Sacrifice in the Post-Kantian Tradition

Perspectivism, Intersubjectivity, and Recognition

By Paolo Diego Bubbio

Subjects: Continental Philosophy, Philosophy, Religion
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438452524, 226 pages, July 2015
Hardcover : 9781438452517, 226 pages, August 2014

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Table of contents

Introduction: The Notion of Sacrifice
1. Kant: Sacrifice and the Transcendental Turn
Kant’s Kenotic Turn in Epistemology
Kant’s Practical Philosophy: “A Sacrifice Before the Moloch of Abstraction”?
Symbolic and Regulative Value of Sacrifice
2. Solger’s Sacrificial Dialectic
Sacrifice as Double Negation
Negation and Privation
3. Hegel: Sacrifice and Recognition
Sacrifice in the Phenomenology of Spirit
Sacrifice and Incarnation in Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion
4. Kierkegaard: Sacrifice and the Regulativity of Love
Sacrifice in Fear and Trembling
Kierkegaard’s Kenotic Sacrifice
5. Nietzsche: The Sacrifice of the Overman
Three Meanings of Sacrifice
Political Implications of Sacrifice
6. Conclusion: The Long Way of Sacrifice
Sacrifice from Kant to Nietzsche…
…And Beyond
What Theory of Sacrifice?

An examination of the philosophical notion of sacrifice from Kant to Nietzsche.


In this book, Paolo Diego Bubbio offers an alternative to standard philosophical accounts of the notion of sacrifice, which generally begin with the hermeneutic and postmodern traditions of the twentieth century, starting instead with the post-Kantian tradition of the nineteenth century. He restructures the historical development of the concept of sacrifice through a study of Kant, Solger, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche, and shows how each is indebted to Kant and has more in common with him than is generally acknowledged. Bubbio argues that although Kant sought to free philosophical thought from religious foundations, he did not thereby render the role of religious claims philosophically useless. This makes it possible to consider sacrifice as a regulative and symbolic notion, and leads to an unorthodox idea of sacrifice: not the destruction of something for the sake of something else, but rather a kenotic emptying, conceived as a withdrawal or a "making room" for others.

Paolo Diego Bubbio is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Sydney, Australia. He is the coeditor (with Paul Redding) of Religion after Kant: God and Culture in the Idealist Era.


"…Bubbio's book is an important philosophical work: not only as an excellent analysis of sacrifice in the post-Kantian tradition but also—and perhaps especially—because it confronts what is more alive in contemporary philosophy in a clear and productive way. " — Research in Phenomenology