This chapter explores some of the similarities and differences in the philosophical methods of five philosophers often considered existentialists: Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, de Beauvoir and Marcel. The relationship between existentialism and phenomenological methods, as well as transcendental reasoning in general, is examined.
This chapter challenges the received doxa that the generation of ‘poststructuralist’ philosophers broke decisively with existentialism and rendered it out of date, a mere historical curiosity. Drawing on recent research in the area, it draws some lines of influence, and even argues for some surprising points of commonality, between existentialism and poststructuralism. At least some of the core philosophical ideas of poststructuralists such as Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida and Gilles Deleuze bear more in common with existentialism than (...) is often supposed. Furthermore, it addresses a common resistance to poststructuralism by committed existentialists by showing that poststructuralism does not abandon concern with responsibility and decision, but in fact develops these themes in ways that are proximate to existentialist concerns. Finally, it argues that some of the needs that some prominent contemporary philosophers find lacking in poststructuralism – in particular, the need for subjective agency – are already met in significant ways in existentialism. These three points serve to throw new light on the contemporary relevance of existentialism, and to open up new directions for research. (shrink)
One of the leading philosophical movements of the twentieth century, existentialism has had more impact on literature and the arts than any other school of thought. Focusing on the leading figures of existentialism, including Sartre, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Kierkegaard, de Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, and Camus, Thomas Flynn offers a concise account of existentialism, explaining the key themes of individuality, free will, and personal responsibility, which marked the movement as a way of life, not just a way of thinking. Flynn (...) sets the philosophy of existentialism in context, from the early phenomenologists, to its rise in the 40's and 50's, and the connections with National Socialism, Communism, and Feminism. He identifies the original definition of "existentialism," which tends to be obscured by misappropriation, and highlights how the philosophy is still relevant in our world today. (shrink)
What are we to make of works of art whose apparent point is to convince us of the meaninglessness and absurdity of human existence? I examine, in this paper, the attempt of Albert Camus to provide philosophical justification of art in the face of the supposed fact of absurdity and note its failure as such with specific reference to Sartre’s criticism. Despite other superficial similarities, I contrast Camus’s concept of the absurd with that of his ‘existentialist’ colleagues, including Sartre, and (...) suggest that the latter concept is more philosophically viable. I conclude that existential phenomenology consequently provides a more promising philosophical justification for artistic creation in the light of the more viable conception of absurdity. (shrink)
A Companion to Phenomenology and Existentialism is a complete guide to two of the dominant movements of philosophy in the twentieth century. Written by a team of leading scholars, including Dagfinn Føllesdal, J. N. Mohanty, Robert Solomon, Jean-Luc Marion. Highlights the area of overlap between the two movements. Features longer essays discussing each of the main schools of thought, shorter essays introducing prominent themes, and problem-oriented chapters. Organised topically, around concepts such as temporality, intentionality, death and nihilism. Features essays (...) on unusual subjects, such as medicine, the emotions, artificial intelligence, and environmental philosophy. (shrink)
This volume develops and defends critical realism whilst engaging critically with existentialist philosophy in a number of ways. The work of existentialist thinkers as diverse as Kierkegarrd, R.D. Laing, Heideggar and Sartre is discussed at length and Andrew Collier argues that there is much to be learnt from their work, especially in Heidegger's critique of the technological view of the world. However the book concludes with a defence of objectivity against the various forms of subjectivism advanced by the existentialists.
Philosophy as a way of life -- Becoming an individual -- Humanism : for and against -- Authenticity -- A chastened individualism? Existentialism and social thought -- Existentialism in the twenty-first century.
The Continuum Companion to Existentialism offers the definitive guide to a key area of modern European philosophy. The book covers the fundamental questions asked by existentialism, providing valuable guidance for students and researchers to some of the many important and enduring contributions of existentialist thinkers. Eighteen specially commissioned essays from an international team of experts explore existentialism’s relationship to philosophical method; ontology; politics; psychoanalysis; ethics; religion; literature; emotion; feminism and sexuality; cognitive science; authenticity and the self; its (...) significance in Latin American culture; and its contribution to the development of Poststructuralism. In addition, five short chapters summarise the status of canonical figures Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre and de Beauvoir, delineating the historical approach to their work, while pointing to new directions such research is now taking. Featuring a series of indispensable research tools (A to Z of terms, concepts and thinkers; timeline of existentialism; list of resources and an annotated guide to further reading), this Companion is an essential tool to help the new reader navigate through the heart of Existentialism and modern European philosophy. (shrink)
I defend a neo-Kantian view wherein we are capable of being completely autonomous and impartial and argue that this ability can ground normativity. As this view includes an existentialist conception of the self, I defend radical choice, a primary component of that conception, against arguments many take to be definitive. I call the ability to use radical choice “existentialist voluntarism” and bring it into a current debate in normative philosophy, arguing that it allows that we can be distanced from all (...) ends at once so as to be completely impartial. Finally, I indicate how this can be the source of normativity as it provides a purely impartial reason for being rational. (shrink)
Existentialist Ontology and Human Consciousness The majority of the distinguished scholarly articles in this volume focus on Sartre's early philosophical work, which dealt first with imagination and the emotions, then with the critique of Husserl's notion of a transcendental ego, and finally with systematic ontology presented in his best-known book, Being and Nothingness. In addition, since his preoccupation with ontological questions and especially with the meanings of ego, self, and consciousness endured throughout his career, other essays discuss these themes in (...) light of later developments both in Sartre's own thought and in the phenomenological, hermeneutic, and analytic traditions. (shrink)
This book is a critical appraisal of the distinctive modern school of thought known as French existentialism. It philosophically engages the ideas of the major French existentialists, namely, Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, Marcel, Camus, and, because of his central role in the movement, especially Sartre, in a fresh attempt to elucidate their contributions to contemporary philosophy.
