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Karl Jaspers: the forgotten father of existentialism (aeon.co)
40 points by drdee 3 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 9 comments





Karl Jasper's role in developing existentialism is noted well in "At the Existentialist Café" by Sarah Bakewell[0].

He's also known as the mentor of Hannah Arendt, who later wrote "Origins of Totalitarianism", "The Human Condition" (Alan Kay's favorite book[1]) and "Eichmann in Jerusalem" (served as basis of her 2012 biopic[2])

[0] https://www.amazon.com/dp/1590514882

[1] http://www.squeakland.org/resources/books/readingList.jsp

[2] https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1674773/


The Frank Herbert book 'The Santaroga Barrier' has a psychoactive substance (much like the "spice" in his Dune books) called "Jaspers", named after Karl Jaspers:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Santaroga_Barrier


At least Monty Python knew Jaspers: https://youtu.be/LfduUFF_i1A

He isn't really forgotten in the academic circles who deal with the history and philosophy of existentialism. Jaspers is very well remembered along with Kierkegaard, Sartre, Camus and others. But yes, at the 'general public' level, he isn't really forgotten.

Is he really that forgotten? Camus talks about him in "Myth of Sisyphus" and while I haven't read his work personally I definitely recognize his name from the "existentialist pantheon"

He is definitely not forgotten in Heidelberg, where he lived and worked until 1948.

He's not literally forgotten but few read him compared to Heidegger and Sartre. Some of his writings aren't translated into English or are very rare.

fwiw I consider myself somewhat of an existentialist and I've never heard of him. Then again, I didn't manage reading Sisyphus, too boring and.. french.

It's a bit of a slow burn, but the final section (the bit actually and Sisyphus) is beautiful. It's worth pushing though the earlier chapters to get to it.



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