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Existentialism Is a Humanism Paperback – 24 Jul 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 108 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (24 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300115466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300115468
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 12.7 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 126,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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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Format: Paperback
This is an essay Sartre gave in defence of existentialism. What is existentialism? Or what do I understand by existentialism? I think the following quotes from Garcin and Inez respectively, characters in Sartre's play Huis-Clos, sum up the philosophy: "A man is what he wills himself to be" and then "You are - your life and nothing else".

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.
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Format: Paperback
This delightful little booklet is based upon a lecture that the Existentialist philosopher - Jean-Paul Sartre (1906-1980) - delivered at the Club Maintenant in 1945, as a defence for Existentialism as a true representation of Humanism. This lecture was consequently repeated privately so that those who disagreed with Sartre could formulate their objections - these objections appear in the final section of the book as a 'question & answer' session between Sartre and these critics.

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?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Arrived promptly and in good condition. Good translation, good quality. I used it for teaching purposes, and it is good for the job.
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Fantastic introduction to Existentialism.
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