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Apocalypse without God
Apocalyptic Thought, Ideal Politics, and the Limits of Utopian Hope

$99.99 (C)

  • Author: Ben Jones, Pennsylvania State University
  • Publication planned for: December 2021
  • availability: Not yet published - available from December 2021
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781316517055

$ 99.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Apocalypse, it seems, is everywhere. Preachers with vast followings proclaim the world's end and apocalyptic fears grip even the non-religious amid climate change, pandemics, and threats of nuclear war. But as these ideas pervade popular discourse, grasping their logic remains elusive. Ben Jones argues that we can gain insight into apocalyptic thought through secular thinkers. He starts with a puzzle: Why would secular thinkers draw on Christian apocalyptic beliefs-often dismissed as bizarre-to interpret politics? The apocalyptic tradition proves appealing in part because it theorizes a special relation between crisis and utopia. Apocalyptic thought points to crisis as the vehicle to bring the previously impossible within reach, thus offering apparent resources for navigating challenges in ideal theory, which tries to imagine the best and most just society. By examining apocalyptic thought's appeal and risks, this study arrives at new insights on the limits of ideal theory and utopian hope.

    • Examines the parallels between apocalyptic thought and ideal theory in political philosophy today
    • Offers a novel theory for the persistent appeal of apocalyptic thought and why it continually shows up in political life
    • Draws on insights from the apocalyptic tradition to clarify the challenges, dangers, and limits of utopian hope
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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: December 2021
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781316517055
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
    • availability: Not yet published - available from December 2021
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Secular Apocalyptic Thought:
    1. The hazards of studying secular apocalyptic thought
    2. The paradox of secular apocalyptic thought
    Part II. Historical Case Studies:
    3. Apocalyptic hope's appeal: Machiavelli and Savonarola
    4. Tempering apocalyptic ideals: Hobbes and pretenders to God's kingdom
    5. Reimagining God's kingdom: Engels and Müntzer
    Part III. Implications for Ideal Theory:
    6. Ideal theory as faith
    7. Limiting the dangers of Utopian hope
    Appendix: Argument against ideal theory's plausibility

  • Author

    Ben Jones, Pennsylvania State University
    Ben Jones is the Assistant Director of Penn State's Rock Ethics Institute and has a Ph.D. in political science from Yale University. His research has appeared in the Journal of Applied Philosophy, European Journal of Political Theory, Political Research Quarterly, and other venues, including popular outlets like The Washington Post.

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