Existence and Freedom: Towards an Ontology of Human Finitude

Existence and Freedom: Towards an Ontology of Human Finitude

Existence and Freedom: Towards an Ontology of Human Finitude

Existence and Freedom: Towards an Ontology of Human Finitude

Excerpt

The Athenian Socrates, for whom philosophy was a way of living as well as a way of thinking, advanced the maxim "Know thyself" as the guiding motif in his search for wisdom. The history of Western thought, in its manifold expressions, can be understood as both a revealing and a concealing of the knowledge demanded by this Socratic dictum. It is hoped that the following pages will make clear in what way this is indeed the case. The philosophy which has most sharply pointed out the ambiguities of the Western tradition as it seeks to deal with this most basic problem of man's knowledge of himself is the philosophy today known broadly by the name of existentialism. Devoted to a foundational and rigorous examination of the human condition, existentialism has emerged as an emphatic philosophy of human finitude in which the concepts of finite freedom, temporality, historicity, non-being, estrangement, anxiety, death, guilt, and resolve are central. Already in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, with its classic demonstration of the finite . . .

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