Here’s an important quote from Lionel Abel’s "Second Thoughts on Existentialism."

Existentialists have gained prestige by talking of dread, care, anguish, guilt, boredom. Now it is true that they talk about such things; but they talk of them technically. I do not mean this as a reproach. I can see no reason why Existentialism, a philosophy of professors–of the university or the lycee–should not be as technical as other philosophies. I bear no grudge against Rationalists, Pragmatists, Positivists and Linguistic Analysts for belonging to that “class of philosophers who philosophize in class,” to use a phrase of Jean Wahl. Nor is there any reason why Existentialists should not be professors, seeing that what they have to teach is a school philosophy. But were not people drawn to Existentialism by the hope that here was a view which was not academic, and which might enable us to get away from jargon and hair-splitting distinctions, and bring us into contact with existence–our real selves, the authentic, death, what have you? Isn’t that why Existentialism became such a vogue after the last war? Didn’t it seem to announce that at last we could philosophize in the streets, and not just in the classroom? And did not Jean-Paul Sartre, who gave the greatest impetus to the new trend, rush out into the streets? He did. But only to stop philosophizing, and to start talking about what can be talked about in the streets, namely, politics.–Lionel Abel, “Second Thoughts on Existentialism,” New York Review of Books, June 1, 1963

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