Existentialism concerning singular propositions is the thesis that singular propositions ontologically depend on the individuals they are directly about in such a way that necessarily, those propositions exist only if the individuals they are directly about exist. Haecceitism is the thesis that what non-qualitative facts there are fails to supervene on what purely qualitative facts there are. I argue that existentialism concerning singular propositions entails the denial of haecceitism and that this entailment has interesting implications for debates concerning (...) the philosophy of language, the nature of propositions, and the metaphysics of modality. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Part I. Introduction: Introduction; 1. Existentialism and its legacy Steven Crowell; Part II. Existentialism in Historical Perspective: 2. Existentialism as a philosophical movement David E. Cooper; 3. Existentialism as a cultural movement William McBride; Part III. Major Existentialist Philosophers: 4. Kierkegaard's single individual and the point of indirect communication Alastair Hannay; 5. 'What a monster then is man': Pascal and Kierkegaard on being a contradictory self and what to do about it Hubert (...) L. Dreyfus; 6. Nietzsche: after the death of God Richard Schacht; 7. Nietzsche: selfhood, creativity, and philosophy Lawrence J. Hatab; 8. Heidegger: the existential analytic of Dasein William Blattner; 9. The antinomy of being: Heidegger's critique of humanism Karsten Harries; 10. Sartre's existentialism and the nature of consciousness Steven Crowell; 11. Political existentialism: the career of Sartre's political thought Thomas R. Flynn; 12. Simone de Beauvoir's existentialism: freedom and ambiguity in the human world Kristana Arp; 13. Merleau-Ponty on body, flesh, and visibility Taylor Carman; Part IV. The Reach of Existential Philosophy; 14. Existentialism as literature Jeff Malpas; 15. Existentialism and religion Merold Westphal; 16. Racism is a system: how existentialism became dialectical in Fanon and Sartre Robert Bernasconi; 17. Existential phenomenology, psychiatric illness, and the death of possibilities Matthew Ratcliffe and Matthew Broome; Bibliography of works cited; Index. (shrink)
Existentialist Politics and Political Theory The publication of the Critique of Dialectical Reason in 1960 marked the culmination of Sartre's efforts, begun in his more occasional political writings in what became essentially his journal, Les Temps Modernes, and developed more systematically in his important essay, Search for a Method, to forge links between existentialism and a non-orthodox version of Marxism with a view to developing a new philosophy of politics, society, and history and a new approach to the philosophy (...) of the social sciences. The articles provide a wide-ranging, insightful exploration of Sartre's successes and failures in this domain. (shrink)
Hegel and the myth of reason -- Hegel's phenomenology as a systematic fragment -- The architectonic of Hegel's Phenomenology of spirit -- Points of contact in the philosophy of religion of Hegel and Schopenhauer -- Kierkegaard's criticism of the absence of ethics in Hegel's system -- Kierkegaard's criticism of abstraction and his proposed solution : appropriation -- Kierkegaard's recurring criticism of Hegel's The good and conscience-- Hegel and Nietzsche on the death of tragedy and Greek ethical life -- Existentialist ethics (...) -- Merleau-Ponty's criticisms of Sartre's theory of freedom -- Sartre and Merleau-Ponty on consciousness and bad faith. (shrink)
The Existentialist Reader is a comprehensive anthology of classic philosophical writings from eight key existentialist thinkers: Sartre, Camus, Heidegger, de Beauvoir, Jaspers, Marcel, Merleau-Ponty, and Ortega y Gasset. These substantial and carefully selected readings consider the distinctive concerns of existentialism: absurdity, anxiety, alienation, death. A comprehensive introduction by Paul S. MacDonald illuminates the existentialist quest for individual freedom and authentic human experience with insight into the historical and intellectual background of these major figures. The Existentialist Reader is a valuable (...) guide to the provocative theories that shook the philosophical world in the 1930s and continue to profoundly shape the way we think about ourselves. (shrink)
The Development and Meaning of Twentieth-Century Existentialism This volume recaptures, through the writings of figures already well-known in the mid-1940s, the coming-to-consciousness of the existentialist movement, along with early disagreements concerning its significance. The articles present various critics' shifting views of that significance and the movement's standing over subsequent decades. Despite the centrality of Sartre's thought to existentialism, these selections offer interestingly diverse perceptions of his place within the existentialist pantheon, along with varied interpretations of both the historical (...) origins and the future importance of existential philosophy. (shrink)
This book discusses the work of the existential phenomenologists - Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty and de Beauvoir - and the final chapter looks at the legacy of existentialism upon the thought of Derrida and other post-structuralist thinkers.
