Roberto Mangabeira Unger

Philosophy and Religion



Beyond Nihilism (YouTube Series)

Thinking about the almost unthinkable.

The Complete Series (7 videos)


A Mystery Demistified: The Connection Between Mathematics and Physics (2015)


The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time (Book, 2015)

The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time, written with Lee Smolin, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2015. Together with The Self Awakened and The Religion of the Future, this work of natural philosophy generalizes my ideas. It presents, in the context of an engagement with cosmology and physics, the vision of a universe in which everything, including the structure and the laws of nature, changes sooner or later.


A Universe in which Everything Changes Sooner or Later (2014)

Audio recording given at the Boston Colloquium for Philosophy of Science on October 18, 2013. Related to the argument of the Singular Universe and the Reality of Time, with Lee Smolin, to be published by Cambridge University Press in the Fall of 2014.


Science and Politics between Domesticated and Radicalized Pragmatism (1997)

This article is the outcome of a discussion with philosophers of science and works out some of the assumptions about thinking on which my recent work in social theory relies. This little essay also attacks the diminished and servile version of pragmatism that threatens to become the ruling philosophy of the age. The essay was originally published in Science in Context 10, 1 (1997), introducing a collection of papers in most of which I discerned the domesticated pragmatism I combat; hence the reference to these papers in the first paragraph.


Tanner Lectures: The Future of Religion and the Religion of the Future


The Religion of the Future (Book, 2014)

The Religion of the Future was published in April of 2014 by Harvard University Press. I place here a complete draft of the book. Beginning with a criticism of major orientations in the spiritual history of humanity, it argues for a radical revision of the moral, political, and metaphysical ideas that have informed the revolutionary orthodoxy of the West, with its two-fold roots in the Semitic religions of salvation and in the modern secular projects of democracy and romanticism. It should be read alongside The Self Awakened (2007) and my work in natural philosophy, The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time (with Lee Smolin).


The Universal Grid of Philosophy (2007)

This brief text, also to appear as an appendix to “The Self Awakened,” discusses what is and is not constant in the world history of philosophy. Metaphysics remains imprisoned in a labyrinth from which it cannot escape, not even through its attempted partnership with natural science. The moral and political ideas of humanity have, however, undergone a revolution. As a result of this revolution we discover that although we are not God we can become more godlike.


Nature in its Place (2007)

This little piece, which will appear as an appendix to “The Self Awakened,” restates and develops one of my central concerns — the idea that we are something infinite imprisoned within something finite — from the vantage point of a question unaddressed in my earlier work: our relation to nature. In asking what we should do with nature, we ask what we should do with ourselves.


The Self Awakened (Book, 2007)

“The Self Awakened” is the most comprehensive published statement of my present philosophical position. It is completed by “The Religion of the Future” and “The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time” (with Lee Smolin). These three books form part of the same philosophical program. In what kind of world, and for what kind of thought, is time real, history open, and novelty possible? In what kind of world, and for what kind of thought, does it make sense for a human being to look for trouble rather than to stay out of trouble? “The Self Awakened” generalizes and deepens the impulse of my social-theoretical and programmatic writings. It develops and defends a point of view implicit in our most powerful ideas of political, social, and spiritual revolution.


A Letter (2002)


Passion: An Essay on Personality (Book, 1984)

A philosophical discussion of the experience and the ideal of personality. It argues for a revision of our dominant Christian-romantic view of the person as well as of our beliefs about how to live. It explores the ideas about selfhood that accompany my ideas about society.


Poetry and Vision (Book, 1968)

Poetry and Vision is a very early and unpublished piece of mine, dating from 1968. It introduces, in the special context that it addresses, themes that would later become important in my work.


Knowledge and Politics (Book, 1975)

“Knowledge and Politics”, the full text of which you can find below, was my first book, published in 1975. It presents an analysis and a criticism of what I took to be a set of political , moral, and epistemological assumptions underlying much of modern thought. Although “Knowledge and Politics” is distant, in form as well as in content, from my present work, it explores intellectual and political concerns that have continued to hold me in their grip. I suggest beginning with the Postscript of 1983; it anticipates many of the themes of my subsequent writings.