112th: Martin Hägglund on This Life
Join us at Book Culture on 112th on Thursday, April 4th, at 7pm for for a discussion with Martin Hägglund on his new book, This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom. Professor Taylor Carman will be joining Martin in discussion.
A profound, original, and accessible book that offers a new secular vision of how we can lead our lives. Ranging from fundamental existential questions to the most pressing social issues of our time, This Life shows why our commitment to freedom and democracy should lead us beyond both religion and capitalism.
In this groundbreaking book, the philosopher Martin Hägglund challenges our received notions of faith and freedom. The faith we need to cultivate, he argues, is not a religious faith in eternity but a secular faith devoted to our finite life together. He shows that all spiritual questions of freedom are inseparable from economic and material conditions. What ultimately matters is how we treat one another in this life, and what we do with our time together.
Hägglund develops new existential and political principles while transforming our understanding of spiritual life. His critique of religion takes us to the heart of what it means to mourn our loved ones, be committed, and care about a sustainable world. His critique of capitalism demonstrates that we fail to sustain our democratic values because our lives depend on wage labor. In clear and pathbreaking terms, Hägglund explains why capitalism is inimical to our freedom, and why we should instead pursue a novel form of democratic socialism.
In developing his vision of an emancipated secular life, Hägglund engages with great philosophers from Aristotle to Hegel and Marx, literary writers from Dante to Proust and Knausgaard, political economists from Mill to Keynes and Hayek, and religious thinkers from Augustine to Kierkegaard andMartin Luther King, Jr. This Life gives us new access to our past—for the sake of a different future.
MARTIN HÄGGLUND is Professor of Comparative Literature and Humanities at Yale University. He is also a member of the Society of Fellows at Harvard University, where he was a Junior Fellow (2009-2012). He is the author of three highly acclaimed books and his work has been translated into eight languages. In his native Sweden, he published his first book, Chronophobia (2002), at the age of twenty-five and he is the recipient of the Swedish Academy's Schück Prize. His first book in English, Radical Atheism (2008), was the subject of a conference at Cornell University, a colloquium at Oxford University, and a 250-page special issue of The New Centennial Review, titled Living On: Of Martin Hägglund. 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 was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. He lives in New York City.
PROFESSOR CARMAN is the author of Heidegger’s Analytic (2003) and Merleau-Ponty (2008; 2nd ed. forthcoming) and has coedited The Cambridge Companion to Merleau-Ponty (2005). He has published articles on topics in phenomenology and is currently writing a book on Heidegger.