Aho, Kevin. Existentialism: An Introduction

By Strawser, Michael | The Review of Metaphysics, September 2015 | Go to article overview

Aho, Kevin. Existentialism: An Introduction


Strawser, Michael, The Review of Metaphysics


AHO, Kevin. Existentialism: An Introduction. Boston: Polity Press, 2014. xvii + 193 pp. Cloth, $69.95; paper, $24.95--Aho's Existentialism offers readers an excellent new overview of a movement that is "by no means a moribund or outdated mode of thinking," but one that remains "fresh and vital" in our secular world today. For Aho, "existentialism represents a centuries-long engagement with the most fundamental of human questions"--for instance, "Who am I?" and "How should I live?"--and he thematically charts key focal points of the many philosophical and literary thinkers whose writings contribute to this engagement.

In chapter one, "Existentialism and Modernity," Aho shows how existentialism emerged as a cultural mood reacting against the modern worldview structured by science, Protestantism, and "a new picture of society." The notion of subjectivity takes center stage in chapter two, "The Insider's Perspective"; here, Aho introduces the phenomenological method, subsumed under the rubric of existentialism, with primary attention given to Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty. Appropriately, then, in chapter three Aho explains "Being-in-the-World" and how this concept resolves problematic dualisms, such as the subject/object metaphysics that has dominated Western philosophy, while also showing existentialism's relevance for contemporary philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Readers are then shown how the existential self is understood as a tension rather than a substance and relational rather than isolated (chapter four, "Self and Others"). The core idea of existentialism is "Freedom" (chapter five), which leads to the vitally related concept "Authenticity" (chapter six). In chapter seven, Aho treats the problematic discussion of "Ethics" within existential thinking, showing that although moral absolutes are rejected, this does not result in subjectivism or anything goes. In chapter eight, "Contributions to Psychiatry and Psychotherapy," Aho begins by addressing "the problem of medicalization" in our society today, and he explains how existential therapists such as May, Laing, and Binswanger avoid a reductionist approach in an attempt to understand the whole person's existential position. Aho considers the question "Is existentialism anti-psychiatry?" and carefully shows that "existential therapists need to guard against the tendency to romanticize anxiety," while he nevertheless maintains that "psychic suffering do[es] not originate in faulty biochemistry," but rather from "the structural frailty and insecurity of the human condition itself."

In the last chapter, titled "Existentialism Today," Aho shows how existential thinking is relevant for several contemporary research areas in the humanities and social sciences. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Aho, Kevin. Existentialism: An Introduction
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.