Realism and Existentialism

Part of the American University Publications in Philosophy book series (MNPL, volume 29)


It is the underlying assumption of this essay that there is an unresolved conflict between realism and existentialism. It is further assumed that there exists throughout contemporary philosophy a fundamental tension between the factors of belief or commitment and the factors of reason or knowledge in the establishment of a world view, and that this tension is especially evident in the conflict between these two movements. This tension is more implicit than explicit, although there are numerous signs that it is becoming increasingly explicit. The essay intends to uncover this issue, show its seriousness for contemporary philosophy, indicate its centrality for the understanding of philosophical foundations, while exploring these foundations in the dialogue between these two movements. It is further assumed that issues surrounding the factor of commitment are fundamental issues of liberal culture, centered upon objectivity and subjectivity or objectivity and conviction. One of the central dilemmas of modern liberal culture is the attempt to find the appropriate relationship between conviction and objectivity. It is obvious that one of the leading developments of nineteenth and twentieth century philosophy is the discovery of the individual subject, the existing individual, as a matter of profound concern.


Contemporary Philosophy Philosophical Position Logical Empiricism Philosophical Reflection Implicit Debate 
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    See E. Nagel, “Naturalism Reconsidered,” in Proceedings And Addresses Of The American Philosophical Association, XXVIII. For a discussion of the more existential and theistic position see Bennett, J. C. “Are There Tests Of Revelation?” Theology Today, 12 (1955) 70–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The American UniversityUSA

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