42

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 ...


37

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

Perhaps a better question to ask is the inverse: whether traditional religion is compatible with existential philosophy; Kierkegaard's existential beliefs certainly affected his view of the role of religion, to the point that his theology was extremely controversial among his contemporaries. Existentialism doesn't necessarily require the outright rejection ...


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 ...


14

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, ...


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 ...


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

Existentialism and epicureanism have at least one thing in common: they are both dealing with lived philosophy rather than mere speculation. Epicureanism asks how we can live with the most joy and the least suffering--very Buddhist in some ways. Living in harmony with the inherent structure of the universe is what brings about the serenity and peace that ...


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 ...


9

Jostein Gaarder gave the explanation which I have found most satisfying in his book, Sophie’s World. I have pieced together several excerpts below. Existentialism is a collective term for several philosophical currents that take man’s existential situation as their point of departure. Sartre said that “existentialism is humanism”. Existentialists start ...


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

This question reminds me that what is so unfortunate about our society is its pessimistic attitude to philosophy and knowledge. We ought to cheer up a bit. "How can a non-religious person justify or rationalize hope or optimism in an absurd world?" Who says it's an absurd world? You'd have some difficulty proving the case.It is a conjecture. Why be ...


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 ...


7

God is negotiable under existential tenets, as is any other exigency. Just as neither the weather in Brazil nor the affairs of Peter Pan bear much impact on a day to day accounting of life for me, neither does god; it is not to say the same for others' accounting.


7

An existentialist philosophy is nothing more than a philosophy who's subject is human life and the human experience. The substance and particulars of existentialism cover a wide spectrum of beliefs and ideas.


7

Nihilism states that no matter what you do, it's meaningless. Actually, it's a great deal more complex than that. There are a large number of conceptions of nihilism (a few of which are listed here), and they all share one important attribute-- it is almost always a term attributed to someone else, to argue against. You'll be hard pressed to find someone ...


6

I am wondering if any philosopher has considered the rationality of suicide and wrote in great detail about it. Suicide is a theme, explicitly, for some philosophers. For others, it is implied by their other statements. For example: if one is a Christian or Buddhist philosopher, then suicide is explicitly rejected in advance according to be doctrine, and ...


6

Has anyone "merged" existentialist thought with the idea of absence of free will? Yes, Sartre. Sartre was a Marxist and he took up positions close to those of the Communist Party, though Marxist determinism was not easy to reconcile with the absolute libertarianism that was the keynote of existentialism. In an effort to resolve this tension he wrote a ...


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 ...


5

I'd strongly recommend this video course on "The Meaning of Life" by Jay Garfield. It is an excellent overview of the subject, and follows the topic through the full scope of Western and Eastern philosophy. (I studied with Jay a few decades ago, and he's a wonderful teacher, as well as an impressive scholar.)


5

Human being is freedom. The external world is filled with in-itself being. Consciousness is the only anomaly, and consciousness only manifests itself through human being, insofar as we are aware of it. So, the starting point for an account of human being is in the account of the being of consciousness. We know that the being of consciousness is the ...


5

Logic alone can neither prove that god exists, nor that you should commit suicide. Perhaps he realized that logic can't prove that he shouldn't commit suicide, and drew the wrong conclusion. But seriously, this is more a psychological question than a philosophical one. For one thing, his age (15) indicates that he reached puberty. But it might generally be a ...


5

But Descartes clearly indicates that he actually had this thought in winter 1619 under very special circumstances Actually, the circumstances are even more special than you indicate; Descartes had a series of three dreams on the night of November 10, 1619, which he viewed as a divine sign, and which directly inspired the project that consumed the rest of ...


5

I think the most concise (and yet still useful) explanation you are likely to find is Sartre's brief essay Existentialism is a Humanism. If you read that and still have questions, post them.


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.


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