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Existentialism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 12 Oct 2006
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About the Author
Thomas Flynn is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Philosophy at Emory University. He is a specialist in contemporary continental philosophy, aesthetics and social and political philosophy. His previous publications include Sartre and Marxist Existentialism: The Test Case of Collective Responsibility (Chicago 1986) and Sartre, Foucault, and Historical Reason (Vols. I & II; Chicago, 1997, 2005).
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Existentialism is about the existence of self, being if you will. It features the prominent figures of the field and a brief run down of their differences and central premises. It also details the place in society of Existentialism and discusses some of the major principles & ethics in depth. As might be expected from a VSI on the subject.
However, it seems to me that on completing this book, you are still left wondering what exactly Existentialism is and whether or not it is still even an active branch of philosophy and it seems to have had a time and a place (1920's to 1945's France primarily) that no longer holds water anymore due to the radical shift of perspective of the inhabitants (Egalitarianism & Libertarianism!) Whilst this doesn't make it any less relevant as it was the darling child of some the world's best (arguably) philosophers, it is all a bit ill-defined.
When this is coupled with incredibly dense paragraphs, forested with words that already exist, but in interpretations only used in philosophical circles, necessitating a glossary to the book it is pretty heavy going. But that is my subjective interpretation (does that make it so to anyone else??) but a quick glance among the other reviews here suggest that sometimes, just sometimes, subjectivity can be equal to objectivity.
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