Existentialism, true to its roots in Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, was oriented toward two major themes: Thus, its chief theoretical energies were devoted to ontology and decision. Nature of existentialist thought and manner According to existentialism:
Back to Top Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice. It is the view that humans define their own meaning in life, and try to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe.
It focuses on the question of human existence, and the feeling that there is no purpose or explanation at the core of existence. It holds that, as there is no God or any other transcendent force, the only way to counter this nothingness and hence to find meaning in life is by embracing existence.
Thus, Existentialism believes that individuals are entirely free and must take personal responsibility for themselves although with this responsibility comes angst, a profound anguish or dread.
It therefore emphasizes action, freedom and decision as fundamental, and holds that the only way to rise above the essentially absurd condition of humanity which is characterized by suffering An in depth analysis of the beliefs and views of existentialism inevitable death is by exercising our personal freedom and choice a complete rejection of Determinism.
Often, Existentialism as a movement is used to describe those who refuse to belong to any school of thought, repudiating of the adequacy of any body of beliefs or systems, claiming them to be superficial, academic and remote from life.
Although it has much in common with NihilismExistentialism is more a reaction against traditional philosophies, such as RationalismEmpiricism and Positivismthat seek to discover an ultimate order and universal meaning in metaphysical principles or in the structure of the observed world.
It asserts that people actually make decisions based on what has meaning to them, rather than what is rational. In the s and s, French existentialists such as Jean-Paul SartreAlbert Camus -and Simone de Beauvoir - wrote scholarly and fictional works that popularized existential themes, such as dread, boredom, alienation, the absurd, freedom, commitment and nothingness.
Existence, then, is prior to essence essence is the meaning that may be ascribed to lifecontrary to traditional philosophical views dating back to the ancient Greeks.
As Sartre put it: Only afterward will he be something, and he himself will have made what he will be. Sartre saw rationality as a form of "bad faith", an attempt by the self to impose structure on a fundamentally irrational and random world of phenomena "the other".
This bad faith hinders us from finding meaning in freedom, and confines us within everyday experience. Kierkegaard also stressed that individuals must choose their own way without the aid of universal, objective standards.
Friedrich Nietzsche further contended that the individual must decide which situations are to count as moral situations. Thus, most Existentialists believe that personal experience and acting on one's own convictions are essential in arriving at the truth, and that the understanding of a situation by someone involved in that situation is superior to that of a detached, objective observer similar to the concept of Subjectivism.
According to Camus, when an individual's longing for order collides with the real world's lack of order, the result is absurdity. Human beings are therefore subjects in an indifferent, ambiguous and absurd universe, in which meaning is not provided by the natural order, but rather can be created however provisionally and unstable by human actions and interpretations.
Existentialism can be atheistictheological or theistic or agnostic. Some Existentialists, like Nietzscheproclaimed that "God is dead" and that the concept of God is obsolete. Others, like Kierkegaardwere intensely religious, even if they did not feel able to justify it.
The important factor for Existentialists is the freedom of choice to believe or not to believe. History of Existentialism Back to Top Existentialist-type themes appear in early Buddhist and Christian writings including those of St.
In the 17th Century, Blaise Pascal suggested that, without a God, life would be meaningless, boring and miserable, much as later Existentialists believed, although, unlike them, Pascal saw this as a reason for the existence of a God.
A student’s guide to Jean-Paul Sartre’s Existentialism and Humanism Nigel Warburton gives a brief introduction to this classic text. Existentialism and Humanism is probably the most widely read of all Sartre’s philosophical writings, and it is certainly one of his more accessible pieces; yet surprisingly little has been written about it. Existentialism (/ ˌ ɛ ɡ z ɪ ˈ s t ɛ n ʃ particularly regarding fundamental values and beliefs, His seminal work The Courage to Be follows Kierkegaard's analysis of anxiety and life's absurdity, but puts forward the thesis that modern humans must, via God, achieve selfhood in spite of life's absurdity. Existentialism - View of Man. An Existentialist views the transcendent realm to be non existent. There being no infinite, personal creator-God that transcends creation, therefore humanity was alone, only having the cosmos, and his/her own conscious. Existentialism: The Philosophy of Despair and the Quest for Hope Grand Rapids, Mich.
