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The Banalization of Nihilism: Twentieth-Century Responses to Meaninglessness
     

The Banalization of Nihilism: Twentieth-Century Responses to Meaninglessness

by Karen L. Carr
 

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After a historical and conceptual overview of the changing face of nihilism in the last century, Carr examines Nietzsche’s diagnosis of nihilism as modernity’s major crisis. She then compares the responses to nihilism given by the early Karl Barth and by Richard Rorty.

To some, nihilism is losing its crisis connotations and becoming simply an

Overview

After a historical and conceptual overview of the changing face of nihilism in the last century, Carr examines Nietzsche’s diagnosis of nihilism as modernity’s major crisis. She then compares the responses to nihilism given by the early Karl Barth and by Richard Rorty.

To some, nihilism is losing its crisis connotations and becoming simply an unobjectionable characteristic of human life. Carr argues that this transformation ultimately absolutizes community preference and reflects an increasing inability to criticize and change the existing structures of thought. The author contends that the uncritical acceptance of nihilism, which characterizes much of postmodernism, ironically culminates in its complete opposite—dogmatism.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A century ago, says Carr (religious studies, Lawrence U.), nihilism was an enemy Nietzsche could battle, but now, like smog, it is so pervasive we can no longer even see it. She warns that the uncritical acceptance of nihilism by postmodernism will lead to intellectual paralysis,, and eventually to its nemesis, dogmatism. Paper edition (unseen), $12.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
“This book is an important contribution to the growing literature on nihilism and its role in contemporary culture. The commonalities the author demonstrates among such seemingly disparate thinkers as Nietzsche, Barth, and Rorty are illuminating, and I found especially intriguing her claim that Nietzsche and Barth are closer to one another than either is to Rorty.” — Donald A. Crosby, Colorado State University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791408346
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
02/28/1992
Pages:
208

Meet the Author

Karen L. Carr is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Lawrence University.

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