Context

(Student Guide to World Philosophy)

Gabriel Marcel is one of the main figures associated with existential thought in France. His two-volume work The Mystery of Being is the final product of a series of Gifford Lectures that were given in 1949 and 1950 at the University of Aberdeen. Characteristic of The Mystery of Being, and one might say of Marcel’s writings in general, is a philosophical approach that is oriented toward concrete descriptions and elucidations instead of systematic delineations. In this respect, the existentialism of Marcel has greater affinities to the thought of Søren Kierkegaard and Karl Jaspers than to that of Martin Heidegger and Jean-Paul Sartre. Marcel will have nothing to do with the system builders. A philosophical system, even though it may have an existentialist cast, as in Heidegger and Sartre, entails for the Marcel a falsification of lived experience as it is immediately apprehended.