Monday, November 05, 2018
In The Medium Professor Chester Scoville discusses Sarah Bakewell's At The Existentialist Café.
I’d recommend it to someone who’s interested in how critical ideas can come out of difficult situations, because a lot of Sartre’s and Beauvoir’s thought came out of the experience of being in occupied France in the second World War. Much of what they did subsequently comes out of that experience, of being in an occupied country. And on the other side, you have the very problematic figure of Heidegger, who is arguably the most influential philosopher of the 20th century, but he was also a Nazi. There, you have the very difficult problem of a manifest moral failure combined with somebody who’s thinking has, for better or worse, influenced a lot of people. That’s a difficult problem that people still grapple with; it’s good as an introduction to some of what he was about. He’s unfortunately unavoidable!
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