and finds them amidst all the jumble and confusion that so often characterizes many of these philosophers. Young has completely changed my perspective on these guys.

Young is also a lot of fun. He is not politically correct, and calls out BS when he sees it. I love this guy's attitude, even when I (rarely) disagree with him.

Dr. Young, if you read this review, keep writing until you finally meet the fate that has been fixed for all.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dystopian Atheist on September 29, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In 'The Death of God and the Meaning of Life' Julian Young's writing style is clear, concise and a delight to read. Rarely does he use words that would require the reader to take out a dictionary, which in my opinion, makes this book accessible to almost all readers even those who are new to philosophy.

In Part I of this book Julian Young makes strong and convincing arguments against what he calls, 'true-world' philosophies. These are philosophies that teach the life we experience right now is just in preparation for the true world that lies after death (heaven, nirvana etc) or an earthly paradise that lies far into the future in the form of a utopia.

Part II of the book deals with 'after-death-of-God' philosophers and the narratives they propose to take the place of the grand narratives offered by 'true-world' philosophers.

The reason for my four star rating instead of five stars is in the 15th chapter of the book Young attempts to make the argument that later-Heidegger's 'guardian' narrative is preferable to other 'after-death-of-God' philosophers narratives such as later-Nietzsche's 'life as art' narrative or Camus's absurd hero. His reasons seems less than convincing to me. One of them consists of the premise that nature is beautiful and awe-inspiring therefor we have a calling to become guardians of it.

While I don't disagree that nature can be beautiful and awe-inspiring, I also know nature can be cruel, destructive and unforgiving. So Young's idea nature ought to be protected by us falls apart in my opinion. He makes other arguments for his position but this one is the most glaringly weak for me. It seems like he had no problems taking the other philosophers to the woodshed but later-Heidegger seems to have gotten a pass. Read this book and decide for yourself!

I don't agree with everything Young wrote but I also don't regret spending my money on this book either.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used this book as a source for my senior paper, which was on the topic of the "Death of God". When I wrote the paper I did not fully read the book, just on what I needed. A few years have passed and now I just read through the book and thought it was excellent!

A great introduction to the concept of the "Death of God" in philosophy. His strongest argument seems to show through Plato, Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Hegel, and Heidegger. When I read the chapters on Sartre, Camus, Derrida, and Foucault, the pace slowed down and I felt like i was treading through mud. It took me no time to read up to Early Heidegger and when I got to Sartre it slowed down to the point it took me over a week to get through these chapters, whereas, from Plato to Early Heidegger it took me two days. These chapters were interesting and added a French perspective to the issue, and the slowness maybe due to my own unfamiliarity with these French philosophers vs the German ones.

I wish there would be more books on this subject, this is a subject I am very interested in, as stated I wrote my Sr. Thesis on this topic and it took me awhile to find enough sources to use and I am glad to have picked up this book.
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