Justifying Our Existence: An Essay in Applied Phenomenology
Published: February 2009© 2009
208 Pages, 6.02 x 8.98 x 0.49 in
In his magnum opus Being in Time (1927), Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) argued that individuals have assumed that their existence is "a given," when in actual fact they simply have the ability to be. Justifying Our Existence examines the ways in which human beings attempt to calm their existential concerns by magnifying and proving their existence through phenomena such as self-righteousness, careerism, nationalism, and religion.
Using remarkably accessible and concise writing, Graeme Nicholson provides a close reading of Heidegger's methods to indicate how his work has a practical application for existential concerns. Justifying Our Existence shows how phenomenology can be used to foreground existence, while also providing startling insights into human behaviour, the motivation behind many of our social systems, as well as one of the twentieth century's most important philosophers.
'It is rare to find a philosophical book that is ambitious and penetrating but also a pleasure to read. Justifying Our Existence is that rare book. It takes an intimate look at personal aspirations and conscience, reflects on broad problems of national identity, and touches on far-reaching questions in philosophical theology. These themes are unified by the overarching question of why and how we seek to justify ourselves. Nicholson's approach to this question draws fruitfully on Kierkegaard and Heidegger and is extraordinarily clear, unpretentious, and relevant to real life.' Richard Polt, Department of Philosophy, Xavier University
'Justifying Our Existence is an excellent and original work of philosophy that makes compelling use of Heideggerean insights to explore our everyday efforts to make our lives meaningful. Suitable for undergraduate university courses, the book will appeal to a broad audience: Nicholson makes his subject come alive through highly personal and concrete engagement with the parameters of our lived experience, rather than through scholarly debate.' John Russon, Department of Philosophy, University of Guelph