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Situating ExistentialismKey Texts in Context$
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Robert Bernasconi and Jonathan Judaken

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231147750

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231147750.001.0001

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Sisyphus’s Progeny

Sisyphus’s Progeny

Existentialism in France

(p.89) 3 Sisyphus’s Progeny
Situating Existentialism

Jonathan Judaken

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the Christian existentialist challenge to Jean-Paul Sartre and the Paris school of existentialism, and how Christian thinkers viewed the functionalist understanding of the relation to the other that Sartre articulated. It first considers how Sartre characterized existentialism in his public lecture of 1945, “Is Existentialism a Humanism?” before turning to his Existentialism Is a Humanism and Albert Camus’s essay The Myth of Sisyphus. It then discusses the response of Marxists and Catholics to Sartre’s brand of existentialism and traces the lineage within French thought that was a precursor of the postwar generation’s discussions of subjectivity, freedom, morality, and the purpose of human existence. The chapter also highlights the antecedents and interlocutors among a clutch of writers and artists—the Paris school of existentialism—whose work came to characterize the most audacious and challenging claims of existentialism in the postwar period.

Keywords:   existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre, Paris school of existentialism, Marxists, Catholics, humanism, Albert Camus, subjectivity, freedom, morality

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