Existence, Existenz and Transcendence: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Karl Jaspers [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 25 (4):767-767 (1972)
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Along with Charles Walraff's The Philosophy of Karl Jaspers, Schrag's work is the second book-length study of Jaspers' thought in as many years. As such it is very welcome, for Jaspers' philosophy has not yet been fully explored in English. And now that his three-volume Philosophie has been translated, we should see a great reawakening of interest in this distinguished German thinker. Schrag's book is an exposition of Jaspers' notion of the "Encompassing", that pivotal notion in his thought which refers to Being as the primal and originary source of beings. The Encompassing can only be approached through its "modes," which Jaspers diagrams at the beginning of his lengthy treatise Von der Wahrheit. Schrag's book follows this diagram implicitly and its somewhat awkward title is based upon it. The Encompassing manifests itself in man on the one hand and in the non-human or objective on the other. Part One of Schrag's book is devoted to the "immanent" mode of the "Encompassing which we are," while Part Two discusses the Encompassing in man in its transcendent mode. The third and final part is devoted to the "Encompassing which Being itself is", which is a study of Jaspers' metaphysics. The reader will be especially interested in Schrag's Chapter Five, "Jaspers and Phenomenology," in which he discusses Jaspers' relationship to Husserl, who like Jaspers came to philosophy from psychology; and to Heidegger's "existential phenomenology." There is an index but no bibliography.--J. D. C.



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