What Do Existentialists Believe?
‘Necessity makes existentialists of us all … It is a map drawn truthfully to our likeness’
Existentialism is not a unified doctrine or belief in any conventional sense. It breaks ranks with all previous philosophy, unsettles orthodox religion, and questions the supremacy of science. However, the question it poses is of fundamental importance to us all: What on earth am I to make of my existence?
In this lively and provocative new introduction to existentialism, Richard Appignanesi challenges the reader to take part in a series of ‘thought experiments’ in order to illuminate what it means to approach the question of our being human existentially. He looks at the history of an existential approach to the question of being and traces it through the thought of major thinkers and writers such as Soren Kierkegaard, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. Throughout, he emphasizes our need to face in good faith the consequences of what one is being. He also looks at existentialism’s encounters with Islam, Freud, feminism, race and the notion of progress.