What Do Existentialists Believe? | Granta

What Do Existentialists Believe?

Richard Appignanesi

‘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.

  • Published: 07/08/2006
  • Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781862078635
  • 130x20mm, 100 pages

The Author

Richard Appignanesi graduated with a doctorate in classical art history. He was the founder and co-director of the Writers & Readers Publishing Cooperative and Icon Books where he originated the internationally acclaimed Introducing series. His own best-selling titles written for that series include Freud, Postmodernism and Existentialism. He is the author of the fiction trilogy Italia Perversa (Stalin’s Orphans, The Mosque and Destroying America) and the recent novel Yukio Mishima’s Report to the Emperor. He is currently associate editor of the art and culture journal Third Text and reviews editor of the policy and futures studies journal Futures. He is presently at work on two new explanations of existentialism, Is There Meaning? and The Age of Postculture.

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