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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 that there ...
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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 (...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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,...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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. ...
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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"?
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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"). ...
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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 ...
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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....
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Movies on philosophy similar to “Waking Life”? [closed]

The movie "Waking Life" is a philosophical masterpiece: a quasi non-narrative psychedelic dreamscape exploring the very nature of both existence and non-existence in unpredecented depth. In a ...
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'Meaning of life' as per Viktor Frankl's Man's search for Meaning

I recently read 'Man's search for Meaning' by Viktor Frankl. It was a very moving book and in it the author describes three ways in which a man may find meaning in his life. 1.Through some creative ...
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Are old philosophical texts worth reading for ordinary individuals?

There is no doubt that the past philosophical texts have provided very useful ideas and have contributed significantly to society. However, because these books have been around for some time a lot of ...
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What is the difference between existentialism, nihilism and absurdism?

I do not have any formal training in these subjects or any of philosophy, for that matter. So, forgive me for my naive question. As I understand it, all of these take the view that "existence ...
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Refuting nihilism - why pursue happiness if it can be stripped from us by accidental events at any time?

I was encouraged to start a new question thread pertaining to a question that sprung out from this one. According to one of the users's answers: The delusion of the joys of life that had ...
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The reality of self [closed]

A person is perceived and judged by their actions. Frequently the intention or motive of a person's actions can be misunderstood or misinterpreted for a variety of factors. A few possible factors ...
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How does Stoicism relate to Existentialism?

I was wondering about the relation or influence that Stoicism had on Existentialism and Existentialist thinkers, such as Camus, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and Sartre. In any of their works do they ...
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What are the Main Objections to Being and Nothingness?

I am currently in the process of reading Being and Nothingness. In the interest of getting through it, I have not been fully challenging Sartre's theory as I go along. Can someone point to the main ...
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Transcendental ego

I am reading Sartre's Transcendence of the ego and was wondering if someone could explain to me what is concretely different between Husserl's Transcendent ego and Sartre's. When I raised this ...
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If life is absurd, is immortality desirable?

If life lacks any meaning and we react in the way Camus wants us to then we can focus on other things and personal human projects. Does this mean that immortality becomes desirable?
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How is it possible to be thankful for what you have?

Question: How can one be thankful for what he has? Details: Many religions, philosophies and self-development lectures advocate people to become grateful for what they already have so that they can ...
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1answer
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Arendt on Factual Truth in “Truth and Politics”

I'm reading Hannah Arendt's "Truth and Politics" (1967). I thought I was getting it, but then I read two statements that to me, seem to be in conflict with one another: "Factual truth, on the ...
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In what ways are Kierkegaard and Hegel similar?

It is well known that Kierkegaard's philosophy is, in large part, a response to or critique of Hegel's philosophy. How, then, are they similar? Is there any way to reconcile their differences, or to ...
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Does existentialism rule out the existence of a rational world?

I have no grounding in philosophy, but I have just this minute been reading a few articles about existentialism. I was confused by its apparent rejection of rationalism. I understand that this ...
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Sartrian Freedom Compatible with Determinism?

In Being and Nothingness, Sartre talks about how humans are "condemned to be free". But I was wondering if, because Sartre's philosophy is phenomenological ontology, what this really amounts to is ...