45

While I'm not entirely convinced of the premises of the question, in general people seek out philosophies that address conditions of life as they experience it. In the marketplace of ideas, a philosophy may thrive not as much because of its connection with deeper truth, but because of its connection with present conundrums. In light of that, I'd submit ...


39

I can think of 2 reasons: Naturalism is the philosophy most promoted in public schools. With some exceptions, people tend to stick with what they're taught in school. Believing in a supernatural being that loves us used to be a widely accepted and even promoted way to view the universe, even in schools. That is no longer the case. The new standard is to ...


28

The short answer is No. A slightly longer one is this; I know many atheists who lead highly moral lives, not because they believe they'll go to hell if they don't, but because they want to. On the other hand, how many Jihadists have strapped suicide vests on themselves in the firm faith that they will be rewarded in heaven? If I may be blunt, this argument ...


17

Jacob Ross, Rejecting Ethical Deflationism,' Ethics 116, 2006: 742–68 defines nihilism as : ▻ NIHILISM - DEFINITION '...the view that the notions of good and bad and of right and wrong are illusions and that, objectively speaking, no option or state of affairs is better than any other, nor are any two options or states of affairs equally good. Thus, while ...


13

One accepts the absurd because it is banal, like the weather: arbitrary but every-day. Take your title question. Why should you drink a cup of coffee, rather than killing yourself? Because, perhaps, you enjoy drinking coffee. But why should that matter? Well, it's a priority — and interestingly, because coffee is an acquired taste, it is a priority ...


13

I would say the answer is yes, but with the addendum that the faith need not be in god or a higher power. As we go through life we have faith that certain things will happen. The sun will rise, the rain will stop, etc. These seem so simple because we take them for granted. We do not know that the sun will rise tomorrow. It is totally possible (though ...


13

I will focus on answering these questions in your addendum Is no view of the world any more legitimate than the other? Are Tolstoy’s beliefs any more valid than my own, even if I have less of a background in this philosophy? Or are they merely an interpretation of the world based on their own circumstances, as humans require explanations to things. If so, ...


11

My first comment provides the starting point for my answer. This is something that's far easier to discuss in person than it is over the limiting format of Stack Exchange. What gives people hope is an incredibly personal concept. One size wont fit all. However, if I were to cold-call this and provide an answer, it would be in the form of Alan Watt's ...


10

Do I need faith not to slump into nihilistic despair? Is life as tragic as it's being painted out to be by these people? Tolstoy argues yes. Below is my attempt to explain his argument, since I think that is the best way to answer this question of yours. Originally he thought the purpose of life was to experience happiness, by which he seems to mean sensual ...


9

Is it really true that life is this bleak? By way of answering your question - no, this is not true. Life is neither bleak nor non-bleak, because neither life nor anything else (except for abstract ethical concepts) has any inherent ethical value. One says in philosophy that "ethics is freestanding", meaning that there exists no valid argument whose ...


8

In some respects, you could say that Sartre is "borrowing from Kant." It will greatly depend on what you mean by borrowing. Iphigenie's comments are highlighting the differences, and those are definitely worth pointing out but a type of "rationalist" heritage is worth bringing up. What I would say is the common thread is an emphasis on "autonomy" and a ...


8

If nihilism is more popular these days, I would argue this is because the ideas which guided people through life with certainty and optimism no longer enjoy a consensus. Nietzsche discussed the prospect of a post-religious world (God is dead, Will to power, Ubermensch), and was disgusted with the idea of an entire society driven by mass culture, which he ...


8

How can a non-religious person justify or rationalize hope or optimism in an absurd world? Can you acknowledge the absurd and still be hopeful and optimistic? I feel like you either can acknowledge the absurd, or lie to yourself. As you've noticed, bad things happen for no reason. But there is flip side to this randomness and absurd: good things happen for ...


6

How to live a meaningful life in a world where the received wisdom of religion and culture is no longer taken for granted is one of the defining problems of the modern age, and the central question of the philosophy called "existentialism." In fact, however, people have been wrestling with it since antiquity. The Biblical book of Ecclesiastes is basically ...


