A philosophy is a closed system which aspires to explain all elements of life and the universe, or at least to provide some kind of ideology which helps the follower to understand what is happening in the present and predict what is likely to happen in the future. In this sense, then, a philosophy such as Buddhism, Marxism or existentialism, provides a more or less comprehensive and coherent framework with which to make sense of the world.
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Whereas Marxism locates the individual within an overarching class struggle that defines her consciousness, existentialism locates individuals as specific people who experience being-in-the-universe. This tension (one might be tempted to say ‘contradiction’) informed much of Sartre’s thought and is occasionally touched upon in the essays and interviews collected together in this book. At one stage, the Marxist element takes centre stage and, at others, the existentialist replaces it.
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