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42241Re: Jaspers and Questions related to Existentialism

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  • jimstuart46
    Sep 29, 2007
      Gerald,

      I have not read any Jaspers so I'm afraid I cannot answer your
      questions about his terminology. Hopefully somebody else on the
      forum who has read Jaspers will respond to you on this.

      I have read some secondary material on Jaspers, and from what I can
      gather, for Jaspers the central core of existentialism is what is
      common between Kierkegaard and Nietzsche: that a philosophy must be
      lived, not just contemplated in a detached way, that passion,
      commitment, and involvement in life mark the noble character, and
      that the healthy human being should focus on his own inner
      development and not be concerned with the development of others or
      of society in general.

      As for you question about the nature of existentialism:

      "[I]s existentialism in the same family as idealism? Or is
      existentialism a form of realism? Or rationalism? or empiricism?"

      I think if you asked one hundred existentialists these questions,
      you would get one hundred different answers.

      My answer would be that none of these terms – idealism, realism,
      rationalism, empiricism – fits existentialism well. All these "isms"
      are metaphysical positions, and I read existentialism as being anti-
      metaphysical.

      Existentialsm is not a theoretical philosophy, but a call to action:
      Don't be passive, don't be a spectator of life; get involved, make
      commitments, and take full responsibility for everything you choose
      and for everything you do.

      Jim
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