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Questions tagged [existentialism]

A loose title covering : the individual, the experience of choice, and the absence of rational understanding of the universe with a consequent dread or sense of absurdity in human life.

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42 votes
15 answers
29k views

How come nihilism is so popular today?

I've been trying to attack this question (or more precisely, come up with an answer to that fact) for some time now, but after a while of research I'm suddenly not so sure of the reason the situation ...
Yechiam Weiss's user avatar
42 votes
14 answers
11k views

Is faith necessary for man to survive / why is existentialism valued if it is unsubstantiated?

I'd like to point out that I have basically no knowledgeable background in philosophy, but this question has been troubling me as of late, and I need an informed take on this. I was watching a video ...
sangstar's user avatar
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23 votes
8 answers
4k views

Is atheism a requirement for a consistent existentialist philosophy?

Søren Kierkegaard is generally considered to be the "father of existentialism". This always bothered me, since to me Sartre and Camus are the defining figures of the movement, and it seems ...
Alan Turing's user avatar
15 votes
6 answers
3k views

Do humans need some agency over the world around them for their lives to have some sense or purpose?

This is a follow up to this question I was told to revise: If all work is automated, what will humans be able to do? After consideration I think that the only way to salvage that question is to break ...
gaazkam's user avatar
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15 votes
12 answers
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Rationality of Suicide?

I came across a story about a kid who committed suicide after carefully calculating the benefits of life and deciding it was not worth living. I am wondering if any philosopher has considered the ...
Sushi's user avatar
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15 votes
6 answers
729 views

Do Kierkegaard's non-pseudonymous writings enable one to understand Kierkegaard's philosophy much?

As I read them, Kierkegaard's writings can be split into two groups: the mostly philosophical psuedonymous, and more theological non-pseudonymous works. I have read primarily the pseudonymous works (...
Tom Morris's user avatar
14 votes
10 answers
3k views

What are some philosophical arguments for accepting absurdity?

In absurdist philosophy, the Absurd arises out of the fundamental disharmony between the individual's search for meaning and the meaninglessness of the universe. As beings looking for meaning in a ...
John's user avatar
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12 votes
5 answers
3k views

What is an existentialist?

When watching this speech by the Atari founder, he says (at 09:19): If you're a true existentialist [...] you want to have an interesting life. Thus, if someone says he or she is an existentialist,...
Michael's user avatar
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11 votes
7 answers
3k views

How can a non-religious person justify or rationalize hope or optimism in an absurd world?

I don't mean to make this post too personal, but I've been in the midst of the first kind of existential funk in my life. A bunch of negative things have happened around me recently, and as a pretty ...
sangstar's user avatar
  • 977
11 votes
4 answers
380 views

Why do some philosophers write literature?

Why do some philosophers write literature? Bataille's main medium of propounding his philosophy was through his literature (though he wrote many notable essays expounding upon his views). One of his ...
martin's user avatar
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11 votes
5 answers
3k views

Why does Camus consider an absurd life better than suicide?

Source: pp 200-201, A Little History of Philosophy (2011 ed; not 2012 Reprint ed.) by Nigel Warburton PhD in Philosophy. A novice, I am still easing into philosophy with introductions and do not feel ...
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11 votes
5 answers
6k views

What is the main message Kierkegaard is trying to deliver in his suicidal quote?

In his journal Kierkegaard wrote: I have just now come from a party where I was its life and soul; witticisms streamed from my lips, everyone laughed and admired me, but I went away — yes, the dash ...
HaneenSu's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
478 views

Why does Sartre say one cannot be anything unless others recognize one as such?

I was reading "Existentialism is a humanism" here. Though most of it is clear, I have trouble understanding how he makes the below claim which comes near the end of the lecture. How do you go from "I ...
nakiya's user avatar
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8 votes
10 answers
4k views

What's the reason to live in this life?

I'm scared of life too much. What will happen after this life ends? Even in this life, what is happening? Are we just some animals who have higher consciousness and are interacting with each other? ...
Srijan's user avatar
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8 votes
10 answers
871 views

What do atheists believe in? (in layman terms)

Issue I travel quite a bit and am often asked about my religious beliefs. I am atheist. I found it hard for some religious (or spiritual) people (whatever religion) to accept the concept of atheism ...
Remi.b's user avatar
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8 votes
10 answers
4k views

What is the point of Human Existence?

I have no experience in formal philosophy, so I apologise for the crudeness and generalism of everything I say here. The Issue-: Every time I try to motivate myself by logically connecting the ...
NithilanRavikumar's user avatar
8 votes
10 answers
2k views

Can existence be justified as ‘better’ than non-existence?

