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Hladky, F. (1961). Existential Psychology. Rollo May, editor. Random House, New York. 126 pages. $0.95.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 21(2):282-285.

(1961). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 21(2):282-285

Existential Psychology. Rollo May, editor. Random House, New York. 126 pages. $0.95.

Review by:
Frank Hladky, M.D.

This is a group of papers which was presented in the symposium on Existential Psychology at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, in Cincinnati, in September, 1959.

The first chapter, written by Dr. May, is a concise and lucid statement of the main tenets of existentialism. He makes the interesting statement that the existential approach is very close to the thought of William James; that there is a deep underlying affinity between this approach and our American character and thought in psychology, as well as in other areas. The emphasis on experience and the union of thought and action which were passionate in James and Kierkegaard “have a familiar echo to those of us raised in the American pragmatic tradition.” He goes further in drawing parallels between James and existential psychology in the importance of decision and commitment: “you cannot know truth by sitting in a detached armchair,” “willing and decision are the prerequisites to the discovery of truth.”

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