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Tuesday 26 September 2006

Michel Onfray

Back in December, I mentioned Michel Onfray's Traité d'Athéologie (Grasset). Well, it seems that Serpent's Tail will be publishing what I understand is the first of Onfray's titles (he is only 46 and has already written thirty books!) to be translated into English.

Onfray sounds like a fascinating thinker and writer. This is (just some of) what Doug Ireland has to say:

A radical libertarian socialist, a self-described 'Nietzschian of the Left', Onfray's philosophical project is to define an ethical hedonism, a joyous utilitarianism, and a generalized aesthetic of sensual materialism that explores how to use the brain's and the body's capacities to their fullest extent - while restoring philosophy to a useful role in art, politics and everyday life and decisions. All this presupposes, in Onfray's philosophy, a militant atheism and the demasking of false gods.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Reader Comments

Tuesday 26 September 2006

Fausto says...

Onfray has done a few interesting thing, but to call him "fascinating" is far-fetched. He has a lot success among people who feel hatred for any sort of monotheism, but unfortunately, once you have more than a passing knowledge of theology or history of religion, you begin to spot an incredible amount of factual errors. At least three books were written by philosophers or theologists to correct some of the claims he made in his "Traité d'athéologie". In a conference in Brussels, he went as far as to claim than nazism ultimate aim was that of a catholic dictatorship -doesn't sound like a serious thinker.
More trivially, he has become a sort of media darling in France, which I can understand since he knows how to speak. Sad thing is he quite often refuses to appear in programs he knows will feature people who will react to some of his assertions, such is his contempt for criticism - and especially constructive criticism.
I expect him to be praised by radicals in the US and in the UK once is book is translated - but you really should take his writing with a pinch of salt.

Tuesday 26 September 2006

Mark Thwaite says...

Hi Fausto,

Thanks for this. Good to get a bit more context.

As I said, Onfray "sounds fascinating", but I've not had the chance to read any of his work. I await the translation of "Traité d'athéologie" with interest -- and the responses (both negative and positive) that will come with it.


Tuesday 26 September 2006

Stephen Mitchelmore says...

We should also take what Fausto says with a pinch of salt, if his hysterical misreading of my recent blog on Martin Amis is any guide.

Tuesday 26 September 2006

Fausto says...

Stephen, how nice of you... You read one comment of mine on your blog, not about a whole post of yours, but about half-a-paragraph -which I have to say still doesn't make any sense-, and you cannot refrain from bringing the thing here... Jesus, this is sad -or, to quote you, "hysterical". Do you only accept comments that tackle the entirety of your post, or is commenting single sentence only allowed when agreeing with your views? Let's leave this kind of quarrel where they belong -ie not on this particular blog, which makes for great reading. Please do note that I, at least, am quite acquainted with Onfray's work. He is the kind of thinker that gives atheism a bad name - and I am atheist. By all means, wait until you read the actual book before passing such trivial judgement on my comment. You might still find out I was right -or not.

Wednesday 27 September 2006

Stephen Mitchelmore says...

Thanks for confirming my initial judgement Fausto! Is saying one should take your views with a pinch of salt "passing judgement" or just re-applying your opinion?

Your hysterical misreading was to leap to the conclusion that I was defending or advocating communism when I criticised Martin Amis for concentrating on the crimes of Mao.

Your comment on Onfray indicates you're a dab hand at spin. You might be right about Onfray as you were right about Mao. Only, you're missing the point.

Wednesday 27 September 2006

Fausto says...

Stephen, do we really have to go over this here? I was not implying you were "defending or advocating communism", or at least not anymore than you were implying capitalism is more of a criminal system than maoism. The gist of my reaction was that I cannot understand why anyone criticizing Mao should also advise his readers that other systems are criminal. What does capitalism have to do with Mao's criminal record? For what it's worth, I didn't comment on the rest of the post because I happen to think Amis' take on Islamism is extremely simplistic.
I fail to see how I can be "missing the point" on Onfray. I merely passed some background info on the man - and Mark's answer shows he didn't need your input to do what any sane man would do: wait to get the occasion of making his own mind up.
Do you have anything to say about Onfray, or is this just going to be about me, you, Amis and your blog?

Wednesday 27 September 2006

Mark Thwaite says...

Goodness! Well, you boys can stop this right now! No more fighting here -- and if either of you try to post any more comments on this thread, I'll delete it. Enough already!

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