While a prisoner of the czarist state, Leon Trotsky underlined the phrase “Ideas do not fall from the sky” in a collection of essays by the Italian philosopher Antonio Labriola. According to Trotsky's own testimony, those essays sparked his understanding of philosophy as practical thinking. A similar reaction might be experienced by reading Carlos Sánchez's Contingency and Commitment, a book capable of disrupting our most firmly held beliefs and encouraging us to think differently.

Focusing on the so-called Grupo Hiperión—a group of young scholars who introduced Jean-Paul Sartre's work in Mexico during the late 1940s while advancing an original interpretation of existentialism—Sánchez's book is, first of all, a reading exercise with both pedagogical and transformative intent. These two objectives are achieved by fostering a more comprehensive outlook on philosophy and by bringing to light “certain key figures otherwise relegated to philosophical...

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