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The Age of Nothing: How We Have Sought To Live Since The Death of God

Peter Watson

6 Reviews

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Prose: non-fiction, History, Western philosophy, from c 1900 -, Agnosticism & atheism, History of ideas

A dazzling investigation into psychology, art and religion; the demise of capitalism; and the beginning of a new era from the author of IDEAS.

The closing months of 2008 saw the world's nations united in financial uncertainty. Amid endless reports of collapsing stock markets, failed banks, fiscal fraud and snowballing unemployment, THE AGE OF NOTHING offers a compelling insight into the demise of capitalism and the beginning of a new era.

Peter Watson's scintillating thesis argues that the unprecedented credit crunch of 2008 was the result of a fundamental change in the fabric of society - one that became truly visible only as it reached its culmination.

In a commanding narrative, Watson provides a historical perspective on the shift in our attitudes towards capitalism, while exploring the philosophical roots that underpin it. Of central importance in Watson's theory is Nietzsche's warning regarding mankind's responsibility for 'the death of God' - and the consequences thereof. Nietzsche's views on the frailty of human values in a world bereft of religious faith were echoed by writers including Tolstoy, Marx and Kandinsky - and his chilling message went on to resonate with thinkers throughout the 20th century. When Max Weber called the modern world 'disenchanted', and argued that society must choose to create a new value system based on knowledge or else surrender and embrace a religious faith, he was the latest in a long line of intellectuals attempting to address the problem Nietzsche had laid bare.

With the arrival of THE AGE OF NOTHING, the line continues. The work fills a crucial gap in our intellectual history and serves as a comprehensive study of society's current predicament - as well as a timely answer to the question of what to do next.

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Praise for The Age of Nothing: How We Have Sought To Live Since The Death of God

  • A magnificent achievement, highly readable, absorbing and stimulating - LITERARY REVIEW

  • His erudition is formidable

  • [A] vividly engaging conspectus of the formative ideas of the past century - NEW STATESMAN

  • I recommend this book to anyone who needs to know what the loss of religious faith has meant to the high culture of our civilsation and what, if anything, we might do about it.... (it) covers a whole century of intellectual endeavour as lightly as it can. - INDEPENDENT

  • This book will appeal to anyone with intellectual curiosity about the human condition and the development of ideas. It will especially appeal to the non-religious reader. This isn't a book about, or even particularly in defence of atheism as a worldview, but it sets out objectively a history of non-religious thought that covers everything from science to poetry, incorporating philosophy, the rise of new age 'spiritualism' and therapy - ENTERTAINMENT FOCUS

  • The beauty of this book is Watson's ability to impose order on a riot of ideas - PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY

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Peter Watson

Peter Watson was born in 1943 and educated at the universities of Durham, London and Rome. He was deputy editor of New Society and spent four years as part of the Insight team of The Sunday Times. He was New York correspondent of The Times and has written for the Observer, The New York Times, Punch and the Spectator. He is the author of thirteen books and has presented several television programmes about the arts. Since 1998 he has been a Research Associate at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge.

Previous titles:
Ideas (Cfmt Jul 06);

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