- Paperback: 388 pages
- Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (August 4, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0470276991
- ISBN-13: 978-0470276990
- Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 30 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #443,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Existentialism For Dummies 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
Explore key existential themes and writings
Your friendly guide to finding meaning in a meaningless world
Is God "dead"? If we are alone, how should we act? These are key questions posed by existentialism. This unintimidating guide clearly explains the concepts of this philosophical movement in plain English. You'll meet the thinkers who helped it evolve — Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus — and see how existentialist ideas have influenced everything from film and literature to world events.
The birth of existentialism
What "God is dead" means
Why it's crucial to live authentically
An existentialist critique of culture today
The movement's impact on philosophy and psychology
About the Author
Christopher Panza, PhD, is an associate professor of philosophy at Drury University in Springfield, MO. He teaches courses on existentialism, ethics, and freewill, has published articles on teaching philosophy and is an avid weekend baker. Gregory Gale, MA, is an adjunct professor of philosophy in Las Vegas.
Top customer reviews
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Recently, I got a cheap, used copy of a work by Jean-Paul Sartre, but I, with no real background in philosophy, quickly gave up on it when I had trouble understanding it. Instead, I turned to Existentialism for Dummies for an introduction to the subject and was greatly pleased.
This book gives an overall look at existentialist concepts. It uses the ideas primarily from five philosophers: Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Albert Camus. For example, the book seeks to explain just what Nietzsche meant when he declared that "God is dead." It also explains one of the central concepts of existentialism: the absurdity of life. Existentialism contends that life is basically meaningless and people are free to create their own meaning in life. This is also related to the idea that a person should strive to live authentically instead of relying on others to find meaning.
All in all, this book was a good introduction to existentialism for the layman. I would recommend this to those looking for an introduction to the topic.
Panza and his co-author are able to take the ramblings of many philosophers and actually make sense of, in this case, existentialism. Starting with the "God is dead" statement they explain simply that it means that science has destroyed the order in our civilization that the Church gave us. We must find something else. From here they go on to explain that reality can't be seen or understood because of our moods, they interpret much of the world as we see it. Next they go on to anxiety, yeah I suffer from anxiety as we all do. What's that lyric: tired of livin' but scared of dyin'?
This leads us to the need to find some meaning in life. Well I won't go on and beat a dead horse. Just let me say the book is a fun read; yes, they are a bit humorous, and they explain this arcane bit of philosophy quite well. So am I an existentialist? Probably, just hope I don't turn nutty. Buy the book.
At times I found the paragraph structuring to be a little off, but the underlying meaning was still understood. The authors have managed to explain a very subtle subject which is no mean feat, and hence I give them a lot of credit for it. And unlike other beginners' books, the authors have managed to give over the content in a clear form without incessant interruption of corny jokes.
After reading this book, you will have a thorough understanding of existentialism, from its beginning to its end, as well as an understanding of each Existentialist's contribution, both on their own merit and within the broader gestalt. I am glad I bought this book, and highly recommended it!
I have since read Existentialism: A Beginner's Guide by Thomas E. Wartenberg, and I have to say that it's a clearer read of the subject.