Encounter with Nothingness: An Essay on Existentialism

Encounter with Nothingness: An Essay on Existentialism

Encounter with Nothingness: An Essay on Existentialism

Encounter with Nothingness: An Essay on Existentialism

Excerpt

An attempt is made in this book to explain a philosophy which has recently come to be known under the name of Existentialism. I am well aware of the diversity of ideas and tendencies covered by this name. But I also believe that through the diversity a uniform pattern of thought can be discerned. This pattern the following chapters try to unfold, with due regard to the individuality of the writers who will be heard as witnesses. The emphasis is on the principles rather than on the details of execution. No compendium is intended, but rather a compass for the guidance of readers.

I do not agree with those who belittle Existentialism as an ephemeral fashion. I agree even less with others who hold that Existentialism is perhaps relevant for the Old Continent but irrelevant for America. Their regionalism has no place in philosophy. Besides, the facts are against them. When William James countered the claims and quarrels of speculative philosophy with the question: "What difference does it make to us in living our lives?" he struck out in the direction of Existentialism. The American novel is among the influences that have shaped . . .

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