Existentialism Is a Humanism Paperback – 24 Jul 2007
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About the Author
Philosopher, playwright, and novelist Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) was the most dominant European intellectual for the three decades following World War II. In 1964, he was awarded but declined the Nobel Prize in Literature. Annie Cohen-Solal is the author of the acclaimed "Sartre: A Life," an international best-seller that has been translated into sixteen languages.
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In this essay, Sartre sets out to show how these two declarations rather than being mere resignations to fate are actually clarion calls to responsibility. You are what you do and to be what you will, you must do, not just believe or worse, talk. This is not so far from Yoda in Star Wars: "Do or do not. There is no try". One does not need God "to do". One just needs to act. Our actions are the only evidence of our being alive as humans and why, ultimately, existentialism is a humanism.
The paperback (1973) edition contains 70 numbered pages, and although the book does not contain an 'index' of contents, it can be divided into the following sections;
1) Introduction by Philip Mairet Pages 5-19.
2) Existentialism and Humanism - Sarte's Lecture - Pages 21-56.
3) Discussion - Sartre answers his critics - Pages 57-70.
Philip Mairet has translated this text (into English) from the original French document, and provides a very thorough Introduction in the field of German philosophy. He explains that Sartre owes much to the work of Heidigger, Husserl, and Kant, as well as that of the Danish thinker Soren Kierkegaard. He further explains how virtually every philosopher owes a debt of creative gratitude (for the development of their respective philosophies), to the pivotal work (and genius) of Hegel. Despite the interesting content in this Introduction, Mairet omits any mention of the influence of the work of Karl Marx upon Sartre, even though Sartre mentions Marx (and Marxism) a number of times throughout his lecture. Indeed, so influencial has Marx been upon Sartre and Existentialist thought since 1945 - that Existentialism is often presented as a school of post-Marxist thinking.
What is Sartre arguing in this text?Read more ›