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Conclusion: On Secularism, Transcendence and Death

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Chapter Summary

This is the concluding chapter of the book In the Vale of Tears, which presents the author's argument about economic reconstruction of the context in which Christianity first arose, or the way the critique of idolatry and fetishism were weave together in order to develop a political iconoclasm. In this chapter explains three overlapping matters: secularism, transcendence, and death. A secular approach is one that does not use religious or theological categories. Transcendence has had a rather unfortunate history in the dual homes of philosophy and theology, which themselves have often been separated only to reconcile for a time. Despite the significant overlap between Horkheimer and Adorno, especially in terms of the deleterious effects of capitalism, reified social relations and the pervasiveness of instrumental reason, they emphasise different aspects of the anticipation of death. The degradation of human life leads to the degradation of death.

Keywords: Adorno; capitalism; Christianity; death; economic reconstruction; Horkheimer; philosophy; secular approach; theology; transcendence



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