After reading this question about existentialism What is the difference between existentialism, nihilism and absurdism? I began to doubt that all philosophers whom I have associated with existentialism are worthy of being satirized in a Woody Allen film.
But then I wondered whether these philosophers have been mislabeled as existentialists. Are they really existentialists? Or nihilists? Or absurdists?
One of the philosophers whom I remember reading (and probably not understanding) as an undergraduate was Gabriel Marcel. Jill Graper Hernandez introduces her article about him with the following words:
The philosophical approach known as existentialism is commonly recognized for its view that life’s experiences and interactions are meaningless. Many existentialist thinkers are led to conclude that life is only something to be tolerated, and that close or intimate relationships with others should be avoided. Heard distinctly among this despair and dread was the original philosophical voice of Gabriel Marcel. Marcel, a World War I non-combatant veteran, pursued the life of an intellectual, and enjoyed success as a playwright, literary critic, and concert pianist. He was trained in philosophy by Henri Bergson, among others. A prolific life-long writer, his early works reflected his interest in idealism. As Marcel developed philosophically, however, his work was marked by an emphasis on the concrete, on lived experience.
Focusing on "lived experience" and "idealism" have positive connotations for me. Focusing on "despair and dread" do not.
I have a copy of The Mystery of Being. Given this text can one argue using references to it that Marcel is or is not an existentialist? I seriously doubt he would fit under the category of "nihilist" or "absurdist", but I may be wrong. Is calling Marcel an existentialist a mislabeling or does Marcel represent something of value in existentialism that I should perhaps pay attention to?
That is, in what sense is Gabriel Marcel an existentialist?
Jill Graper Hernandez, "Gabriel Marcel (1889—1973)", Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy https://www.iep.utm.edu/marcel/
Marcel, G. (1950). The mystery of being.