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PHIL 115 Lecture Notes - Gabriel Marcel, Totalitarianism

Course Code
PHIL 115

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Gabriel Marcel
Skeptical of the whole human philosophy
o When you’re sick you seek professional help
o However there is no solution, only an endless number of people who will
provide you with a solution
He believes things like evil are a problem; like the government where we can fix it
o After 9/11 there was a lot of talk about evil, and what can we do to solve this
o Evil isn’t an obstacle in our path, it’s a part of us
A problem is something we stand to at arm’s length
o An obstacle in our path, that we have to get around or over
o Something we confront
Mystery isn’t something separate from us, it’s a part of who we are
A mystery is a part of our being, no difference between us and it
o Love is not an obstacle in our path, it defines how we look at things
We try to find solutions for problems but aren’t able too, but the point is to cope
with it and manage with it
o You’re going to die one day and you can’t fix that, you can cope and manage
that by finding what that experience means but you cant fix it
What’s the method then? If we go in search of a solution for a problem, there’s a
o There is no method, when we try to understand the meaning of things, we
work without a method
o The most important questions we ask, we don’t have a method of dealing
with, instead we have to cope with them
No one can solve anything for you, even the most important questions aren’t
answerable by anyone except you
o What’s the meaning of my life? – only you can answer
Because Marcel was writing this after 2 world wars, he has an emphasis on what will
happen with freedom, the nature of it, what conditions in modern life stand against
o He is primarily a critical thinker
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