A contemporary French writer and philosopher who promotes hedonism, atheism, and anarchism. He is a highly prolific author on philosophy, having written more than 100 books.
He has gained notoriety for writing such works as Traité d’athéologie: Physique de la métaphysique (translated into English as Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), Politique du rebelle: traité de résistance et d’insoumission, Physiologie de Georges Palante, portrait d’un nietzchéen de gauche, La puissance d’exister and La sculpture de soi for which he won the annual Prix Médicis in 1993.
His philosophy is mainly influenced by such thinkers as Nietzsche, Epicurus, the cynic and cyrenaic schools, and French materialism. Onfray writes that there is no philosophy without self-psychoanalysis. He describes himself as an atheist and considers theist religion to be indefensible.
Onfray has published 9 books under a project of history of philosophy called Counter-history of Philosophy. In each of these books Onfray deals with a particular historical period in western philosophy. The series of books are composed by the titles I. Les Sagesses Antiques (2006) (on western antiquity), II. Le Christianisme hédoniste (2006) (on Christian hedonism from the Renaissance period), III. Les libertins baroques (2007) (on libertine thought from the Baroque era), IV. Les Ultras des Lumières (2007) (on radical enlightenment thought), V. L’Eudémonisme social (2008) (on radical utilitarian and eudomonistic thought), VI. Les Radicalités existentielles(2009) (on 19th and 20th century radical existentialist thinkers) and VII.La construction du surhomme: Jean-Marie Guyau, Friedrich Nietzsche (on Guyau´s and Nietzsche´s philosophy in relation to the concept of the Übermensch). VIII Les Freudiens hérétiques (2013). IX Les Consciences réfractaires (2013).
Onfray was a high school philosophy teacher for two decades until he resigned in 2002 to establish a tuition-free Université Populaire (People’s University) at Caen, at which he and several colleagues teach philosophy and other subjects.