“Existentialism? I don’t know what that is.” Thus, apparently, Sartre, and so begging off giving a definition of the focus of this issue’s forum seems an entirely reasonable thing to do. Whatever it is, existentialism is one of the few philosophical cross-overs, a movement with concepts and heroes and ideas as famous inside philosophy department as outside.
But let us insist, what is existentialism?
Stephen Priest braves these troubled waters in our opening essay, fixing our minds on the main problems, questions, concepts and thinkers in this remarkable part of the history of philosophy. Shannon M. Mussett considers the work of Simone de Beauvoir and wonders how her depiction of the “sub-man” might find itself quite rightly at the very forefront of thoughts about contemporary politics. Gordon Marino reflects on Kierkegaard’s philosophy and focusses our attention on what it means to know that we will die. Rebecca Bamford takes on the philosophy-sceptic, giving us a fine-grained feel for the relevance of existentialism today. Carlos Alberto Sánchez explores the thinking of Emilio Uranga and the remarkable meaning of Mexican existentialism. Finally, Gary Cox gets emotional with reflection on existentialism, psychology and our emotional lives.