Philosophy of Existence was first presented to the
public as a series of lectures invited by The German Academy of
Frankfurt. In preparing these lectures Jaspers, whom the Nazis had
already dismissed from his professorship at Heidelberg, knew that
he was speaking in Germany for the last time. Jaspers used the
occasion to offer an account of the cultural and intellectual
situation from which existentialism emerged as well as a summary of
his own philosophy.
The book serves three purposes today: it brings the many strands of
the existential movement into focus; it provides an overview of
Jaspers's own philosophical position; and it demonstrates by
example that philosophy need not be irrational, antiscientific,
journalistic, or homiletic in order to be existential and
engagé. In this short book Jaspers provides a corrective
for the popular view of existentialism as a pessimistic,
irrationalist philosophy. He maintains that it is, rather part of
mainstream of Western philosophy-the form that philosophy has taken
in our day.
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