All posts by John Messerly

Martin Hägglund: Mortality and the Meaning of Life


Martin Hägglund’s, This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom, is one of the most sublime works I’ve ever read—and I’ve devoured thousands of books in my life. It is a work of great erudition and originality; it is carefully and conscientiously crafted; it overflows with thoughtful insights, poetic passages, and sparkling prose. It is a superb scholarly achievement. Continue reading Martin Hägglund: Mortality and the Meaning of Life

In Defense of Naturalism

I recently came across a peer-reviewed article, “In Defense of Naturalism,” by Gregory Dawes, a member of the departments of both philosophy and religion at The University of Otago in New Zealand. He is also a Biblical scholar. The piece presents an excellent defense of philosophical naturalism. (I am a philosophical naturalist.) Continue reading In Defense of Naturalism

Can We Know Anything with Certainty?

Rene Descartes

There are many reasons we might want to philosophize—to become better people, gain self-knowledge, understand the history of thought, etc. But I was drawn to philosophy because I wanted to know, as far as is possible, what was true. This sentiment echoes the first sentence of the first book in my very first college philosophy class, way back in 1973. Continue reading Can We Know Anything with Certainty?

Nietzsche: Active and Passive Nihilism

Friedrich Nietzsche

What is Nihilism?

Nihilism is the philosophical doctrine that denies the existence of one or more of those things thought to make life good especially truth, values, or meaning. A nihilist doesn’t believe that knowledge is possible, that anything is valuable, or that life has meaning. Nihilism also denotes a general mood of despair or pessimism toward life. Continue reading Nietzsche: Active and Passive Nihilism