Tag Archives: John Gray

My “Candide” Retort to Margaret MacMillan

It’s 2014. A hundred years ago, the assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand initiated a series of calamitous events that brought on World War I. And the way WWI ended (with the Versailles Treaty) led to yet another series … Continue reading

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Increasing Knowledge Does Not Increase The Peace

That, at any rate, is John Gray’s thesis, and he has a new book out. In a recent interview at The Spectator, he had this to say: [K]nowledge can never eradicate the conflicts of the human world, or produce harmony where … Continue reading

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John Gray Skewers Slavoj Zizek

In the New York Review of Books, John Gray’s review of Slavoj Zizek’s career and most recent book, Less Than Nothing, is damning. At bottom, Gray pegs Zizek as an armchair revolutionary lending intellectual and moral support to terrorism and … Continue reading

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Gray on Pink(er): Because of Our Evolution, the Irrational We’ll Always Have With Us

John Gray thinks Steven Pinker’s thesis in his new book—in which Pinker argues that the world is progressing toward an ever less violent future—is deluded. In the Jacob-wrestle between Enlightenment rationality and our evolution-formed imperatives, Gray is betting that our … Continue reading

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The Humanist Delusion?

In his book, Straw Dogs (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002), professor of European thought, John Gray, argues that the humanist belief in progress is deluded in part because our experience of “consciousness, selfhood, and free will” are uneven at best (p. 38): Our lives … Continue reading

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A delicious deconstruction of John Gray by A.C. Grayling

Of John Gray’s Black Mass, A.C. Grayling writes that the book: tells us that the world is in a bad way and that there is nothing we can do about it. Perhaps we can infer from this that his aim … Continue reading

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Enlightenment pessimist John Gray v. Enlightenment optimist A.C. Grayling

John Gray is a very, very tart-tongued skeptic of Enlightenment triumphalism of the Bertrand Russell variety, and he recently wrote a rather biting essay attacking A.C. Grayling for taking up, in the 21st century, Russell’s supposedly naive mantle: Russell fell victim … Continue reading

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Gap gods and pot holes: are Richard Dawkins’s materialist atheism and Rush Limbaugh’s anti-environmentalism akin to one another?

Why are so many people resistant to Richard Dawkins’s totally materialist explanation of the universe (that is, atoms and void are all that really exist, and they are eternal or came into existence out of nothing)? And it occurred to me this morning that … Continue reading

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John Gray’s Phrase for Missionary Atheism: “Enlightenment Fundamentalism”

With all the “hoo-haw” back and forth on the Internet about whether there is such a thing as “fundamentalist atheism,” I noticed that the philosopher John Gray today used a curious phrase in an essay for New Statesman: Enlightenment fundamentalism. Below … Continue reading

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Whence Nietzsche in Contemporary Atheist Reflection?

Philosopher John Gray sees it only in Michel Onfray: Among contemporary anti-religious polemicists, only the French writer Michel Onfray has taken Nietzsche as his point of departure. In some ways, Onfray’s In Defence of Atheism [titled in its U.S. edition as … Continue reading

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God is Coke? Is the American Model of God Marketing Spreading Globally?

If religion (as Marx said) is the opiate of the people, then that means that, like Coca-Cola, it can be packaged and marketed to targeted audiences, doesn’t it? John Gray, in a review of a new book (God is Back by … Continue reading

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Beating Our Swords into Ploughshares?: John Gray, Barack Obama, and the Utopian Imagination

  John Gray, Professor of European thought at the London School of Economics, has this rather sharp take on utopianism in his book, Black Mass (2007): The pursuit of a condition of harmony defines utopian thought and discloses its basic … Continue reading

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