Trademarks: Wiley, the Wiley Publishing logo, For Dummies, the Dummies Man logo, A Reference for . Existentialism For Dummies the best book it could be. No doubt you've heard someone speaking of an “existential crisis.” What does that really mean, anyway? Existentialists believe that we're born without purpose . Have you ever wondered what the phrase “God is dead” means? You'll find out in Existentialism For Dummies, a handy guide to Nietzsche, Sartre, and.
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Have you ever wondered what the phrase God is deadmeans? Youll find out in Existentialism For Dummies,a handy guide to Nietzsche, Sartre, and. Have you ever wondered what the phrase God is dead means You ll find out in Existentialism For Dummies, a handy guide to Nietzsche, Sartre. “A human being is absolutely free and absolutely responsible. Anguish is the result.” –. Jean-Paul Sartre. Existentialists are concerned with ontology, which is .
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Short Introduction Length: 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. Pop-Nonfiction Length: Paris, They are the young Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and longtime friend Raymond Aron, a fellow philosopher who raves to them about a new conceptual framework from Berlin called Phenomenology.
It was this simple phrase that would ignite a movement, inspiring Sartre to integrate Phenomenology into his own French, humanistic sensibility, thereby creating an entirely new philosophical approach inspired by themes of radical freedom, authentic being, and political activism. Interweaving biography and philosophy, it is the epic account of passionate encounters—fights, love affairs, mentorships, rebellions, and long partnerships—and a vital investigation into what the existentialists have to offer us today, at a moment when we are once again confronting the major questions of freedom, global responsibility, and human authenticity in a fractious and technology-driven world.
Anthology Length: Basic Writings of Existentialism, unique to the Modern Library, presents the writings of key nineteenth- and twentieth-century thinkers broadly united by their belief that because life has no inherent meaning humans can discover, we must determine meaning for ourselves. This anthology brings together into one volume the most influential and commonly taught works of existentialism. Martin Heidegger was an important early philosopher in the movement, particularly his influential work "Being and Time", although he himself vehemently denied being an existentialist in the Sartrean sense.
His discussion of ontology is rooted in an analysis of the mode of existence of individual human beings, and his analysis of authenticity and anxiety in modern culture make him very much an Existentialist in the usual modern usage. Existentialism came of age in the midth Century, largely through the scholarly and fictional works of the French existentialists, Jean-Paul Sartre , Albert Camus - and Simone de Beauvoir - Maurice Merleau-Ponty - is another influential and often overlooked French Existentialist of the period.
Sartre is perhaps the most well-known, as well as one of the few to have actually accepted being called an "existentialist". In "The Myth of Sisyphus" , Albert Camus uses the analogy of the Greek myth of Sisyphus who is condemned for eternity to roll a rock up a hill, only to have it roll to the bottom again each time to exemplify the pointlessness of existence, but shows that Sisyphus ultimately finds meaning and purpose in his task, simply by continually applying himself to it.
Simone de Beauvoir, an important existentialist who spent much of her life alongside Sartre , wrote about feminist and existential ethics in her works, including "The Second Sex" and "The Ethics of Ambiguity" Although Sartre is considered by most to be the pre-eminent Existentialist, and by many to be an important and innovative philosopher in his own right, others are much less impressed by his contributions.
Heidegger himself thought that Sartre had merely taken his own work and regressed it back to the subject-object orientated philosophy of Descartes and Husserl , which is exactly what Heidegger had been trying to free philosophy from.
Some see Maurice Merleau-Ponty - as a better Existentialist philosopher, particular for his incorporation of the body as our way of being in the world, and for his more complete analysis of perception two areas in which Heidegger 's work is often seen as deficient.
Criticisms of Existentialism Back to Top Herbert Marcuse - has criticized Existentialism, especially Sartre 's "Being and Nothingness", for projecting some features of living in a modern oppressive society features such as anxiety and meaninglessness onto the nature of existence itself.
Roger Scruton - has claimed that both Heidegger 's concept of inauthenticity and Sartre 's concept of bad faith are both self-inconsistent, in that they deny any universal moral creed, yet speak of these concepts as if everyone is bound to abide by them. Logical Positivists , such as A. Ayer and Rudolf Carnap - , claim that existentialists frequently become confused over the verb "to be" which is meaningless if used without a predicate and by the word "nothing" which is the negation of existence and therefore cannot be assumed to refer to something.
Marxists , especially in post-War France, found Existentialism to run counter to their emphasis on the solidarity of human beings and their theory of economic determinism.
They further argued that Existentialism's emphasis on individual choice leads to contemplation rather than to action, and that only the bourgeoisie has the luxury to make themselves what they are through their choices, so they considered Existentialism to be a bourgeois philosophy.
Christian critics complain that Existentialism portrays humanity in the worst possible light, overlooking the dignity and grace that comes from being made in the image of God. Complete with lists of the ten greatest existential films, ten great existential aphorisms, and ten common misconceptions about existentialism, Existentialism For Dummies is your one-stop guide to a very influential school of thought.
Christopher Panza, PhD, teaches courses on existentialism, ethics, and free will and has published articles on teaching philosophy. Gregory Gale is an adjunct professor of philosophy. Permissions Request permission to reuse content from this site.
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See how existentialist ideas have influenced everything from film and literature to world events and discover whether or not existentialism is still relevant today. Find out how to: About the Author Christopher Panza, PhD, teaches courses on existentialism, ethics, and free will and has published articles on teaching philosophy.
Table of contents Introduction. Part I: Introducing Existentialism.
Chapter 1: What Is Existentialism?