Basic Writings of Existentialism Book Summary - Basic Writings of Existentialism Book explained in key points

Basic Writings of Existentialism summary

Gordon Marino

Brief summary

Basic Writings of Existentialism is a collection of influential works by existentialist philosophers such as Sartre, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard. It delves into the human experience and the search for meaning in a seemingly meaningless world.

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    Basic Writings of Existentialism
    Summary of key ideas

    Exploring Existentialism

    In Basic Writings of Existentialism, Gordon Marino introduces us to the core ideas of existentialism through the works of its most influential thinkers. He begins with Søren Kierkegaard, often considered the father of existentialism. Kierkegaard's writings emphasize the individual's subjective experience and the importance of personal choice and commitment.

    Marino then delves into the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, who famously declared that "God is dead." Nietzsche's philosophy centers on the idea of the "will to power" and the need for individuals to create their own values and meanings in a world without inherent purpose.

    Existentialism in the 20th Century

    Continuing his exploration, Marino introduces us to the existentialists of the 20th century. He begins with Martin Heidegger, whose concept of "being-towards-death" emphasizes the finite nature of human existence and the need to confront our mortality to live authentically.

    Marino then moves on to Jean-Paul Sartre, who famously stated that "existence precedes essence." Sartre's existentialism emphasizes human freedom and responsibility, arguing that we are condemned to be free and must take responsibility for our choices.

    Existentialism and the Human Condition

    Next, Marino explores the existentialist perspective on the human condition. He introduces us to Simone de Beauvoir, who, in her groundbreaking work The Second Sex, applied existentialist ideas to feminist theory, arguing that women are also condemned to be free and must assert their agency in a male-dominated world.

    Marino then turns to Albert Camus, whose philosophy of the absurd confronts the inherent conflict between humanity's search for meaning and the indifferent universe. Camus argues that we must embrace the absurdity of existence and find meaning in the face of an indifferent world.

    Existentialism in Literature and Beyond

    Marino also explores existentialism's influence on literature. He discusses Fyodor Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground, a seminal work that delves into the existentialist themes of freedom, alienation, and the nature of the self. He also examines Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, which explores the existential struggle of an African American man in a racially divided society.

    Finally, Marino concludes with Miguel de Unamuno, a Spanish philosopher who emphasized the importance of the individual's struggle for immortality. Unamuno argued that the human desire for eternal life is a fundamental aspect of our existence, driving us to create meaning in the face of our mortality.

    Embracing Existentialism

    In Basic Writings of Existentialism, Gordon Marino provides a comprehensive overview of existentialist thought, highlighting its diverse perspectives and enduring relevance. He shows us that existentialism is not a bleak philosophy of despair, but a call to embrace our freedom, confront our mortality, and create our own meanings in a world devoid of inherent purpose.

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    What is Basic Writings of Existentialism about?

    Basic Writings of Existentialism is an essential collection of philosophical texts that explore the fundamental concepts of existentialism. Edited by Gordon Marino, this book features writings from renowned thinkers such as Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, and others, offering insights into the human condition, freedom, individuality, and the search for meaning in a seemingly indifferent world.

    Basic Writings of Existentialism Review

    Basic Writings of Existentialism (2010) introduces readers to the fundamental ideas of existentialism and why they matter. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Delving into the works of influential philosophers like Sartre, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche, it offers a comprehensive overview of existentialist thought.
    • This book presents profound philosophical ideas in a clear and accessible manner, allowing readers to engage with complex concepts without difficulty.
    • It explores the meaning of existence, individual freedom, and the search for personal authenticity, making it both intellectually stimulating and emotionally resonant.

    Who should read Basic Writings of Existentialism?

    • Individuals curious about the nature of existence and human freedom
    • Readers who enjoy exploring philosophical ideas and questioning traditional beliefs
    • Those seeking to understand the complexities of the human condition and the search for meaning

    About the Author

    Gordon Marino is a philosopher and professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College. He has written extensively on existentialism and the works of Søren Kierkegaard. Marino's book, "The Existentialist's Survival Guide," explores the relevance of existentialist philosophy in today's world. He has also edited and contributed to several anthologies on the subject, including "Basic Writings of Existentialism." Marino's work delves into the fundamental questions of human existence and the search for meaning.

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    Basic Writings of Existentialism FAQs 

    What is the main message of Basic Writings of Existentialism?

    The main message of Basic Writings of Existentialism is an exploration of the human condition and the search for meaning and authenticity in life.

    How long does it take to read Basic Writings of Existentialism?

    The reading time for Basic Writings of Existentialism can vary, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Basic Writings of Existentialism a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Basic Writings of Existentialism is worth reading as it offers a deep dive into existentialist philosophy, providing valuable insights into the human experience.

    Who is the author of Basic Writings of Existentialism?

    The author of Basic Writings of Existentialism is Gordon Marino.

    What to read after Basic Writings of Existentialism?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Basic Writings of Existentialism, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • On Being by Peter Atkins
    • Immortality by Stephen Cave
    • Plato at the Googleplex by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein
    • The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
    • The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels