At the Existentialist Café

Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Others

Author: Sarah Bakewell

Publisher: Other Press, LLC

ISBN: 1590514890

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 448

View: 4247

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Named one of the Ten Best Books of 2016 by the New York Times, a spirited account of a major intellectual movement of the twentieth century and the revolutionary thinkers who came to shape it, by the best-selling author of How to Live Sarah Bakewell. Paris, 1933: three contemporaries meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are the young Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and longtime friend Raymond Aron, a fellow philosopher who raves to them about a new conceptual framework from Berlin called Phenomenology. "You see," he says, "if you are a phenomenologist you can talk about this cocktail and make philosophy out of it!" It was this simple phrase that would ignite a movement, inspiring Sartre to integrate Phenomenology into his own French, humanistic sensibility, thereby creating an entirely new philosophical approach inspired by themes of radical freedom, authentic being, and political activism. This movement would sweep through the jazz clubs and cafés of the Left Bank before making its way across the world as Existentialism. Featuring not only philosophers, but also playwrights, anthropologists, convicts, and revolutionaries, At the Existentialist Café follows the existentialists' story, from the first rebellious spark through the Second World War, to its role in postwar liberation movements such as anti-colonialism, feminism, and gay rights. Interweaving biography and philosophy, it is the epic account of passionate encounters--fights, love affairs, mentorships, rebellions, and long partnerships--and a vital investigation into what the existentialists have to offer us today, at a moment when we are once again confronting the major questions of freedom, global responsibility, and human authenticity in a fractious and technology-driven world.
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Rethinking Existentialism

Author: Jonathan Webber

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0191054763

Category: Philosophy

Page: 264

View: 7595

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In Rethinking Existentialism, Jonathan Webber articulates an original interpretation of existentialism as the ethical theory that human freedom is the foundation of all other values. Offering an original analysis of classic literary and philosophical works published by Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Frantz Fanon up until 1952, Webber's conception of existentialism is developed in critical contrast with central works by Albert Camus, Sigmund Freud, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Presenting his arguments in an accessible and engaging style, Webber contends that Beauvoir and Sartre initially disagreed over the structure of human freedom in 1943 but Sartre ultimately came to accept Beauvoir's view over the next decade. He develops the viewpoint that Beauvoir provides a more significant argument for authenticity than either Sartre or Fanon. He articulates in detail the existentialist theories of individual character and the social identities of gender and race, key concerns in current discourse. Webber concludes by sketching out the broader implications of his interpretation of existentialism for philosophy, psychology, and psychotherapy.
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The End of Love

A Sociology of Negative Relations

Author: Eva Illouz

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190914696

Category: Social Science

Page: 272

View: 815

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Western culture has endlessly represented the ways in which love miraculously erupts in people's lives, the mythical moment in which one knows someone is destined for us; the feverish waiting for a phone call or an email, the thrill that runs our spine at the mere thought of him or her. Yet, a culture that has so much to say about love is virtually silent on the no less mysterious moments when we avoid falling in love, where we fall out of love, when the one who kept us awake at night now leaves us indifferent, or when we hurry away from those who excited us a few months or even a few hours before. In The End of Love, Eva Illouz documents the multifarious ways in which relationships end. She argues that if modern love was once marked by the freedom to enter sexual and emotional bonds according to one's will and choice, contemporary love has now become characterized by practices of non-choice, the freedom to withdraw from relationships. Illouz dubs this process by which relationships fade, evaporate, dissolve, and break down "unloving." While sociology has classically focused on the formation of social bonds, The End of Love makes a powerful case for studying why and how social bonds collapse and dissolve. Particularly striking is the role that capitalism plays in practices of non-choice and "unloving." The unmaking of social bonds, she argues, is connected to contemporary capitalism that is characterized by practices of non-commitment and non-choice, practices that enable the quick withdrawal from a transaction and the quick realignment of prices and the breaking of loyalties. Unloving and non-choice have in turn a profound impact on society and economics as they explain why people may be having fewer children, increasingly living alone, and having less sex. The End of Love presents a profound and original analysis of the effects of capitalism and consumer culture on personal relationships and of what the dissolution of personal relationships means for capitalism.
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