I’m relatively new to philosophy. Been doing some soul-searching, and asked myself ‘is good empirically better than evil’. Found a thread on here, where people pointed out that science cannot really ...
Reefkeeper27's user avatar
8 votes
6 answers
1k views

What are some philosophical works that explore constructing meaning in life from an agnostic or atheist view?

I've been deeply suicidal for years, but it's gotten worse recently. I grew up Mormon, and last year I realized I couldn't believe in it anymore. I just couldn't; it would take too long to explain. I ...
Emily Savage's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
6k views

Does Sartre imitate Kant in moral philosophy?

This is not originally my question but someone deleted their question while I was typing an answer to it. Consequently, I'm reposting the question and then my answer -- n.b., I've changed the title ...
virmaior's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
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What does Albert Camus mean by two methods of thought, "of La Palisse and Don Quixote"?

In The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus says that there are two methods of thought to conclude that the meaning of life is the most urgent of questions: those of La Palisse and Don Quixote: Whether the earth ...
virtuous's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
803 views

For Kierkegaard, how does being "animal" and "rational" compel us to invent meaning?

I'm working through "Alienation and Freedom" by Richard Schmitt right now. In explaining alienation and it's precondition, he posits: "The need for infusing one's life with meaning arises, as ...
Cameron Hurd's user avatar
7 votes
16 answers
4k views

Why should I seek to determine the ultimate nature of reality (i.e. whether God exists or not)?

Here is my argument: Until recently, I considered the pursuit (and eventual determination) of the ultimate nature of reality to be one of the most (if not the most) important goals for me. This is ...
tryingtobeastoic's user avatar
7 votes
8 answers
4k views

Theory that we do everything for our own benefit

Are there any popular theories or principles that answer this question: Do all actions proceed from a need to satisfy one's own personal discontent? In the future I want to study theoretical physics. ...
TheAutomaton's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
3k views

what are the differences of existentialism to epicurianism?

Although not an expert, I do see many similarities on both these currents' focus on man himself, aboloshing all idols and taking control of his fate. Are there any real differences between these two ...
p.a.'s user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
32k views

What does Sartre mean when he says people are "condemned to be free"?

What did Jean-Paul Sartre mean when he said that because there is no creator, humans are "Condemned to be Free"?
Kenshin's user avatar
  • 1,544
7 votes
2 answers
8k views

Who are some anti-existentialist philosophers and what were there arguments against it?

I have done quite a bit of research into this and I simply cannot find much at all about arguments against existentialism aside from determinism, religious arguments and essentialism, let alone any ...
Often Right's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
2k views

Does human progress ultimately reduce individuals to Nietzsche's last men?

Human progress – technological, scientific, social, etc. – seeks to reduce, and ultimately totally eliminate, the aspects of life we perceive as unpleasant – loss, tragedy, suffering ... However, an ...
w128's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
1k views

Has Ingmar Bergman's existentialism been studied by philosophers?

The legendary filmmaker Ingmar Bergman oftentimes is described as incorporating the language of existential philosophy into his films. Common in his work from the late '50s onward are characters who ...
Not_Here's user avatar
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6 votes
4 answers
167 views

If we keep asking "why" are we guaranteed to end up in one of the three states of the Münchhausen Trilemma?

Could you please explain your reasoning. I thought the whole point of this trilemma was that you can't know anything for certain, yet they propose with certainty that you end up in one of these states,...
Fraser Pye's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
10k views

Truth is subjectivity

What does Kierkegaard mean when he says " Truth is subjectivity " in his book - Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments. Since "Subjectivity refers to how someone's judgment is ...
shrey's user avatar
  • 383
6 votes
10 answers
505 views

Is there any evidence to suggest that our conciousness regularly replaces itself?

I heard on some article that conciousness cannot persist through time and that every second ( or an even shorter duration ) it changes to a new one, is there any evidence to suggest this? Is our ...
Rayyan khan's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
3k views

According to Existentialism, is the statement "I don't have a choice" a choice?

Determinism and Existentialism differ on a person's responsibility. In Determinism we don't have free will, but in Existentialism we can't avoid free will. Even when we try to avoid making a choice, ...
Vanessa's user avatar
  • 61
6 votes
1 answer
316 views

Has Descartes also been analyzed from a psychological point of view, including the circumstances of his time?

One way to look at "cogito ergo sum" is as an interesting intellectual thought. But Descartes clearly indicates that he actually had this thought in winter 1619 under very special circumstances: I ...
Thomas Klimpel's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the meaning of nothingness in Sartre's ⟪Being and Nothingness⟫?

