Existentialism: Kierkegaard and Nietzsche Essay

Existentialism: Kierkegaard and Nietzsche Essay

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The Merriam – Webster Dictionary defines existentialism as a chiefly 20th century philosophical movement embracing diverse doctrines but centering on analysis of individual existence in an unfathomable universe and the plight of the individual who must assume ultimate responsibility for acts of free will without any certain knowledge of what is right or wrong or good or bad (Merriam, 2011). In other words, an existentialist believes that our natures are the natures we make for ourselves, the meaning of our existence is that we just exist and there may or may not be a meaning for the existence, and we have to individually decide what is right or wrong and good or bad for ourselves. No one can answer any of those things for us. A good example of existentialism is Woody Allen’s movie, Deconstructing Harry. A man is haunted by his past and his past has followed him into the present. He is a wreck not because of the things that happened to him, but because of the choices he made. He is consumed by regret and insecurity and he tries to find blame in his situation with someone other than himself, however he cannot (Barnes, 2011). Throughout the rest of this paper I will be discussing two of the most prominent existentialists, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche.
Soren Kierkegaard’s ideas of existentialism were firmly rooting in his Christianity. This would make sense in light of his college major and at one time feeling a call to serve within the church. Kierkegaard surmised, “God is infinite and personal… transcendent and imminent, omniscient, sovereign, and good” (Teachme, 1997). Even though his beliefs were rooted in Christianity he believed that man also had the inalienable right to be himself (Teachme, 1997). That is, he has the right to be ...


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...tialism. (2011). In University of South Dakota. Retrieved December 6, 2011, from http://people.usd.edu/~clehmann/HWB/hwb_h/exist.htm
Malachi. (2003). Existential Wars: Kierkegaard versus Nietzsche. In Soren Kierkegaard. Retrieved December 5, 2011, from http://www.sorenkierkegaard.nl/artikelen/Engels/001.%20Existential%20Wars%20Kierkegaard%20vs%20Nietzsche.pdf
Soren Kierkegaard. (1997). In Teach-Me. Retrieved December 6, 2011, from http://www.angelfire.com/la/TEACH2/SKierkegaard.html
Where the Absurd leads to God: Introducing Kierkegaard. (2009). In 90 Seconds to Culture. Retrieved December 4, 2011, from http://www.90secondstoculture.com/2009/04/where-the-absurd-leads-to-god-introducing-kierkegaard-culturecast-053/
Wyatt, C. (2010). Friedrich Nietzsche. In Tameri Guide for Writers. Retrieved December 6, 2010, from http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist/nietzsche.shtml

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