• Mary Warnock
Part of the New Studies in Ethics book series


It is time now to see what general conclusions can be drawn from our consideration of Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Sartre. There can be no doubt that all three of them were deeply interested in ethical questions, that is, in trying to provide a theoretical and not merely a practical answer to the question ‘How ought people to live?’ And this preoccupation with ethics, the treating of all philosophy as ultimately leading up to an answer to the ethical question, may be fairly taken to be a common characteristic of all Existentialist thinkers. For an Existentialist, what philosophical beliefs you hold determines the actual way in which you live your life. And, as we saw at the beginning, the aim of philosophy for an Existentialist, is not to provide a pure, disinterested statement of truth, but to free people from their illusions. Thus, not only do ethical questions emerge in Existentialist philosophy as the most important questions to which all others are merely preliminary but, going along with this, the whole aim of a philosopher must have a moral purpose.


Moral Theory Ethical Question Moral Purpose Existentialist Philosophy Free People 
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Copyright information

© Mary Warnock 1967

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Warnock
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Hugh’s CollegeOxfordUK

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