6

The closest match is probably the Utilitarian ethical theory called "Enlightened Self Interest". The basic idea is that we act ethically once we learn it is in our own self-interest to promote the interests of others.


5

One simple example of a philosopher who would have disagreed with the "existence precedes essence bit" is Plato: Plato's theory of Forms or theory of Ideas asserts that non-material abstract (but substantial) forms (or ideas), and not the material world of change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality. He ...


5

Per my understanding, he means that we only come to know our own existence in contact with others, when others send back to us our own image (how we appear to them). It follows that "I" is an inherently social concept and that the cogito "I think" (recognizing one's own existence) is only attainable for social beings.


5

I find it amazing that you are just 14 years old; you sound a little like Marvin the Paranoid Android, and even if you only have a brain half the size of his, I am getting high on just contemplating what wonders might occur if you dive into some books of philosophy, math and physics... I mean, maybe the universe has no meaning but it is also fantastically ...


5

Yes, Sartre explicitly says as much. Consider his lecture: Existentialism is a Humanism In one sense choice is possible, but what is not possible is not to choose. I can always choose, but I must know that if I do not choose, that is still a choice... Since we have defined the situation of man as one of free choice, without excuse and without help, any man ...


5

Unfortunately, I haven't found too many existentialist works with a nuts-and-bolts focus, so my recommended reading list is really short -- two books in fact. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Here, Frankl writes about finding our own meaning, and how meaning keeps us going on through the most difficult of conditions. His book begins with his ...


5

I haven't read Richard Schmitt which makes me hesitant to answer the question as to what he means, but I can address the quote and what Kierkegaard means. First, the idea is not singular to Kierkegaard. It, in fact, traces back to Aristotle. For Aristotle, we are animals -- but we are animals who join to being animals some form of rationality. Being ...


5

The theories you are looking for, my friend, are able to be found to some extent in at least two thinkers. The first is David Hume. The second is Ludwig von Mises. David Hume held that all activity spawns from a subjective motivational set of internal attitudes, passions, and sentiments, and that since action, strictly speaking, is divorced from reason, ...


4

That's a false trichotomy. One can also (4) Recognize a non-universal source for meaning (5) Disagree that we are sure things are meaningless (6) Ignore philosophical arguments that assume that disharmony between what we want and believe is so desperately important that we should kill ourselves or leap into the arms of hypothetical superbeings to save us....


4

Sartre's claim that we are condemned to be free can be understood on a phenomenological level without reference to whether or not we would actually prove free on a final analysis. The important thing to remember here is that Sartre is actually responding both to the phenomenology of Husserl and to the Phenomenology of Spirit by Hegel. I'll begin with the ...


4

The Last man is Nietzsche's antithesis of the Übermensch in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The Last Man sought eternal life at all costs, including costs Nietzsche despised, such as sacrificing love and happiness. Excerpts from Zarathustra's Prologue suggest that Deleuze's quote may be in reference to the Preachers of Death in I 9. They appear to have the ...


4

The definition you're getting from your dictionary reflects one contemporary usage of the word subjectivity. But the word has had many meanings. The most basic meaning is "that which inheres in a subject". A long time ago (scholastic medieval period), this would mean following Aristotle, that which is true of a substance in itself -- without being ...


4

Nietzsche's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" is a fairly significant example. "The book embodies a number of innovative poetical and rhetorical methods of expression. It serves as a parallel and supplement to the various philosophical ideas present in Nietzsche's body of work. He has, however, said that "among my writings my Zarathustra stands to my mind ...


4

The original German reads: "Du solltest Gewalt über dein Für und Wider bekommen". The capitalization in German is required, so in English it is an interpretation of the translator. 'das Für und Wider abwägen' is German idiom for weighing the pros and cons. Basically the text says: you should master your pros and cons; meaning, you should not stick to just ...


4

This question largely boils down to a question of definitions -- but these are politically contentious definitions. As such, I want to divide my answer into three parts: (a) difficulties with your definition of philosophy, (b) problematic or questionable interpretative choices regarding the "existentialists", and (c) is existentialism philosophy when these ...


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