His near-contemporary, John Lockeadvocated individual autonomy and self-determination, but in the positive pursuit of Liberalism and Individualism rather than in response to an Existentialist experience.
It can be argued that Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Arthur Schopenhauer were also important influences on the development of Existentialism, because the philosophies of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche were written in response or in opposition to them. Kierkegaard and Nietzschelike Pascal before them, were interested in people's concealment of the meaninglessness of life and their use of diversion to escape from boredom.
However, unlike Pascalthey considered the role of making free choices on fundamental values and beliefs to be essential in the attempt to change the nature and identity of the chooser. In Kierkegaard 's case, this results in the "knight of faith", who puts complete faith in himself and in God, as described in his work "Fear and Trembling".
Martin Heidegger was an important early philosopher in the movement, particularly his influential work "Being and Time", although he himself vehemently denied being an existentialist in the Sartrean sense.
His discussion of ontology is rooted in an analysis of the mode of existence of individual human beings, and his analysis of authenticity and anxiety in modern culture make him very much an Existentialist in the usual modern usage. Existentialism came of age in the midth Century, largely through the scholarly and fictional works of the French existentialists, Jean-Paul SartreAlbert Camus - and Simone de Beauvoir - Maurice Merleau-Ponty - is another influential and often overlooked French Existentialist of the period.
Sartre is perhaps the most well-known, as well as one of the few to have actually accepted being called an "existentialist". In "The Myth of Sisyphus"Albert Camus uses the analogy of the Greek myth of Sisyphus who is condemned for eternity to roll a rock up a hill, only to have it roll to the bottom again each time to exemplify the pointlessness of existence, but shows that Sisyphus ultimately finds meaning and purpose in his task, simply by continually applying himself to it.
Simone de Beauvoir, an important existentialist who spent much of her life alongside Sartrewrote about feminist and existential ethics in her works, including "The Second Sex" and "The Ethics of Ambiguity" Although Sartre is considered by most to be the pre-eminent Existentialist, and by many to be an important and innovative philosopher in his own right, others are much less impressed by his contributions.
Heidegger himself thought that Sartre had merely taken his own work and regressed it back to the subject-object orientated philosophy of Descartes and Husserlwhich is exactly what Heidegger had been trying to free philosophy from.
Some see Maurice Merleau-Ponty - as a better Existentialist philosopher, particular for his incorporation of the body as our way of being in the world, and for his more complete analysis of perception two areas in which Heidegger 's work is often seen as deficient.
Criticisms of Existentialism Back to Top Herbert Marcuse - has criticized Existentialism, especially Sartre 's "Being and Nothingness", for projecting some features of living in a modern oppressive society features such as anxiety and meaninglessness onto the nature of existence itself.
Roger Scruton - has claimed that both Heidegger 's concept of inauthenticity and Sartre 's concept of bad faith are both self-inconsistent, in that they deny any universal moral creed, yet speak of these concepts as if everyone is bound to abide by them.Kierkegaard: Understanding the Christian Father of Existentialism Article ID: JAF | By: Michael W.
Austin email. Print. Twitter. To understand his views, it is best to look to the works published under Kierkegaard’s own name, Christian Research Institute.
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This is a straw man account of the philosophical beliefs held by Platonists and others in the western tradition prior to existentialism.
Few philosophers have held “once a thief, always a thief”, but most have nonetheless maintained with Plato that essence precedes existence.
Existentialism: Existentialism is a school of 20th-century philosophy that emphasizes the concreteness and problematic character of human existence. Existentialism.
Existentialism is a catch-all term for those philosophers who consider the nature of the human condition as a key philosophical problem and who share the view that this problem is best addressed through ontology.
Existentialism: Existentialism is a existentialism is opposed to any doctrine that views human beings as the manifestation of an absolute or of an infinite substance.
It is thus opposed to most forms of idealism, such as those that stress There is, in the fifth place, the therapeutic value of existential analysis that permits, on the.