Apotheosis of the hungry God: Nihilism and the contours of scholarship

Ethics, Place and Environment 13 (1):31 – 41 (2010)
The modern university is a demoralizing institution, largely devoted to the propagation of nihilism and liberation of desire. The apotheosis of this hungry god of the untrammeled will has taken more than 200 years, but the slow ascent has given humanistic scholarship its basic shape. The ascent of 'reason' over tradition and religion, at the end of the eighteenth century, caused conservative thought to emerge, reluctantly, and frame rational defenses of natural (i.e. spontaneously evolved) social institutions and belief systems. This has always been handicapped by the need to fight rationalism with reason. This same ascent inspired revolutionary theorists to frame their ringing denunciations and inspiring panaceas, most of which proved purely destructive because of the tragic inability of revolutionary practice to produce the promised and indispensable metanoia. Partly due to the limited success of conservative thought and revolutionary theory, untrammeled will has, more recently, ascended over reason, tradition, and religion, to give us the postmodern nihilism of Luciferian scholars
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DOI 10.1080/13668790903195610
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Carolyn Merchant (forthcoming). The Death of Nature. Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights to Radical Ecology.

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