To understand the nature of economics, it is important we understand the history of the forces which drive our world. A diverse and vast field, economic history provides the necessary context of the economic decisions that are being made in the world right now and provide the insights of the challenges our world is currently facing.
The field lays out the evolving structures of the distribution of our economic part of life, which gives a background on the current state of our economies. It moderates our theoretical understanding of economics where we realise that not all framework will help us explain the real world.
An interesting aspect is finding patterns of our economic changes and the causes — the relationship between 1929 and 2007-08 economic crash, the deregulation policies of the 1980s and 90s, post world war two economic boom, the labour union movements in the 1950s etc. An understanding of the past events and evolving nature of the theoretical understanding allows us to be better suited to grasp the modern discourse of economics.
At The Existentialist Cafe
A book which plays homage to the beginning of the eixtsntialism movement in Paris, Sarah Blakewell’s book At the existentialist cafe is a distinct contribution to the philosophy. It is a story of modern existentialism as one of passionate encounters between people, minds and ideas from Sartre and de Beauvoir–to their wider circle of friends and adversaries including Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty.
The books style is a historical narrative of the beginning and the inspiration of modern exististenialism. Considering the context and background of during and post world war two. There are many interesting stories which the writer disucsses, but the most interesting is between the friendship of Camus and Satre. Their camaraderie and the eventual fallout delves into the relationship of these characters.
The book has some great humour - “You see,” he says, “if you are a phenomenologist you can talk about this cocktail and make philosophy out of it!” Such writing mix intertwined with a discussion of an important movement makes the book an essential real for anyone who wants to understand the people involved in the philopshy of existentialism.
A fundamental text for existentialist thought, Either/Or is a monstrous treatise of two volumes by the 19th century great existentialist Søren Kierkegaard An outline of a theory of human existence, marked by the distinction between an aesthetic (essentially hedonistic) mode of life and the ethical life, which is predicated upon commitment.
The aesthetic life view is written in short essay form, with poetic imagery and allusions, discussing topics such as music, seduction, drama, and beauty. The ethical life view is written as two long letters, with a more argumentative and restrained prose, discussing moral responsibility, critical reflection, and marriage.
'What if everything in the world were a misunderstanding, what if laughter were really tears?'
The book contemplates about diverse subjects such as Mozart, drama, boredom, and, in the famous Seducer's Diary, the cynical seduction and ultimate rejection of a young, beautiful woman. All the elements questions the existence and way of life which sometimes comes up with uncomfortable answers which fit in the cannot of the existentialist thinker.
Nausea, a fiction by Jean-Paul Sartre, his first novel, is about a person’s journey exploring the various elements of what is considered to be the ideas of existentialism.
The novels main character, Roquentin, who undergoes philosophical nervous breakdown while he’s trying to write a biography of an 18th century character, the Marquis de Rollebon. His is horrified by his existence and he does in exploring his feeling and sensation about the ways the world and people affect him.
The novel asks various pertinent questions — what it is to be free, what it is to be human, what is to be able to look at other people and be looked at by other people, to be in time, to be in history, to try and impose some kind of sense or narrative on the raw facts of existence. With such questions, we tend to read more about the philosophy of existentialism and the work of Sartre.
The Ethics of Ambiguity
Simone de Beauvoir
Simone De Beauvoir, is known widely for her book second sex. But before publishing the seminar book, she wrote ethics of ambiguity, arguing that the freedoms in existentialism carry with them certain ethical responsibilities. This particular arguments promoted a wide variety of questions which exist even now.
The book begins with the central point of existentialism — ‘existence precedes essence’. With that she brings the concept of freedom and how one must battle agains the choices or institutions which tries to suppress it. In the book Beauvoir identifies herself as an existentialist through the argument of how existentialism is the philosophy of our (her) times because it is the only philosophy that takes the question of evil seriously.
The book is a must read for people who are interested in understanding existentialism from the idea of Beauvoir. Her particular analysis on the Sheep - Lion - Children development is fascinating to grasp. Reading the book one also understand the second sex in a much richer sense as she develops and reworks her ideas from this particular work.