Download The Cambridge Companion to Existentialism by Steven Crowell PDF

By Steven Crowell

Existentialism exerts a continuous fascination on scholars of philosophy and common readers. As a philosophical phenomenon, although, it is usually poorly understood, as a sort of radical subjectivism that turns its again on cause and argumentation and possesses the entire liabilities of philosophical idealism yet with none idealistic conceptual readability. during this quantity of unique essays, the 1st to be dedicated completely to existentialism in over 40 years, a workforce of distinct commentators talk about the guidelines of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty and Beauvoir and exhibit how their specialize in lifestyles presents a compelling viewpoint on modern matters in ethical psychology and philosophy of brain, language and background. one more series of chapters examines the impact of existential principles past philosophy, in literature, faith, politics and psychiatry. the quantity deals a wealthy and complete evaluate of the ongoing power of existentialism as a philosophical circulation and a cultural phenomenon.

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Extra resources for The Cambridge Companion to Existentialism

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23 and, as the evidence of life strongly suggests, if you destroy the brain you destroy the consciousness. However, this is not to say that consciousness is just brain activity; that consciousness is reducible to brain activity. When you see a certain area of neurons lit up and active on a brain scanner you are not seeing a person’s thoughts. All you know is that these neurons become active when he thinks of cream cakes and desires them. And if you delved into his brain you would not find his thoughts of distant mountains or his expectation of travelling there soon, and certainly you would not find a little picture of mountains inside his skull.

It now belongs to the Other for whom he has become an obscene object. What is Existentialism? 43 In catching him in the act the Other has caught his freedom and is at liberty to judge him as he pleases, to inflict meanings upon him – voyeur, pervert, dirty old man, fellow connoisseur. It must always be kept in mind when considering being-for-others that a person is Other for the Other and is therefore able to alienate the freedom of the Other in turn by transcending his transcendence. Controversially, existentialist philosophers tend to characterize human relationships as a ceaseless power struggle for domination and transcendence, arguing that the basis of all human relationships is conflict.

No worries. Move on. I’m sure you’ll get the general gist. The brain is more like the stomach than people think. It needs time to digest things and it may well be that the general gist will come to you later on when you’ve put What is Existentialism? 47 this book down, when you are out jogging, eating your supper or watching TV. The general gist of a thing often comes to me when I’m in the shower, not the most convenient place if I want to make notes. Interestingly, it’s often when we get right away from pens, paper and books that we do our best thinking.

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