The Religion of ExistenceAsceticism in Philosophy from Kierkegaard to Sartre

The Religion of ExistenceAsceticism in Philosophy from Kierkegaard to Sartre

Noreen Khawaja

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780226404516

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

This book offers a broad new vision of the history and substance of existential philosophy. It shows how an ascetic tradition with roots in European piety movements focused on personal conversion formed the basis for the chief ideal of existentialism, personal authenticity. The book examines new connections between Kierkegaard’s religious theory of the self, Heidegger’s phenomenology of everyday life, and Sartre’s global mission of atheistic humanism. It reopens fundamental questions about the nature of secular thought, and asks us to consider how ascetic norms have shaped one of the twentieth century’s most powerful and most popular ways of thinking about identity and difference—the idea that the “true” self is not simply given but something that each of us is responsible for producing.