Rethinking Existentialism

ISBN : 9780198866763

Jonathan Webber
256 Pages
138 x 216 mm
Pub date
Aug 2020
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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.


1 What Is Existentialism?
2 Why Meursault is an Outsider
3 Freedom and the Origins of Reasons
4 Why Xaviere is a Threat to Francoise
5 Psychoanalysis and the Existentialist Mind
6 Why Inez is not in Hell
7 Sedimentation and the Origins of Cultural Values
8 Black Skin, White Masks
9 From Absurdity to Authenticity
10 The Imperative of Authenticity
11 The Future of Existentialism

About the author: 

Jonathan Webber is Professor of Philosophy at Cardiff University. He has published papers on moral philosophy and philosophy of psychology in leading academic journals including Analysis, European Journal of Philosophy, Journal of Moral Philosophy, Mind, and Philosophical Quarterly. He is the author of the monograph The Existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre, editor of the collection of essays Reading Sartre: on Phenomenology and Existentialism, co-editor of From Personality to Virtue: Essays in the Philosophy of Character, and translator of Sartre's book The Imaginary.

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