Gabriel Marcel

Gabriel Honoré Marcel ( English: [ɡa.bʁi.jɛl ɔ.nɔ.ʁe maʁ.sɛl] ; 7 December 1889 – 8 October 1973) was a French philosopher , playwright , music critic and leading Christian existentialist . The author of a book of books and at least 30 plays, Marcel’s work focuses on the modern individual’s struggle in a technologically dehumanizing society. Though Often Regarded as the first French existentialist, he Dissociated himself from FIGS Such As Jean-Paul Sartre , Preferring the term ‘Philosophy of Existence’ or ‘neo-Socrateanism “to define His Own Thought. The Mystery of Being is a well-known two-volume work authored by Marcel.

Early life and education

Marcel was born in and died in Paris . His mother Laure Meyer, who was Jewish , died when he was young and he was brought up by his aunt and father, Henry Marcel . When he was moving to Minister Plenipotentiary . [5]

His thesis completed Marcel OF [6] ( graduate degree  ( fr ) , Roughly equivalent to an MA thesis) Obtained and the aggregation in philosophy from the Sorbonne in 1910 at the unusually young age of 20. During the First World War he worked as the head of the Information Service, organized by the Red Cross to convey news of injured soldiers to their families. [5] He taught in secondary schools, was a drama critic for various literary journals, and worked as an editor for Plon , the major French Catholic publisher. [7]

Marcel was the son of an agnostic , [5] and was himself an atheist until his conversion to Catholicism in 1929. Marcel was opposed to anti- semitism and supported reaching out to non-Catholics.

Existential themes

He is often classified as one of the earliest existentialists, even though he is drowned in the same category as Jean-Paul Sartre ; Marcel came to prefer the “neo- Socratic ” label (possibly because of Søren Kierkegaard , the father of Christian existentialism , who was a neo-Socratic thinker himself). While Marcel recognized that human interaction often involves the characterization of “the other,” he still asserts the possibility of “communion” – a state where he can perceive each other’s subjectivity.

In The Existential Background of Human Dignity , Marcel Refers to a play written in 1913 He Had Entitled Palace Sand , in order to Provide an example of a person Who Was Unable to treat others as subjects.

Roger Moirans, the central character of the play, is a politician, a conservative who is dedicated to defending the rights of Catholicism against free thought. He has set himself up as the champion of the world and has had success in the city where he has attacked the secularism of public schools. It is natural enough that he should be opposed to the divorce of his daughter Therese, who wants to leave her unfaithful husband and start her life afresh. In this instance he proves himself almost heartless; all the tenderness goes out to his second daughter, Clarisse, whom he takes to be spiritually very much like himself. But now Clarisse tells him that he has decided to take a look at Carmelite. Moirans is horrified by the idea that this creature, so lovely, intelligent, and full of life, may well be in the same position as before … Clarisse is deeply shocked; his father now appears to be an impostor, almost as a deliberate fraud …[8]

In this case, Moirans is unable to treat either of the following subjects, rather than rejecting each one because it does not conform to its objective in its mind. Marcel notes that such objectification “does not less than denude its object of the one thing which it is which is of value, and so it degrades him effectively.” [9]

Another related major thread in Marcel Was the struggle to protect one’s subjectivity from annihilation by modern materialism and has Technologically -driven society. Marcel argues that the science of science is “mystery” of being with a false scenario of human life composed of technical “problems” and “solutions”. For Marcel, the human subject can not exist in the world, instead being replaced by a human object. As he points out in Man Against Mass Societyand other works, technology has a privileged authority with which he persuades the subject to accept his place in the internal dialogue of science; and a result, man is convinced by science to rejoice in his own annihilation. [10]


For many years, Marcel hosted a weekly philosophy discussion group in which he met and influenced important French philosophers like Jean Wahl , Paul Ricoeur , Emmanuel Levinas , and Jean-Paul Sartre . Marcel was puzzled and disappointed that he wrote in the hope of appealing to a wider audience.

