Martin Hägglund

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Martin Hägglund
BornNovember 23, 1976 (1976-11-23) (age 42)
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolContinental philosophy
Main interests
Philosophy, literature, and politics

Martin Hägglund (born November 23, 1976) is a Swedish philosopher, literary theorist, and scholar of modernist literature. He is Professor of Comparative Literature and Humanities at Yale University.[1] He is also a member of the Harvard Society of Fellows,[2] serving as a Junior Fellow from 2009 to 2012. Hägglund is the author of This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom (2019), Dying for Time: Proust, Woolf, Nabokov (2012), Radical Atheism: Derrida and the Time of Life (2008), and Kronofobi: Essäer om tid och ändlighet (Chronophobia: Essays on Time and Finitude, 2002).


Radical Atheism[edit]

Radical Atheism is a major intervention in deconstruction, offering a novel account of Jacques Derrida's thinking of time and space, life and death, good and evil, self and other. Against the prevalent notion that there was an ethical or religious “turn” in Derrida's thinking, Hägglund argues that a radical atheism informs his work from beginning to end. Atheism has traditionally limited itself to denying the existence of God and immortality, without questioning the desire for God and immortality. In contrast, radical atheism seeks to demonstrate that the desire for a timeless eternity (immortality) dissimulates a desire to live on in time (survival). Rather than being dependent on a transcendent ideal, all our commitments presuppose an investment in and care for finite life. Developing a deconstructive account of time, Hägglund shows how Derrida rethinks the constitution of identity, the violence of ethics, the desire of religion, and political emancipation in accordance with the condition of temporal finitude.

Dying for Time[edit]

Dying for Time offers new readings of the problem of temporality in the writings of Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, and Vladimir Nabokov. Through an engagement with Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan, Hägglund also develops an original theory of the relation between time and desire ("chronolibido"), addressing mourning and melancholia, pleasure and pain, attachment and loss.

This Life[edit]

In This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom (2019), Hägglund pursues a critique of the religious ideal of eternity and reconceives faith in secular terms as the fundamental form of practical commitment. Through new interpretations of G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx, and Martin Luther King Jr., Hägglund develops the social and political stakes of his critique of religion, arguing that labor under capitalism alienates us from our finite lifetime. Calling for a revaluation of our values, Hägglund presents a novel vision of democratic socialism as a post-capitalist form of life in which we could truly own our time and recognize our shared freedom.


  • This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom, Pantheon Books, 2019.
  • Dying for Time: Proust, Woolf, Nabokov, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012.
  • Radical Atheism: Derrida and the Time of Life, Stanford: Stanford University Press, Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics, 2008.
  • Kronofobi: Essäer om tid och ändlighet (Chronophobia: Essays on Time and Finitude), Stockholm/Stehag: Brutus Östlings Bokförlag Symposion, 2002.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-01. Retrieved 2013-02-12. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^

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