on 1 September 2010
If you want something that focusses on the main themes and introduces you to the main Existentialist writers, then this is the book for you. I knew a little bit about the topic before I started but you certainly wouldn't need to know anything to understand this book. The examples used to explain the arguments, from film and fiction, made it very clear. My only complaint was that this book was not long enough, as I was enjoying it so much, I didn't want it to end!
on 29 April 2010
This book certainly gave me a good understanding of the topic. It was shaky around chapter 2 when a lot of abstract and somewhat inevitable terminologies were discussed. I can't say I fully grasped all of them absolutely, but this is one of those books where you don't need to - the author does not rely heavily on terminology later on to convey or illustrate his points (bar the odd case or two).
I really gained a lot of different ways to look at life and Existentialism is one of the more applicable and relevant schools of philosophy for the masses. I think Warternberg deserves a big thumbs up for whetting my appetite to pursue some of the original texts by Existential philosophers, and I can do so with more confidence.
Finally, I would like to say that this would be a good intro for philosophy students if they are studying the subject.
on 29 October 2008
Hurrah!!I've been looking for this book for years! It's written for anyone - not just philosophy students - in a clear, direct and personal style. Mr Wartenberg doesn't assume you know about Cartesian or any other principles, so you don't have to read 100 other books to understand what he's saying if you don't want to (but gives you direction if you do). He uses some literary references like Hamlet, but explains the relevence in the text, so no need to read the play (again). There are little potted biographies of key people, as and when they pop up.
Altogether, a really clear and accessible introduction to a complex subject. Excellent.
on 8 April 2014
I have long been a devotee of the OUP's Short Introduction series and when I wanted to buy an introduction to existentialism I searched there first, but was warned off by the reviews. Instead, by the same process, I ordered this title and I am really glad that I did. Wartenberg gives us a brilliant introduction to the subject. I had very little background knowledge of philosophy and even less knowledge of existentialism, but I was hungry to learn. Starting from first principles the author introduces us to the main issues of identity, individuality and self-consciousness. He deals with awareness of, and interaction with, others and the issues generated by free choice, especially in important moral issues such as racism. He explains the technical words that are unavoidable and I personally think the book is much enhanced by the short biographies and summaries printed in text boxes throughout the book. They deal with individual philosophers and their theories, so in a few words we can gain an insight into Kant say, or Sartre. Wartenberg makes no bones about being a supporter of the existentialist world-view. He is fully committed to it, but not in a way that obscures the truth or muddies the discussion; itself an accomplishment.
In short if you, like me, want to begin an exploration of this subject, one which has undoubtedly moulded our world, then this really is an excellent place to start.
on 6 March 2012
Ever wondered about what Existentialism is? Of course you have otherwise you wouldn't have found/searched for this book; that or you've been tempted by the "Customers also bought" marketing tool...anyway the review:
A very accessible introduction to the philosophy of Existentialism; examples from popular culture are used throughout to reinforce what can be difficult concepts (especially when reading Sartre's/Heidegger's/or any of the numerous other original texts). If you don't understand the basic concepts as introduced in this book then give up your dream of being an existenialist scholar it really is that simple.
Great book, give it a try and if you like the concepts of existenialism (alongside other philosophical ideas because no one person/group/movement [although as you'll become aware very few people actually liked being grouped together as existentialists] could ever be spot-on with everything) then you'll find numerous other books on the subject to move on to.
Enjoy! Or not. Your choice but you'll have to live with it.
on 13 October 2012
Acccessible, cohesive, condensed yet thorough. Only recieved this product yesterday and I am already 2/3 of the way through it, very succinct explanations of an otherwise reasonably complicated topic. The best introduction out there, and i've read three others.