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The Cambridge Companion to Existentialism


Part of Cambridge Companions to Philosophy

Steven Crowell, David E. Cooper, William McBride, Alastair Hannay, Hubert L. Dreyfus, Richard Schacht, Lawrence J. Hatab, William Blattner, Karsten Harries, Thomas R. Flynn, Kristana Arp, Taylor Carman, Jeff Malpas, Merold Westphal, Robert Bernasconi, Matthew Ratcliffe, Matthew Broome
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  • Date Published: February 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521732789

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About the Authors
  • Existentialism exerts a continuing fascination on students of philosophy and general readers. As a philosophical phenomenon, though, it is often poorly understood, as a form of radical subjectivism that turns its back on reason and argumentation and possesses all the liabilities of philosophical idealism but without any idealistic conceptual clarity. In this volume of original essays, the first to be devoted exclusively to existentialism in over forty years, a team of distinguished commentators discuss the ideas of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty and Beauvoir and show how their focus on existence provides a compelling perspective on contemporary issues in moral psychology and philosophy of mind, language and history. A further sequence of chapters examines the influence of existential ideas beyond philosophy, in literature, religion, politics and psychiatry. The volume offers a rich and comprehensive assessment of the continuing vitality of existentialism as a philosophical movement and a cultural phenomenon.

    • Demonstrates the vitality of existential thought in contemporary philosophical terms, rather than just 'reporting' what existential thinkers have said
    • Includes a section of chapters devoted to the influence of existential ideas beyond philosophy (literature, politics, religion, psychiatry)
    • Includes overview chapters on existentialism as a philosophical movement and as a cultural phenomenon
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This volume will be most useful to students for the overview chapters, and for the substantial amount of discussion of Sartre's ideas and political activities.' Michel Petheram, Reference Reviews

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521732789
    • length: 428 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 150 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.68kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Introduction: Introduction
    1. Existentialism and its legacy Steven Crowell
    Part II. Existentialism in Historical Perspective:
    2. Existentialism as a philosophical movement David E. Cooper
    3. Existentialism as a cultural movement William McBride
    Part III. Major Existentialist Philosophers:
    4. Kierkegaard's single individual and the point of indirect communication Alastair Hannay
    5. 'What a monster then is man': Pascal and Kierkegaard on being a contradictory self and what to do about it Hubert L. Dreyfus
    6. Nietzsche: after the death of God Richard Schacht
    7. Nietzsche: selfhood, creativity, and philosophy Lawrence J. Hatab
    8. Heidegger: the existential analytic of Dasein William Blattner
    9. The antinomy of being: Heidegger's critique of humanism Karsten Harries
    10. Sartre's existentialism and the nature of consciousness Steven Crowell
    11. Political existentialism: the career of Sartre's political thought Thomas R. Flynn
    12. Simone de Beauvoir's existentialism: freedom and ambiguity in the human world Kristana Arp
    13. Merleau-Ponty on body, flesh, and visibility Taylor Carman
    Part IV. The Reach of Existential Philosophy:
    14. Existentialism as literature Jeff Malpas
    15. Existentialism and religion Merold Westphal
    16. Racism is a system: how existentialism became dialectical in Fanon and Sartre Robert Bernasconi
    17. Existential phenomenology, psychiatric illness, and the death of possibilities Matthew Ratcliffe and Matthew Broome
    Bibliography of works cited

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • 20th C. Continental Philosophy
    • Capstone Course for Philosophy Majors
    • Ethics in International Relations theory
    • Existentialism and European Philosophy
    • Freedom & Responsibility
    • Philosophies of Research
  • Editor

    Steven Crowell, Rice University, Houston
    Steven Crowell is Joseph and Joanna Nazro Mullen Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Rice University. He is the author of Husserl, Heidegger, and the Space of Meaning (2001) and the editor of The Prism of the Self: Philosophical Essays in Honor of Maurice Natanson (1995) and, with Jeff Malpas, of Transcendental Heidegger (2001). He currently edits the journal Husserl Studies.


    Steven Crowell, David E. Cooper, William McBride, Alastair Hannay, Hubert L. Dreyfus, Richard Schacht, Lawrence J. Hatab, William Blattner, Karsten Harries, Thomas R. Flynn, Kristana Arp, Taylor Carman, Jeff Malpas, Merold Westphal, Robert Bernasconi, Matthew Ratcliffe, Matthew Broome

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