THE CHALLENGE OF EXISTENTIALISM by John Wild

THE CHALLENGE OF EXISTENTIALISM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Existentialist philosophy is here presented both in its depths and in its circuitous paths as the only surviving wholeness and positive assertion left in Western civilization. All other philosophical systems, it is argued, have confined their true powers to the various scientific disciplines, clinging alone to the vestigial values of logical and linguistic analysis. All that survives, including man, has been reduced to the dead realm of objects, which are ever more remotely perceived by ever more speculative abstractions. Existentialism, closely viewed through the eyes of Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Sartre, Marcel, etc., reunited man to the central fact that he is alive and plunged irretrievably into the flow of experience, himself creating and validating intellectual truths, himself acting out and carrying forward moral ideals, himself embodying and inspiriting metaphysical laws. The author's almost messianic enthusiasm, even in its romantic effusions about subjective values, and in its haphazard attacks against Hegel, Kant, Hume, etc. sweeps the reader along with its passion, until one closes the book and has time to reflect on the incongruities, exaggerations, slashing omissions of counter-argument. The merit of the book for the amateur is its barebone exposition of existential intricacies. Students will be grateful.

Pub Date: Dec. 19th, 1955
Publisher: Indiana Univ. Press