Comment: More about so called existential thinking....

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More about so called existential thinking....

True philosophy is never something one "subscribes" oneself to. Philosophy, or thinking, as they are pretty much synonymous in existential thought, is a task that one has to perform, or to accomplish. If one just "subscribes" to "a decent philosophy" one has completely missed the point of philosophizing, of thinking.

With the title of "existentialism" it is easy to start to see it like a political party and one just "subscribes" to it, or its thinkers because they supposingly are part of that party. But this is not the case at all. You wrote originally that "there never has been full agreement on exactly how to define it." Of course there hasn't, if there would have been there would not be any living philosophizing, but just some kind of Party of Existence/Existentialism. Philosophizing is, as Merleau-Ponty writes, perpetual "dialogue or infinite meditation, and, in so far it remains faithful to its intention, never knowing where it is going." True philosophers are always heretics to any party line, or school of thought.
I would say better that THINKING WITH the great philosophers like Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger, Levinas is well worth to improve ones own thinking, but not following some party line of existentialism. One finds these definitions of some form of thought as a party line from textbooks, dictionaries and Wikipedia, but even if they can be in some superficial way beneficial as an introduction to something, they always distort more than reveal. It is bit similar to say that Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty are existentialists as to say that Ron Paul is republican.

Very good, but at the same time short article about existential philosophy would be Merleau-Ponty's short (11 p.) article "The Philosophy of Existence" which you can find from his book Texts and Dialogues:
http://www.amazon.com/Dialogues-Contemporary-Studies-Philoso...

Other than that if you want to understand, for example, Merleau-Ponty's thinking I suggest you to read compilation book of his different text titled Merleau-Ponty Reader:
http://www.amazon.com/Merleau-Ponty-Northwestern-University-...

And if you need some help in your reading of him, that is, in your thinking with him, thinking in dialogue with him, check following book by Lawrence Hass:
http://www.amazon.com/Merleau-Pontys-Philosophy-Studies-Cont...

Of course, Hass' book "Merleau-Ponty's Philosophy" is not any truth about his thinking, but it is a good introduction.

Well, I could go on and on, but stop here, at least, for now.....

"Air is the very substance of our freedom, the substance of superhuman joy....aerial joy is freedom."--Gaston Bachelard--