Main works

His major books are the Metaphysical Journal (1927), Being and Having (1933), Homo Viator (1945), Mystery of Being (1951), and Man Against Mass Society (1955). He gave the William James Lectures at Harvard in 1961-62, which were subsequently published as the Existential Background of Human Dignity .

Works in English translation

  • 1948. The Philosophy of Existence. Manya Harari , trans. London: The Harvill Press. Later editions were titled The Philosophy of Existentialism .
  • 1949. Being and Having. Katherine Farrer, trans. Westminster, London: Dacre Press.
  • 1950. The Metaphysical Journal. Bernard Wall, trans. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company.
  • 1951. The Mystery of Being, Vol. 1, Reflection and Mystery. GS Fraser , trans. London: The Harvill Press.
  • 1951. The Mystery of Being, Vol. 2, Faith and Reality. René Hague, trans. London: The Harvill Press.
  • 1956. Royce’s Metaphysics. Virginia and Gordon Ringer, trans. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company.
  • 1962. Man Against Mass Society. GS Fraser, trans. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company.
  • 1962. Homo Viator: Introduction to a Metaphysic of Hope. Emma Craufurd, trans. Harper & Brothers.
  • 1963. The Existential Background of Human Dignity. Harvard University Press.
  • 1964. Creative Fidelity. Translated, with an introduction, by Robert Rosthal. Farrar, Strauss and Company.
  • 1967. Presence and Immortality. Michael A. Machado, trans. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.
  • 1967. Problematic Man. Brian Thompson, trans. New York: Herder and Herder.
  • 1973. Tragic Wisdom and Beyond. Stephen Jolin and Peter McCormick, trans. Publication of the Northwestern University Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, ed. John Wild . Northwestern University Press.
  • 1998. Gabriel Marcel’s Perspectives on The Broken World: The Broken World, a Four-Act Play, Followed by Concrete Approaches to Investigating the Ontological Mystery. Katharine Rose Hanley, trans. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press.
  • 2002. Awakenings Peter Rogers, trans. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press.
  • 2004. Ghostly Mysteries: Existential Drama: A Mystery of Love & The Posthumous Joke. Katharine Rose Hanley, trans. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press.
  • 2008. A Path to Peace: Fresh Hope for the World. Dramatic Explorations: Five Plays by Gabriel Marcel: The Heart of Others / Dot the I / The Double Expertise / The Lantern / Colombyre or The Torch of Peace. Katharine Rose Hanley, trans. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press.
  • 2009. Thou Shall Not Die. Compiled by Anne Marcel. Katharine Rose Hanley, trans. South Bank: St. Augustine’s Press.

See also

  • Existentialism
  • Living educational theory
  • personalism


  1. Jump up^ Paul T. Brockelman,Existential Phenomenology and the World of Ordinary Experience: An Introductio, University Press of America, 1980, p. 3.
  2. Jump up^ Jon Bartley Stewart,Kierkegaard and Existentialism, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2011, p. 204.
  3. Jump up^ Spiegelberg, Herbert and Schuhmann, Karl (1982). The Phenomenological Movement. Springer. pp. 438-439, 448-449.
  4. Jump up^ A. Wadge,The Influence of Royce on the Philosophy of Gabriel Marcel, Master’s Thesis, Durham University, 1972.
  5. ^ Jump up to:c Marcel, Gabriel (1947). The Philosophy of Existentialism . Manya Harari . Paris: Citadel Press. ISBN  0-8065-0901-5 .
  6. Jump up^ The title of his 1910 thesis wasColeridge and Schelling( Coleridge andSchelling ). It was published in 1971 (see Jeanne Parain-Vial,Gabriel Marcel: A Watchman and an Awakener, The Age of Man, 1989, 12).
  7. Jump up^ Gabriel (-Honoré) Marcel, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ‘
  8. Jump up^ The Existential Background of Human Dignity, pp. 31-32.
  9. Jump up^ Homo Viator, p. 23.
  10. Jump up^ Ballard, Edward G. (1967). “Gabriel Marcel: The Mystery of Being”. In Schrader, George Alfred, Jr. Existential Philosophers: Kierkegaard to Merleau-Ponty . Toronto: McGraw-Hill. p. 227

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