Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ludwig Feuerbach 13: Nina Power on Feuerbach on religion

Here is a 4-minute video by philosopher and social theorist Nina Power:

Radical thinkers: Ludwig Feuerbach on religion - video

This is on the occasion of Verso Books' re-publication of the anthology The Fiery Brook: Selected Writings by Ludwig Feuerbach, translated by Zawar Hanfi.

This is a collection of Feuerbach's shorter philosophical writings. We are fortunate that it is now back in print. For the contents and other writings by and about Feuerbach in English see my bibliography of Ludwig Feuerbach.

Feuerbach is most known for his views on religion, in particular his epoch-making book The Essence of Christianity (1841). Power references this work in her video. While I can't recall the items I've read, I know I have read some very intelligent pieces by her. I have no real complaints about this brief introduction to Feuerbach, but I would contrast Feuerbach with the so-called "new atheists" in a different way. It is not a question of belligerence vs sympathy for believers, but one of methodology, depth, and insight. There is more to be mined in Feuerbach than has been mobilized to date. Feuerbach is incomparably richer in insight than Dawkins' drivel about memes, religion as virus, and similar ideologically driven pseudo-explanations, and that goes for the others on the bandwagon of the journalistically dubbed new atheism. For me the watchword is a later Feuerbach work:

Lectures on the Essence of Religion (1851), translated by Ralph Manheim. New York: Harper & Row, 1967. (See Lectures I & XXX offsite, Lecture 1 (Part II), Lecture 2 and more on my site.)