Encounter with Nothingness: An Essay on Existentialism

By Helmut Kuhn | Go to book overview

IV Subjective Truth

IN AN ESTRANGED world information is available but no truth. "Truth about the world"--this mode of speech implies a meaningful or understandable whole, a cosmos. But the world is no longer recognized as cosmos, and by the same token truth as the revelation of meaning to man seems unattainable. If we call the organ of the revelation of meaning reason, then the experience of estrangement involves the eclipse of faith in reason. As the intelligible world is dismissed as a juvenile dream, the faculty of intellection, the inner eye for the vision of this world, continues, if at all, as a mere vestigial organ. In this sense Existentialism is a form of irrationalism, in spite of its professions of faith in science. In fact, neo-Positivism, that modern school of thought which makes it its business to glorify natural science as the only road to truth, is an unavowed nihilism and thereby akin to Existentialism. Talking about metaphysics (sign-reading in a world without signs), to them an impossible thing, the two schools use the same language, the neo-Positivists speaking with complacent tolerance--metaphysics, they say, is a sort of edifying poetry--the Existentialists with the accent of despair.

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Encounter with Nothingness: An Essay on Existentialism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgment v
  • Table of Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • I - What Is Existence? 1
  • II - Nothingness Astir 9
  • III - Estrangement 24
  • IV - Subjective Truth 43
  • V - Gravediggers at Work 69
  • VI - Condemned to Be Free 84
  • VII - The Crisis of the Drama 103
  • VIII - Illumination through Anguish 124
  • IX - Beyond Crisis 147
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