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Re: What do existentialists have in common?

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  • Evan Williams
    I can only guess at the answer to this question. My guess is that existentialists would try to keep their own lives as basic as possible. That is to say,
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 24, 2003
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      I can only guess at the answer to this question. My guess is that existentialists would try to keep their own lives as basic as possible. That is to say, free from confusing and often incorrect theories and philosophies, in order to help the mind focus primarily on the here and now. Books containing existentialist philosophy once read can be discarded, and these are the only philosophy books that matter. Existentialists would seem to glorify the normal everyday situation, however hard an existence it may provide, one reason being that it is the only kind of situation where self-improvement can take place. Even life at its most basic can be absurd at times, and it is a matter for the existentialist to be strong and face the absurd as bravely as possibl
      e, so as to grow stronger.

      Existentialism so appears to be pre-philosophical in what it prescribes, and seems to imply that thinking about things cannot improve our quality of existence.

      Evan
      et.williams@...
      --
      The perfect Christmas gift - www.amstrad.com/buy
    • bildabregrab
      Considering that Sartre (for a long time) was a Marxist enthusiast, Heidegger (for a shorter time) was a Nazi supporter (of sorts), and Pope John Paul II was
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 25, 2003
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        Considering that Sartre (for a long time) was a Marxist enthusiast,
        Heidegger (for a shorter time) was a Nazi supporter (of sorts), and
        Pope John Paul II was an authority on phenomenology before other
        matters began to absorb his attention, the answer is "very damn
        little." Not to forget that Nietzsche, Sartre, and Camus were
        atheists. I think existentialism, now (especially in the United
        States) is almost exclusively French, and is identified with the
        early (essentially anarchist) Sartre and the group of philosophers
        he associated with. It evolved out of the protest life-style
        developed underground by young people in Paris during the German
        occupation of WWII. With all due reverence for "Being and
        Nothingness," Sartre's masterpiece, the lecture he delivered just
        after the war entitled "Existentialism Is a Humanism" is perhaps the
        most influential of his writings, comparable to the Communist
        Manifesto among Marxists. Just as many or most Marxists thought
        mainly in terms of the Manifesto and not "Capital," many or most
        Sartre followers thought of his doctrines in terms of that lecture,
        modified by whatever they extracted from B&N. Some writers have
        talked about the two large tomes as "the great unread Bibles" of the
        movements they supported. Except for Hazel Barnes, I don't think
        anyone has read all of Sartre's work on Flaubert or both volumes of
        his Critique (it's almost impossible to find copies of Volume 2 of
        the Critique so I'm pretty safe on that.)
      • Nathan Christopher
        Agreement in ideas isn t something you can quantify. If you still try to say great or minimal, you re making a value judgment and, as such, it ll be
        Message 3 of 4 , Dec 26, 2003
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          Agreement in ideas isn't something you can quantify. If you still
          try to say "great" or "minimal," you're making a value judgment and,
          as such, it'll be relative to the importance you place on those
          convergent points. That's what's behind "common sense." For more on
          this, see Cilfford Geertz' Local Knowledge, Michael Polanyi's
          Personal Knowledge, or Sartre's "We Write for Our Own Time."

          In any case, the answer isn't "very damn little" because Roro's
          question wasn't "how much do they have in common?" As you can see,
          he's asking "what" they have in common. Lorna answered; she said
          nothing. I answered with Sartre; we said then man simply is, and
          then...

          I asked a question in my final response to Brian which I've been
          thinking about since... viz., why are we posting? I'd like to try
          answering that, probably as a response to Evan's recent post, but I'd
          like to put the question back out there. I wonder if you feel,
          Bilda, that you helped Roro - that you addressed the question posed
          to us - or whether you weren't concerned with Roro at all, and were
          writing for something else altogether.

          As a side note, I think Sartre would take issue with you
          characterizing his philosophy according to his ancillary activities -
          his politics, for example; you may be able to analyze his politics
          according to his philosophy, but not the other way around. Please
          consider the following quotes:

          "But let us leave these claims of glory out of it. If Jeanson had
          left an arm in the camp where he almost died, his article would be
          neither better nor worse. L'Homme Revolte would be neither better
          nor worse if you had not joined the resistance or if you had been
          deported." ---"Reply to Albert Camus" in Situations, trans. Benita
          Eisler.

          "Heidegger was a philosopher well before he was a
          Nazi... 'Heidegger,' you say, 'is a member of the National Socialist
          Party; thus his philosophy must be Nazi.' That's not it: Heidegger
          has no character; there's the truth of the matter...Don't you know
          that sometimes a man does not come up to the level of his works? And
          are you going to condemn The Social Contract because Rousseau
          abandoned his children?" "A More Precise Characterization of
          Existentialism" in The Writings of Jean-Paul Sartre, Vol.2, trans.
          Richard McCleary. (This is the essay I uploaded for the group.)

          --- In Sartre@yahoogroups.com, "bildabregrab" <bildabregrab@y...>
          wrote:
          > Considering that Sartre (for a long time) was a Marxist enthusiast,
          > Heidegger (for a shorter time) was a Nazi supporter (of sorts), and
          > Pope John Paul II was an authority on phenomenology before other
          > matters began to absorb his attention, the answer is "very damn
          > little." Not to forget that Nietzsche, Sartre, and Camus were
          > atheists. I think existentialism, now (especially in the United
          > States) is almost exclusively French, and is identified with the
          > early (essentially anarchist) Sartre and the group of philosophers
          > he associated with. It evolved out of the protest life-style
          > developed underground by young people in Paris during the German
          > occupation of WWII. With all due reverence for "Being and
          > Nothingness," Sartre's masterpiece, the lecture he delivered just
          > after the war entitled "Existentialism Is a Humanism" is perhaps
          the
          > most influential of his writings, comparable to the Communist
          > Manifesto among Marxists. Just as many or most Marxists thought
          > mainly in terms of the Manifesto and not "Capital," many or most
          > Sartre followers thought of his doctrines in terms of that lecture,
          > modified by whatever they extracted from B&N. Some writers have
          > talked about the two large tomes as "the great unread Bibles" of
          the
          > movements they supported. Except for Hazel Barnes, I don't think
          > anyone has read all of Sartre's work on Flaubert or both volumes of
          > his Critique (it's almost impossible to find copies of Volume 2 of
          > the Critique so I'm pretty safe on that.)
        • bildabregrab
          Responding (I hope) to kantilicious, part of the problem lies in the question: to ask what assumes that there can be one thing and not several that ties
          Message 4 of 4 , Dec 26, 2003
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            Responding (I hope) to "kantilicious," part of the problem lies in
            the question: to ask "what" assumes that there can be one thing and
            not several that "ties them together," and on the further assumption
            that this tie is some gluelike commitment to a set of principles
            that identifies one as belonging to the sacred group. My response
            is that there is "not much" of a gluelike commitment of any kind.
            Sartre's own response to such questions is that philosophy is an
            activity. It historically has produced bodies of doctrine that were
            accepted by some, then criticized, then sent off to the universities
            as dead doctrine safe to be imparted to gullible undergraduates. In
            so regarding it, he readily accepted the fact that--after death--his
            writings, as well as his life, would then be subject to the usual
            misinterpretations and distortions. He was quite cheerful about
            it. "We write for our times," he said, meaning that philosophical
            discussions, arising from a particular historical era, pass into the
            accounts of that era and never really achieve infallibility.
            I see existentialism as a response to the human situation in
            our times. To make it more specific requires reference to the
            writings of one or another of those usually described as
            existentialists. But such a description is one virtually all of the
            alleged existentialists, including Sartre, rejected upon various
            occasions.
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