A head-up: I am from an analytic background, and I have only read continental philosophy via second sources. I am confused about what 'nothingness' mean in Sartre's ⟪Being and Nothingness⟫. Some ...
Dimen's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
740 views

Does existentialism presuppose the supernatural?

When it comes to debates about the existence of an "all powerful all knowing god" believers and non-believers alike often times both agree that the existence of that god can't be scientifically or ...
Josh Miller's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
398 views

What is the sense of thinking in Being & Nothingness?

in Kant's philosophy : the noumenon is inaccessible to humans and the phenomenon exists and accessible to humans (is what we live). Sartre in Being and Nothingness criticizes the Kantian philosophy ...
Angie's user avatar
  • 61
6 votes
1 answer
544 views

What are some book suggestions for further reading about Camus and the absurd, after reading the Stranger and Myth of Sisyphus?

I read The Stranger a long time ago, but I'm sure I missed a lot. More recently I've read a bit of Kierkegaard and now I'm making my way through The Myth of Sisyphus (and am more inclined to agree ...
BurnsBA's user avatar
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6 votes
3 answers
2k views

On freedom in Sartre's existentialism

I am reading "Existenstialism is a humanism", the text of the famous conference by Sartre in which he explains his own version of existentialism. I think is full of logical inconsistencies, but maybe ...
luca a.'s user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
2k views

Isn't Camus' philosophy just a violation of Occam's Razor?

The way I see it, Albert Camus' philosophy can be summarised in a dialog as follows: Q1: What is the meaning of life? A1: Life has no meaning. It is absurd. Q2: Then, why live? A2: To rebel against ...
Lie's user avatar
  • 59
5 votes
5 answers
643 views

Questions about nothingness, existentialism, death

I have been feeling really oppressed recently and have been thinking constantly about my own death and what misery the death of a loved one would bring to me as I am stranger to that feeling. I don’t ...
Kiwimoisi's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is existentialism the "practical" nihilism?

Nihilism states that no matter what you do, it's meaningless. But how do you decide then, what to do? A few years back I read "The Myth of Sisyphus" by Camus, in which he tackles the question, if ...
user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

Sartre on essence

Yesterday my professor said something that seemed rather strange. Roughly, it was According to Sartre, humans are the only beings that don't have an essence. Now I haven't read Sartre, and I'm not ...
Canyon's user avatar
  • 1,956
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

What are some good books about existential philosophy?

I recently have gained a lot of interest in philosophy and have especially taken to Nietzsche's work and ideas. I am reading philosophy to understand on a more personal level to lead a more fulfilled ...
Bunny's user avatar
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5 votes
4 answers
6k views

How to deal with the absurd life?

Philosophy was quite enjoyable in the my own self study, that was until I got onto Camus and the myth of Sisyphus, I have to stay it has really depressed me lately. My main question is how does one ...
hubble's user avatar
  • 159
5 votes
1 answer
264 views

Are there secular philosophers who argue for predetermined and given meaning/value in life and essentialism?

In continental philosophy particularly existentialism, thinkers reject the idea that there are any predetermined or given meanings/values in life, and stresses that we must take up our freedom and ...
user65383's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
460 views

How do the moral components of Randian Objectivism differ from Existentialism?

On Existentialism: [Kierkegaard] proposed that each individual—not society or religion—is solely responsible for giving meaning to life and living it passionately and sincerely ("authentically&...
Psylent's user avatar
  • 171
5 votes
1 answer
206 views

What does Heidegger mean "the closedness of earth"?

What does Heidegger mean "the closedness of earth" in 'the origin of the work of art' aka 'Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes'?
Ediacarer's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

Isn't Nietzsche's Übermensch idea self-contradictory?

Doesn't Nietzsche's Übermensch contradicts itself in that understanding everything would enable propagation of that understanding? Wouldn't Nietzsche's Übermensch eventually fully understand how the ...
Jim's user avatar
  • 59
5 votes
2 answers
3k views

What did Camus mean when he wrote "All thoughts are anthropomorphic"?

I am currently reading the Myth of Sisyphus and I came across the following: All thoughts are anthropomorphic My Interpretation Prior to reading this, I had no idea what "anthropomorphic" meant....
Jeel Shah's user avatar
  • 194
4 votes
3 answers
10k views

Existentialism and the absensce of free will

One of the most famous doctrines of existentialism formulated by Jean Paul Sartre is that we are absolutely free. Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible ...
Ben's user avatar
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