6 Answers

  1. N. Berdyaev's books are intended for a wide audience and can be understood without any special philosophical training. The following works can be distinguished: “On the slavery and freedom of man”, “Creativity and objectification”,” On the purpose of man”,”Philosophy of the free Spirit”. As for Sartre and Heidegger and their main works (“Being and Nothing”, “Being and Time”), with which existentialism is mostly associated, they are very difficult to understand, and they should not be taken up by a beginner.

  2. You SHOULD start your acquaintance with existentialism with Sartre's article “Existentialism is humanism”. It is necessary, because in this article Sartre describes such basic categories of existentialism as” abandonment”,” anxiety “and” despair “and actually exhaustively answers the question”what is existentialism?”. Thanks to this article, an understanding of this trend will be formed and all the usual associative series will disappear (black and white photos of dried trees, empty eyes, decay, and that's all…).

  3. Start with Ryabov's lectures.They are available on Vkontakte. There's more to it than just existentialism.He talks very fascinatingly,and gives a list of references at the beginning of each lecture.

  4. Existential philosophy is associated with Sartre, Camus and de Beauvoir. They have plays, essays, novels, novellas, and several articles where they explore questions of existentialism. Only Sartre has a systematic work — “Being and Nothing”. Quite a complex treatise for beginners in philosophy. Firstly, it was written by Sartre in an alcoholic frenzy, and secondly, it refers to many philosophers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Here it is worth noting that existential philosophy began with Kierkegaard, and developed as a counterbalance to Husserl's phenomenology. Therefore, without knowing anything about phenomenology and Kierkegaard's writings, it will be difficult to delve into “Being and Nothing”. There's more to come. Sartre was also influenced by other philosophers, who can also be attributed to existentialists, at least in part. It's about Jaspers, Nietzsche, Heidager. Even Dostoevsky poked around questions of “existence and being” in his novels.�

    So if you want to learn about existentialism, and not just flaunt “smart words” in front of your friends, then start with Thales.�

    Just kidding, you can start with Kierkegaard. And in order to understand what it means and understand “who all these people are”, and what was going on in the “philosophical kitchen”, I recommend the review works of Russell (“History of Western Philosophy”) and West (“Continental Philosophy. Introduction”). These are simple and fascinating books that will help you not get lost in the “battle of philosophers”, and understand what existentialism is and where its legs grow from.

  5. Personally, I began to get acquainted with the philosophy of existentialism, as mentioned above, with Sartre's work “Existentialism is humanism”. This is done in order to have an idea of the terminology and main concepts. But I was really hooked on existentialism after the book “Treatment for Love and Other psychotherapy Novels”by existential psychotherapist Irwin Yalom. This is not a philosophical work, but a psychotherapeutic one, but it will make it clear how existential questions and problems are encountered by the average person.

  6. My introduction to existentialism began with Sartre. But not with “Nausea”, as many people have, but with his autobiographical story “Words”. In it, Sartre talks about his childhood and growing up. There, in a fairly simple form, all the same things are presented that are wrapped up in art form in” Nausea”, but the autobiographical approach helps to understand how Sartre came to the idea of existentialism.

    In general, “Words”, in my opinion, is such a guide, as if you do not grow an existentialist in yourself, then at least understand the ideas and roots of this philosophy. You, as a reader, watch the boy grow up from the outside, how his views are formed, and then collapse, because he understands that all this is just an illusion. You experience all this yourself, and it's much easier to understand exactly how it affected the writer. You can see the whole chain from the beginning.

    And a particularly strong impact is denied by the fact that in his story Sartre seems to be talking to you today. And this is not a turn of speech, he really addresses the reader, but not to a contemporary reader, but to a reader who will read his story many years after his (Sartre's) physical death. And this trick is what most immerses you in understanding the essence of existentialism.

    After that, reading “Nausea” becomes much easier. Although not necessarily anymore. However, if you want to have a discussion with friends who have read “Nausea” and don't understand anything, then you should read it. Compare your impressions later.

    However, I must warn you that Sartre's existentialism is somewhat different from other philosophers. In my opinion, Sartre is closer to Kierkegaard's ideas, although he formulates them somewhat differently. Perhaps this is just closer to my understanding of Sartre, because I, one might say, passed it through myself first. Who knows?

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