Karl Jaspers was one of the greatest European philosophers and humanists of the twentieth century. He demonstrated a broad range of philosophical thinking that makes his work relevant for the twenty-first century. Coming to philosophy from medicine and psychiatry, Jaspers's views encompass a vast and creative range of empirical, philosophical, social, historical, and poltical ideas.
Hannah Arendt described Jaspers as one of the greatest interpreters of Kant in the German tradition. In the 1950s, Jaspers spoke of his "philosophy of reason" and his debt to Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Weber, and others. His philosophy, however, has often been misunderstood by Anglophone readers and interpreters, both with respect to his so-called existentialism, as well as to the originality, creativity, depth, and scope of this thinking and method.
The contributors to this fascinating volume offer fresh expositions and interpretations of Jaspers's philosophy. All are prominent experts in Jaspers research from three continents (Europe, North America, and Asia). Six major parts reveal the significant contribution of Jaspers's thought to the philosophy of psychiatry and science, philosophy of history, metaphysics, philosophy of education, philosophy of humanity, philosophy of politics, philosophy of religion, and intercultural philosophy.
Key concepts of Jaspers's philosophy are highlighted and interpreted from a fresh and timely perspective: "boundary situations," existential communication, existential truth, transcendence, philosophical faith, the axial age in world history, new politics and the role of a moral and political conversion, the idea of the university, and Jaspers's fascination with and interpretation of Asian thought.
The accessible essays will help readers overcome the intimidation often felt when faced with the work of a major German philosopher. The editors introduce and summarize Jaspers's published works, while offering an overview of his basic themes and concerns. New readers and researchers alike will find this collection instrumental in understanding recent developments in the interpretation of Jaspers.
Kurt Salamun (Graz, Austria) is a professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Graz and president of the Austrian Karl Jaspers Society. He is the author of Karl Jaspers, translated into three languages, and the editor of three books on Jaspers.
Gregory J. Walters (Ottawa, Canada) is a professor in the Faculty of Philosophy at Saint Paul University. He is the author of Karl Jaspers and the Role of ‘Conversion’ in the Nuclear Age, among other books.