In order to simplify things even further, one should study a point-by-point list of existentialist principles.
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 and 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.
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.Jean-Paul Sartre was born in Paris on June 21, , the only child of Anne-Marie and Jean-Baptiste Sartre.
Both of his parents came from prominent families. Sartre’s paternal grandfather was a celebrated physician, and his maternal grandfather, Karl “Charles” Schweitzer, was a respected. Essay about Existentialism, By Jean Paul Sartre - Existentialism is one of the most argued subject of Philosophy.
Existentialism is the belief that having awareness, free will, and personal responsibility of the world that individual may obtain a view unique to the average person. Existentialism came of age in the midth Century, largely through the scholarly and fictional works of the French existentialists, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus ( - ) and Simone de Beauvoir ( - ).
Maurice Merleau-Ponty ( - ) is another influential and often overlooked French Existentialist of the period. Existentialism came of age in the midth Century, largely through the scholarly and fictional works of the French existentialists, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus ( - ) and Simone de Beauvoir ( - ).
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. Jean Paul Sartre: Existentialism.
The philosophical career of Jean Paul Sartre () this article looks at the main themes characterizing Sartre’s early philosophical works. existentialism permeates later writings, albeit in a hybrid form.
We shall briefly indicate how these later writings extend and transform his project of.