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Existentialism (Pelican) Paperback – 28 Mar 1974

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Product details

  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New Ed edition (28 Mar. 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140215697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140215694
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 75,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback
Macquarrie enters the field at a comfortable pace and leads the reader step by step through the otherwise bewildering panorama of existential philosophers. Macquarrie clears away the fog of obscurity that this subject is so notorious for. Having failed repeatedly to make headway in understanding what the existentialists were getting at, I am now educated to be alert to the personal attacks underway in their literature, and pay attention to the common efforts.
This book is a precious resource for anyone new to the ideas these serious philosophers were struggling with.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 July 2011
Format: Paperback
A very lithe intro into the subject on how to live authentically. Written in 1972 this is still powerful book. Details how little philosophy has actually shifted in the intervening period as much of what he details is highly relevant in an era of hyper capitalism and the desire to immerse the self in objects during an era of sustained growth was a cultural norm. Then it mattered little what was authentic because the culture of excess in the West ensured that everyone could dip into various forms of alienated life to gain freedom from consumption.

The notion of finding the self was just another discourse, highlighting the high degrees of alienation or undiagnosed and untreated forms of autism that were reified into a cultural norm.

This slim volume is a bluffers guide except it is also an intellectual tour de force detailing all the main theorists; Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Buber, Tillich, Kerkegaard Jaspers, Husserl amongst others.

Chapters divided into Existential Philosophising, Idea of Existence, Existence ad the World, Feeling, Attitude, In Quest of the Authentic Existence, History and Society, The Arts plus numerous other insights it offers a comprehensive insight.

If you wish to start an inner journey this provides a first step.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter j on 4 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
Wonderful book - perhaps the best, most lucid and enlightening introductory book to existentialism you'll read. Many introductory books are less edifying than informative - this is both is informative and therapeutic. Lovely book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very hard going but worth a read. Hopefully I'll be kind of able to explain what Exis is by the end of the book. Not really for beginners so I'm not quite sure why I'm reading it :-)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Excellent! 9 Jan. 2001
By Nathan - Published on
Format: Paperback
Existentialism is such a wide and diverse philosophy and has had so many different contributors with differing views that the term `existentialism' has come to be nearly meaningless. John Macquarrie shows that while there are very few things that `existentialists' will agree on there are still recurrent subjects throughout their writing - such as freedom, decision, responsibility etc. Along with the themes that are common amongst existentialists there is also the common methodology of phenomenology that they share - at the beginning of the book there is a small section that briefly outlines the historical development of phenomenology as well as a description of Husserl's phenomenology - it is in no way detailed, but it's enough to give the reader a rough understanding.
The second chapter of this book traces the existentialist style of philosophizing through the history of philosophy - From the pre-Hellenistic age up until modern times. Macquarrie shows that the existentialist style of thought commonly emerges in a society when people find that their securities are threatened, when social structures and values begin to decay, and when the ambiguities of the world become more obvious.
This book is laid out so that every chapter discusses a separate topic common among existentialist philosophers. The book covers everything form thought and language (chapter 7), Finitude and guilt (chapter 10), authentic existence (chapter 11) and metaphysics (chapter 13). In the final two chapters Macquarrie evaluates the strengths and weakness of existeialism and outlines some of the contributions the philosophy has made in other areas - psychology, ethics, literature, education etc. if you're looking to learn about existentialism this is an excellent introduction.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An extremely enlightening introduction to Existentialism 27 Sept. 2013
By Theloniusphere - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This may be out of print. I'm not sure because I purchased a used copy. If you are interested in Existentialism and particularly in Existential Christianity, this is your quintessential introduction. From what I have read, MacQuarrie didn't solidify his philosophical inclinations until shortly before his death. This treatise, though, appears to me to be an acceptably objective assessment of Existentialism. MacQuarrie was an Anglican priest (raised Scottish Presbyterian), whose fascination with Martin Heidigger, Jean Paul Sartre and other non-Christian existentialists led him to search for meaning in the philosophy. He also introduces Kierkegaard, Bultmann, some Tillich and other Christian existentialist thinkers. Tracing roots from Descartes and some 16th Century thinkers, MacQuarrie brings the philosophy through to the 70's when the book was written.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By James L. Park - Published on
Format: Paperback
John Macquarrie

(Philadelphia, PA: Westminster, 1972 and later reprints) 252 pages

The best book in English on existentialism.
Each chapter explores one theme rather than one thinker.
The chapter on Authenticity is called "In Quest of Authentic Existence".
Some other major themes are:
human existence, freedom of action, language, feelings.

This organization of the book
allows the reader who is new to existentialism
to begin reading on whatever theme is most interesting.

If you would like to read other books on existentialism,
search the Internet for: "Authenticity Bibliography".

James Leonard Park, existential philosopher
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