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Existentialism

  • Martin Heidegger
  • Karl Jaspers
  • Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Albert Camus
Part of the The Documentary History of Western Civilization book series (DHWC)

Abstract

Although metaphysics has been rejected as a field of philosophical inquiry by the logical positivists, its legitimacy has been strongly reaffirmed by the founders of German existential philosophy, notably Martin Heidegger. For Heidegger the problem of being is still, and more than ever, the central problem of philosophy. In this essay, his inaugural lecture in 1929 at the University of Freiburg, he takes up being in its relationship to nothingness. What it means to be, the to-be-ness of the world, cannot be perceived, he writes, until we have first experienced nothingness, through the metaphysical dread that grips the reflective mind when it confronts the threat of nonbeing existentially. In the end, being and nothingness are found to be integral to each other, rather than opposites. Metaphysics itself begins when we ask ourselves what it means to be and not to be; it is therefore the most basic and serious of disciplines, and the most natural to man.

Keywords

Human Existence Ambiguous Aversion Metaphysical Question Inaugural Lecture Pure Nature 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. Existence and Being, by Martin Heidegger, trans. R. F. C. Hull and Alan Crick (Regnery, Chicago, 1949), pp. 355–80. Reprinted by permission of the Henry Regnery Company and Vision Press, Ltd.Google Scholar
  2. “Nature and Ethics,” by Karl Jaspers, trans. Eugene T. Gadol, in Moral Principles of Action, ed. Ruth Nanda Anshen (Harper & Row, New York, 1952), pp. 48–61. Reprinted by permission of Harper & Row, Publishers. Copyright 1952 by Harper & Row, Publishers.Google Scholar
  3. The Reprieve, by Jean-Paul Sartre, trans. Eric Sutton (Knopf, New York, 1947), pp. 362–65. Reprinted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., and Hamish Hamilton, Ltd. Copyright 1947 by Eric Sutton.Google Scholar
  4. The Rebel, by Albert Camus, trans. Anthony Bower (Knopf, New York, 1956), pp. 3–10. Reprinted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., and Hamish Hamilton, Ltd. Copyright 1956 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Heidegger
  • Karl Jaspers
  • Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Albert Camus

There are no affiliations available

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