A chastened individualism? Existentialism and social thought
- Thomas Flynn
‘A chastened individualism? Existentialism and social thought‘ surveys the development of social responsibility in existentialist thought. Previous proponents of ‘authenticity’ like Nietzsche and Kierkegaard did not really address social responsibility and Heidegger was dramatically misled by National Socialism. After World War II, ideas of collective responsibility and ethical limits to the political were developed. Sartre and other existentialists supported communism, until dissuaded by Soviet imperialism. Marcel stressed the need to move from an abstract to a concrete thinking and foster others' freedom. De Beauvoir applied existentialism to feminism, as a way to overcome oppression, although this necessitated cooperation among free agents.