Basic Writings of Existentialism

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Basic Writings of Existentialism

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Philosophy Existentialism


by: Gordon Marino (Editor)

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The editor does a goo job compiling a wide range of existentialist thought and adding short, concise introductions to each philosopher. Even more-difficult philosophers like Heidegger and Kierkegaard are made approachable by careful selection from their major works. For people approaching existentialism for the first time we suggest this book in addition Existentialism: A Very Short Introduction, the latter giving a better groundwork for the entire philosophy and this book providing some of the best and most vivid examples of existentialist philosophy.
Existentialism is not for the meek. The texts are difficult and many of the questions they raise may result in life altering answers. For those willing to take the plunge this shouldn't be a deterent, but merely a bump in the road. The editor of this book has selected pieces that can at first seem utterly baffling, but with careful readings (Yes, readings (plural). Things get easier the second/third/etc. time(s)!) all of them are accessible and the benefits and real world applications (Existentialism pops up everywhere--films, tv, music, art, politics, religion, etc. It is, after all, about existence!) of existentialism are impossible to measure.

Existentialism may forever change the way you view life. Unsurprisingly, the Editor begins this anthology with a caveat emptor. "The existentialists are not for people looking to read themselves to sleep" Simply stated, existentialism is a philosophy emphasizing that because life has no inherent meaning, we must determine life's meaning for ourselves. Existentialist thinkers regard human existence as unexplainable, and stress freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one's acts. Like my college course on the subject, Basic Writings of Existentialism includes essential selections from Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Simone de Beauvoir, Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo, and Ralph Ellison. This volume not only offers an excellent introduction to existentialist philosophy and literature, it also demonstrates that existentialism remains as compelling and relevant as ever.

This book will be, for many folks, a reminder of what first drew them to existentialism and, simply, to philosophy. The editor's introductory essays, taut, instructive, well-tuned to the drumbeat of each thinker's passions and concerns, and the substantial selections from the foremost representatives of the movement, are a benediction. In defiance of Hegel's pronouncements, the thinkers included here introduce us to a philosophy in present tense, and preferably in the active voice. Learners new to existentialism have, with this volume, as reliable a guide as the subject matter permits. Those familiar with movement have an occasion for recollection and more.

This volume is ideal for all who wonder what existentialism is all about. The key writers are included -- Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Dostoevsky from the19th Century, and Heudegger, Sartre, and Camus, from the 20th Century. It is wonderful to see selections from Simone de Beauvoir and Ralph Ellison, as well. The editor has a good eye for picking telling passages from often long and complex works. It is now clear that existentialism is one of the enduring traditions in Western Philosophy, Art, and Religion, a perspective that articulates and responds to the deepest human needs. These fresh selections lay out the issues, from alienation to reconciliation, from despair to joyful wisdom, that make this world-perspective so compelling. Marino's introductions to each writer, and his introductory overview, are lively and capture the spirit of the chosen texts. An exciting adventure awaits those readers ready to immerse themselves in this volume.

With an ideal selections and strongly-supportive introductory biographies, this is in our judgment the best existentialism anthology avail.

Topics include: ownmost nonrelational possibility, relation that relates itself, something objectively present, inclosing reserve, eminent possibility, didst reject, unreflective consciousness, something earthly, despairing person, most extreme possibility, existential concept, spiritual trial, absurd man, ontological possibility, existential project


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