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Existentialism: A Beginner's Guide (Beginner's Guides) Paperback – August 1, 2008
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Fortunately, "Existentialism: A Beginner's Guide" is a fantastic primer for anyone who wants to know the basics of existentialist philosophy. The exposition is clear and logical, and sticks to a few key themes. Concepts are illustrated with examples from literature and movies. The author even uses autobiography to connect abstract ideas to real problems of life. Though a professor, he remembers why ordinary people are drawn to philosophy!
With this book under their belt, readers might want to tackle ponderous tomes by Heidegger and Sartre. But even if they don't (and they might not want to once they get 10 pages into "Being and Time"), they will be left with real insights into bad faith, dasein, anxiety, the "They," and other strange-sounding existentialist ideas that lose much of their strangeness when approached via this book. Highly recommended.
Wartenberg covers all the major Existentialists (Heidegger, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Sartre, Beauvoir, Camus, Kierkegaard, et al) in nine easy to read chapters: 1) Existence, 2) Freedom, 3) Others, 4) Anxiety, 5) Finitude, 6) The Absurd, 7) Authenticity, 8) Oppression and 9) Conclusion. My degree is in Philosophy and I took a class on Existentialism in college and I can say that this book is quite good and that it can prepare anyone to move on to some more challenging books such as Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy or Basic Writings of Existentialism (Modern Library Classics). Highly recommended; I have found that the "Beginners Guides" books are usually very good.
The author manages to introduce readers to all of the leading philosophers defined as Existentialists, detailing their individual thoughts and works, while also discussing leading literary figures such as Albert Camus and Fyodor Dostoevsky, pointing out how some of the best novels ever written were influenced by and helped to further influence Existentialism.
After reading this book i feel i have a better grasp on Existentialism to now go back and read the actual work of the great philosophers. For that i am most grateful to Mr. Wartenberg.
I've also been searching for a book that helps me over this hurdle. Existentialism: A Beginner's Guide is that book. Although I'm not finished with it yet, I can definitely say that my understanding has risen. I look forward to trying to tackle Being and Nothingness again after I finish reading this book.
You can get a very good idea of existentialism and then move ahead to more profound reading..
Most Recent Customer Reviews
ugh. what a terrible book. unless you have insomnia, or some other sleeping disorder. arrived quickly thoughPublished 22 days ago by JL
Provides a fantastic summary of the key concepts and figures. Well written and thought provoking and a great jumping off point to move into the more abstract works.Published 5 months ago by S. Price
Read like a normal book, not a textbook or something, I feel I really got a grasp on the overall philosophyPublished 8 months ago by Hanson Menzies
I am a Philosopher only in a very effortful kind of way, meaning that the philosophical style of thinking does not come easy for me personally. Read morePublished 17 months ago by The Other Guy
Abstract theories about abstract theories, all wrapped up in difficult to understand language and obscure words. If this is the best that Mr. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Kindle Customer