Existentialism has come to be identified as a critical, reactionary way of thinking, celebrating the individual, freedom, embodiment, and the limits of rationality and systematic theorizing. For the most part this assessment is true of the early and, by now, “classical” works of existentialism, those that first burst upon the philosophical and cultural scene. Circulating Being centers on the later works of several well-known French existentialists (Camus, Marcel, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty) to trace out the development of their existential thinking (...) about language, communicative life, ethics, and politics. This development “from embodiment to incorporation” carries existentialism beyond identification with the mere reactionary and reveals how, while prefiguring postmodernism in important ways, the existential thinkers dealt with here reveal themselves to be reconstructive of the Western tradition. This is apparent in the growing appreciation of difference in their late works along with a reluctance to surrender the ideal of unity, and in their reappropriation of truth and justice while repudiating a totalizing metaphysics. (shrink)
An exploration of the relationship between cinema and existentialism, in terms of their mutual ability to describe the human condition, this book combines analyses of topics in the philosophy of film with an exploration of specific existentialist themes expressed in the films of Fellini, Bergman and Woody Allen, among others.
This chapter examines the connections between French existentialism and politics. Fellow travellers like Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and de Beauvoir saw themselves as engaging with two theoretical trajectories that for them dominated the mid-twentieth century intellectual milieu, one of which was ostensibly apolitical (phenomenology), the other of which involved a politicised understanding of philosophy (Marxism). Part of the motivation behind renewing phenomenology as existential phenomenology, as opposed to classical Husserlian phenomenology, was to allow them both to comprehend what was taking place (...) during World War Two and, related to this, to allow them to try to do justice to the Marxian insight that the point is not only to understand the world but also to change it. While there are some serious risks associated with any politicising of philosophy, this chapter highlights some of the central contributions of French existentialist politics, beginning with Sartre’s Being and Nothingness and the manner in which it at least appears to consign politics to an inessential realm, before considering the subsequent illuminations on historical and political matters proffered by his contemporaries, de Beauvoir and Merleau-Ponty. We conclude via consideration of Sartre’s Critique of Dialectical Reason, which perhaps was the culmination of existential Marxism, notwithstanding the subsequent contributions made by both Sartre and de Beauvoir. Central themes to be explored include the role of dialectical thinking in political theory, the failings that existentialists diagnosed at the heart of orthodox liberal and Marxist positions, and the specific contributions that they made in regard to issues to do with responsibility and dirty hands. (shrink)
Existentialism, 2/e, offers an exceptional and accessible introduction to the richness and diversity of existentialist thought. Retaining the focus of the highly successful first edition, the second edition provides extensive material on the "big four" existentialists--Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Sartre--while also including selections from twenty-four other authors. Giving readers a sense of the variety of existentialist thought around the world, this edition also adds new readings by such figures as Luis Borges, Viktor Frankl, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Keiji Nishitani, and (...) Rainer Maria Rilke. Existentialism, 2/e, also features: New translations of Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Buber More extensive selections from Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Sartre New selections by Hazel E. Barnes, Miguel de Unamuno, Joseph Heller, Philip Roth, and Colin Wilson The Grand Inquisitor (from Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov) Ideal for undergraduate courses in existentialism and Continental philosophy, Existentialism, 2/e, is fascinating reading for anyone interested in the subject. (shrink)
Existentialism enjoyed great popularity in the 1940s and 1950s, and has probably had a greater impact upon literature than any other kind of philosophy. The common interest which unites Existentialist philosophers is their interest in human freedom. Readers of Existentialist philosophy are being asked, not merely to contemplate the nature of freedom, but to experience freedom, and to practise it. -/- In this survey, Mary Warnock begins by considering the ethical origins of Existentialism, with particular reference to Kierkegaard (...) and Nietzsche, and outlines the importance of a systematic account of man's connection with the world as expounded by Husserl. She discusses at length the common interests and ancestry of Existentialism in the works of Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Sartre, and offers some conclusions about the current nature and future of this committed and practical philosophy. -/- This revised edition includes a postscript reviewing the status of Existentialism in the 1990s, and has a thoroughly updated bibliography. (shrink)
Understanding ourselves -- The reality of character -- Situations -- Freely chosen projects -- Radical freedom -- Anguish, bad faith, and sincerity -- The project of bad faith -- God and the useless passion -- One another -- The virtue of authenticity -- Being one self.
 The phenomenology of Edmund Husserl -- The existential philosophy of Albert Camus -- The existenz philosophy of Karl Jaspers -- The philosophy of Gabriel Marcel -- The philosophy of Martin Heidegger -- v. 2. The existential philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard -- The existential philosophy of Ortega y Gasset -- The philosophy of Martin Buber -- The existential philosophy of Nicolas Berdyaev -- The philosophy of Paul Ricoeur.