Martin Buber (Hebrew: מרטין בובר; German: Martin Buber; Yiddish: מארטין בובער; February 8, 1878 – June 13, 1965) was an Austrian Jewish and Israeli philosopher best known for his philosophy of dialogue, a form of existentialism centered on the distinction between the I–Thou relationship and the I–It relationship. Born in Vienna, Buber came from a family of observant Jews, but broke with Jewish custom to pursue secular studies in philosophy. In 1902, he became the editor of the weekly Die Welt, the central organ of the Zionist movement, although he later withdrew from organizational work in Zionism. In 1923, Buber wrote his famous essay on existence, Ich und Du (later translated into English as I and Thou), and in 1925, he began translating the Hebrew Bible into the German language.
He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature ten times, and Nobel Peace Prize seven times.
I and Thou
Originally published in 1923, I and Thou remains a classic in existentialist thought. The late Austrian philosopher Martin Buber argues that people can speak and exist in one of two realms, which he captures in two basic word pairings: I-It and I-You (or I-Thou). In the realm of I-It, we turn everything around us into an object, including each other. In the realm of I-You, a person stands in relation to another. I-It is the realm of experience; I-You is the realm of encounter. Buber warns that modern society is increasingly in the clutches of I-It, and the human spirit will wither without a return to I-You.
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