1ExistentialismIntro

1ExistentialismIntro - PHIL 219 Introduction to...

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Unformatted text preview: PHIL 219 Introduction to Existentialism “What is Existentialism?” Professor Mark Alznauer Existentialism ascendant References to “existentialism” in books published from 1880 to 2000 (Courtesy of Google Books Ngram Viewer) Existentialism comes to America “Existentialism is difficult to define and is clothed by its followers in all-but-impenetrable dialectical jargon. It sweeps aside the moral and ethical values of all past philosophies and takes as its departure the brute fact of man’s existence. Man, to an existentialist, is an individual beset with incalculable obstacles in an unfriendly environment. What he does with his life depends on his own stoical reaction to this environment. The intellectuals of the Left Bank, facing the uncertainties of post-war European life, think they have found in this new philosophy at least a partial answer to their problems” ( LIFE , Jun. 17, 1946) French Existentialism The “founder” of the “French existentialist cult”: Jean-Paul Sartre (1905- 1980). Most known for L’Être et le néant (1943). The “queen of existentialism”: Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986). Most known for Le Deuxiéme Sexe (1949). Other key figures of French Existentialism 1. The philosopher Jean Wahl (1888-1974) wrote early influential works on Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Jaspers and Heidegger. 2. Gabriel Marcel (1889-1973), philosopher and convert to Catholicism, is sometimes considered the first existentialist but preferred calling his own thought “philosophy of existence.” Much of his work also pre-dates Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit (1927)....
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This note was uploaded on 02/06/2012 for the course PHIL 210 taught by Professor Saarbaker during the Winter '07 term at Northwestern.

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1ExistentialismIntro - PHIL 219 Introduction to...

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