Cover image for Existentialism : a reconstruction
Existentialism : a reconstruction
Cooper, David E. (David Edward), 1942-
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Malden, Mass. : Blackwell Publishers, [1999]

Physical Description:
x, 220 pages ; 23 cm.
Subject Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library B819 .C62 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



First published in 1990, Existentialism is widely regarded as a classic introductory survey of the topic, and has helped to renew interest in existentialist philosophy.

The author places existentialism within the great traditions of philosophy, and argues that it deserves as much attention from analytic philosophers as it has always received on the continent.

Author Notes

David E. Cooper is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Durham. His many books include Epistemology: The Classic Readings (Blackwell 1999); Ethics: The Classic Readings (Blackwell 1997); A Companion to Aesthetics (Blackwell 1992); World Philosophies: An Historical Introduction (Blackwell 1995); Metaphor (1986); Heidegger (1996). He is currently editing the series Philosophy: The Classic Readings (Blackwell Publishers).

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Certain US philosophers have done much to break down the previously impassable boundaries between language philosophy and analytic tradition on the one hand, and pragmatism, deconstructionism, and phenomenology and existentialism on the other. As a result, a few philosophers trained in the Anglo-American tradition have begun to rethink the significance of 20th-century European philosophy, particularly as it is manifested in the phenomenological-existential movement. Cooper's book is among the best of these efforts. He gives a sympathetic account of existentialism, seeing it not only as consonant with the concerns of language philosophy, analytic philosophy of mind, and deconstructionism in overcoming the dualisms of the Cartesian legacy, but as grappling with the major themes of all great philosophical journeys--how human beings establish meaning and dignity in the world. Cooper offers a careful and systematic elucidation of the essential categories of this movement, focusing primarily on the notions of methodology, truth, freedom, and the modes of human being. He makes clear their logical and experiential genesis, the internal developments from thinker to thinker, and shows how the analyses offered illuminate perennial philosophical concerns. He argues against interpretations that either trivialize or marginalize the philosophical import of this movement, and his own account does justice to the subtle and substantive accounts of human being which existentialism has offered. It is unfortunate that this sort of defense is still needed, but Cooper's book functions as an excellent introduction to existentialism for those trained in the Anglo-American tradition. He incorporates the work of virtually all the major thinkers, with particular attention to Heidegger and Sartre. He also refers to a number of interpretors of existentialism so that the book serves as a useful guide to the secondary literature as well. Highly recommended for all four-year academic libraries. -M. Feder-Marcus, SUNY College at Old Westbury

Table of Contents

Preface to Second Edition
Part I Preliminaries
1 The Sources of a Name
2 Existentialists and 'The Existentialist'
3 Some Misconceptions
Part II Philosophy and Alienation
4 Battling against Bewitchment
5 Hegel and Marx
6 Existentialist and Alienation
Part III From Phenomenology to Existentialism
7 'Pure' Phenomenology
8 The Existentialist Critique
Part IV 'Being-in-the-World'
9 World
10 Human Existence
Part V Dualisms Dissolved
11 Subject versus Object
12 Mind versus Body
13 Reason versus Passion
14 Fact versus Value
Part VI Self and Others
15 Some False Starts
16 'Being-with' and 'Being-for'
Part VII Modes of Self-estrangement
17 Public, Herd and the 'They'
18 Bad Faith and 'the Predominance of the Other'
19 A Problem
Part VIII Angst. Death and Absurdity
20 Angst
21 Death
22 Absurdity
23 Religious Intimations
Part IX Existential Freedom
24 Freedom and Constraint
25 Choice and Refusal
26 Individuals and Tribes
Part X Existentialism and Ethics
27 Existentialism versus Ethics?
28 Commitment and Availability
29 Reciprocal Freedom
Part XI Appendix
30 Heidegger and Sartre: An 'Erroneous Conflation'?

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