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Existentialism and Humanism (original 1946; edition 1974)

by Jean-Paul Sartre

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Member:brunellus
Title:Existentialism and Humanism
Authors:Jean-Paul Sartre
Info:Methuen (1974), Paperback, 80 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:philosophy

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Existentialism is a Humanism by Jean-Paul Sartre (1946)

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Showing 5 of 5
This book is split into 3 distinct parts: an introduction, the main text which is a transcribe of the lecture Sartre gave "Existentialism is a humanism" with the question & answer session which followed, then a commentary on Camus's the Stranger. The introduction is really well written and unlike most introductions, didn't bore me to tears or put me off reading the book entirely. It gives a good grounding of the history and situations that prompted the lecture. The transcribe of the lecture I found was easy to read through and gives the reader an introduction to existentialism (the whole book is less than 100 pages, so is not a thorough study), although one of the 'questions' after the lecture was more like an interrogation and I found hard to follow. Aside from that I would recommend this book for anyone wanting to get a feel of existentialism, as I think reading this would help decide whether you wanted to read further & deeper on the subject. The commentary on The Stranger was insightful but would probably be of more interest if you've actually read The Stranger (which I haven't). ( )
  breakbeat | Nov 10, 2013 |
I think the word is ' abstruse ' ( )
  BakuDreamer | Sep 7, 2013 |
This is well-written, because it can be read by everyone and it´s full of thoughts. Thanks to this book, you can easily realize what one philosophical system means and on what grounds it stands. So if you are a layman to philosophy or existentialism, this is a good book for beginning.

But: existentialism is too optimistic about human nature and freedom. If you know a little bit about contemporary psychology, you know that what Sartre said in this book is probably just an illusion. But may be this illusion is necessary for human life. ( )
  IvanaG. | May 18, 2013 |
An interesting defense of existentialism. I didn't come away despair filled at all. Probably won't remember a bloody word of it in two months :D ( )
  h_d | Mar 31, 2013 |
If you've read anything by Sartre or Camus you may have came away with a feeling that Existentialism is a philosophy of nihilism or despair. That, indeed, was one of the main criticisms of Sartre's philosophy in his day. In this lecture he speaks frankly about Existentialism and defends it against such criticisms, explaining that it is nothing of the sort, but rather a humanistic philosophy.

If you're interested in learning about Existentialism, this is an excellent short lecture to start with. It will leave you with many questions which can then be answered by a good intro such as Robert G. Olson's _Introduction to Existentialism_.

The real gem, however, of this particular edition is the inclusion of Sartre's literary review of Camus's _The Stranger_. I read The Stranger when I was 19 years old and didn't really think much of it. After reading this review I've started reading The Stranger again and I'm amazed at how much of an influence this little book had on my life. ( )
  FluidMindOrg | Jul 15, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (42 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jean-Paul Sartreprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Frechtman, BernardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hendriks, CasparTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mairet, PhilipTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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My purpose here is to defend existentialism against some charges that have been brought against it.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Do not combine with Existentialism and Human Emotions (1957) -- they are completely different works.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0300115466, Paperback)

This book presents a new English translation of two seminal works by Jean-Paul Sartre, the most dominant European intellectual of the post-World War II decades. The volume includes Sartre’s 1945 lecture “Existentialism Is a Humanism” and his analysis of Camus’s The Stranger, along with a discussion of these works by acclaimed Sartre biographer Annie Cohen-Solal. This edition is a translation of the 1996 French edition, which includes Arlette Elkaïm-Sartre’s introduction and a Q&A with Sartre about his lecture. In her foreword, intended for an American audience, acclaimed Sartre biographer Annie Cohen-Solal offers an assessment of both works.

It was to correct common misconceptions about his thought that Sartre accepted an invitation to speak on October 29, 1945, at the Club Maintenant in Paris. The unstated objective of his lecture (“Existentialism Is a Humanism”) was to expound his philosophy as a form of “existentialism,” a term much bandied about at the time. Sartre asserted that existentialism was essentially a doctrine for philosophers, though, ironically, he was about to make it accessible to a general audience. The published text of his lecture quickly became one of the bibles of existentialism and made Sartre an international celebrity.
The idea of freedom occupies the center of Sartre’s doctrine. Man, born into an empty, godless universe, is nothing to begin with. He creates his essence—his self, his being—through the choices he freely makes (“existence precedes essence”). Were it not for the contingency of his death, he would never end. Choosing to be this or that is to affirm the value of what we choose. In choosing, therefore, we commit not only ourselves but all of mankind.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:51 -0400)

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