Oxford event and new online article

The next event is at Blackwell’s bookshop in Oxford at 11am on Saturday 1st December.

This is an interview by Nigel Warburton in the best room of the best bookshop in the world.

There will probably be (early) festive drinks and nibbles. There will certainly be books.

Please do come along if you can! To help them gauge numbers, you can register your interest online.

And a new online article has just been published: The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Existentialist.

Book Launch in Cardiff and Publication in North America

Rethinking Existentialism on bookshop shelf.Rethinking Existentialism is published in North America this week. The best way to buy it is probably through A Libris.

But I don’t know anything about book buying in North America, so if you have a better idea do let me know.

To celebrate the full release of the book, there is a book launch party in Cardiff on Tuesday 25th September at Ride My Bike café, 26 Park Place, Cathays, 6pm-8pm.

The café will be serving cakes, teas, coffees, beers, wines, ciders, juices, and fizzy pop.

There will be some books. There will be brief words about the book, probably around 6.45.

Everyone is welcome!

 

Underrated Existentialist Classics at Five Books

Rethinking Existentialism is now at the printing press.

It is available to pre-order with at 12% discount and free UK delivery from Blackwell’s bookshop.

The first online article exploring the book’s central themes is now available on the Five Books website.

It is an interview with Nigel Warburton about five underrated existentialist classics.

It was a lot of fun to do and I hope you enjoy reading it.

All being well, there should be more articles like this in the next few months. They will be advertised here when they appear.

Book due to be published in July

OUP Book Cover Not Yet Designed Rethinking Existentialism is now in the final editing and design stages at Oxford University Press and scheduled to hit at least some good bookshops in July.

All being well, online articles and short papers highlighting and developing themes of the book will appear between now and then. Each will be advertised on this news feed when it becomes available.

The first short paper – Beauvoir and the Meaning of Life – is now available.

Because the book is now in press, the draft chapters are no longer on the website. They have been replaced with abstracts for the book and each of its eleven chapters.

The book has been significantly improved by feedback on the draft. So, if you commented on any of the chapters: thank you!

Psychotherapy talks now on YouTube

Recordings from last January’s conference Rethinking Existentialism in Psychotherapy are now available on the project YouTube channel.

There are audio recordings of the talks by Eva Koumpli on psychodrama, Rebecca Pitt on play, and Katherine Morris and Miles Clapham on the lived body, along with a film of the talk by Lennox Thomas on legacies of colonialism.

photo of Lennox Thomas and Hudda Khaireh

The Imperative of Authenticity

photo of Simone de Beauvoir
A draft of chapter 10 is now available to download.

It reconstructs Beauvoir’s argument for the moral requirement of authenticity in Pyrrhus and Cineas.

The argument begins from a premise that, according to existentialism, everyone must accept: that some ends are valuable. It then argues that this commits one to valuing achieved ends as potential means to further ends, which in turn commits one to valuing the capacity to pursue projects.

If the argument is sound, then it derives the imperative to value the structure of human agency, the capacity to pursue projects, from that very structure itself.

The chapter is devoted to clarifying and detailing Beauvoir’s argument for this Kantian moral conclusion. It concludes that this argument for the imperative of authenticity should be taken seriously as a contribution to contemporary moral philosophy.

Please do let me know what you think of the chapter, either by posting in the Comments thread to this news item or sending me an email.

Draft chapters are available from the Book page.

From Absurdity to Authenticity

A full draft of chapter 9 is now available to download.

It analyses the eudaimonist arguments for the virtue of authenticity found in Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks and Sartre’s Being and Nothingness. It argues that, because these are psychoanalytic arguments aimed at diagnosing and treating the sources of anxiety and distress, they cannot establish the moral conclusion that we all ought to adopt the project of authenticity irrespective of our other commitments.

In the absence of an argument for that conclusion, it looks as though existentialism entails the absurdist view that although we are each committed to our values, none of us actually have any justification for our values or for rejecting those we find abhorrent.

The chapter concludes by suggesting that Sartre’s Kantian comments on the moral requirement of authenticity in Existentialism Is a Humanism might best be read as summarising the argument Beauvoir gives in Pyrrhus and Cineas. The next chapter is devoted to that argument.

Please do let me know what you think of the chapter, either by posting in the Comments thread to this news item or sending me an email.

Draft chapters are available from the Book page.

Black Skin, White Masks

photo of Frantz Fanon

A full draft of chapter 8 is now available to download.

It argues that Fanon’s first book, Black Skin, White Masks, is a single coherent argument for a form of existentialism that agrees with Beauvoir’s in The Second Sex and Sartre’s in Saint Genet that personal characteristics are formed through the sedimentation of projects.

Unlike Beauvoir and Sartre, however, Fanon is a psychiatrist. His primary interest is in diagnosing and treating distress. He develops his existentialism as a contribution to the methods and concepts of psychiatric practise.

The book also develops an existentialist literary style, manifesting his philosophy in the range of works analysed in developing the theory and in the textual form of the argument itself.

Please do let me know what you think of the chapter, either by posting in the Comments thread to this news item or sending me an email.

Draft chapters are available from the Book page.

Sedimentation and the Grounds of Cultural Values

A full draft of chapter 7 is now available to download.

It argues that Sartre’s initial form of existentialism precludes any explanation of the widespread adoption of the project of bad faith that Sartre claims shapes our culture, and this seems to have been the problem that led him to adopt Beauvoir’s idea of sedimentation.

More specifically, Sartre’s analysis of anti-Semitism and Jewish culture is his attempt to ground a cultural theory in his initial form of existentialism. Its reliance on an unexplainable prevalence of bad faith is the central weakness of this analysis.

By contrast, Sartre’s essay on Négritude poetry, ‘Black Orpheus’, written only a few years later while Beauvoir was finalising The Second Sex, rests its account of cultural values on the idea of sedimentation through upbringing rather than on the idea of bad faith.

But it is his biography of Genet, published in 1952, that undertakes the task of fully rethinking his existentialism with the idea of sedimentation incorporated into it.

Please do let me know what you think of the chapter, either by posting in the Comments thread to this news item or sending me an email.

Draft chapters are available from the Book page.