Essay on Existentialism Is A Defining Point Of Existentialism

Essay on Existentialism Is A Defining Point Of Existentialism

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Existentialism is just one of the many philosophies that attempt to determine the meaning of life. This idea that the world is meaningless developed in Europe around the time of World War II. Many writers and authors in the forties and fifties were affected by the horrors of war and this new philosophy, namely, Albert Camus. Existentialism is greatly reflected in Camus’ time period, culture, and works such as The Stranger.
To truly understand how existentialism is reflected in Camus’ time and works, it must first be defined. This philosophy aims to capture what makes someone themselves through the major ideas of existence preceding essence, authenticity, and nothingness. First, the expression “existence precedes essence” is a defining point of existentialism. It means that instead of a God with a master plan or universal “account of what it means to be human,” life is meaningless and there is no standard for existence outside of what each person creates for themselves (Crowell). Since “one 's identity is constituted neither by nature nor by culture” in this “meaningless universe” every moment of existence and action in their life defines who an individual is (Crowell). Accordingly, the next facet of existentialism is authenticity. This philosophy asks if the individual “[succeeds] in making [themselves]” or if “who [they are] merely be a function of the roles [they] find [themselves] in” (Crowell). In existentialism, being authentic is about following through with actions or duties, not purely out of hollow obligation, but because it is something one chooses as their own. The authentic person does not just occupy a role, they commit themselves “and thus ‘become’ what it entails” (Crowell). Lastly, an existentialist experiences an...

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...l have lived it another” and it would have been worth just as much (Camus 121). In the conclusion of the novel, he commits himself and takes responsibility for his decisions. He is nothing if he does not support his actions and wish that “there be a large crowd of spectators the day of [his] execution and that they greet [him] with cries of hate” (Camus 123). In the end, existentialism is prominently reflected in Camus’ The Stranger.
Camus was around philosophy from a very young age and shaped by all the people and events that created existentialism, from World War II to Jean-Paul Sartre. This impact is illustrated in his thought-provoking novel, The Stranger, and it’s distinctly existential character, Meursault. Thus, not only was existentialism an important and influential part of Camus’ life, but it is clear that it has greatly influenced his work and characters.

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