Existentialism

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Existentialism, which spread rapidly over continental Europe after the First World War, is essentially the analysis of the condition of man, of the particular state of being free, and of man's having constantly to use his freedom in order top answer the ever- changing and unexpected challenges of the day. According to the Existentialists, the starting point of every philosophical investigation is concrete human existence. That means that human personality in itself should point the way to the absolute value of reality. A single definition of existentialism is impossible. Definitions, provided by dictionaries are only part of what existentialism is about. …central to each definition is the assertion that existentialism is a theory or statement about the nature of man's existence. (1) The term is so difficult to define because, unlike other terms, existentialism is not universal. In other words, there are no two existentialists, which share exactly the same values or beliefs. Although, here is one major theme: a stress on individual existence, subjectivity, individual freedom, and choice. There are two kinds of existentialist; first those who are Christian, and on the other hand the atheistic existentialists. Many unfamiliar with the subject people associate existentialism with atheism, but they are wrong. The truth is that the majority of existentialists are not atheists. Sartre, which we place among atheists, stress that central concern of philosophy is human existence. He says that human being is a special kind of consciousness (being-for- itself). Everything else is matter (being-in-itself). He believes that human being has no God-given essence and is absolutely free and absolutely responsible. According to him, anguish is the result of the absolute freedom and responsibility. He also says that human existence is absurd and unjustified. Therefore, the goal of human being is to justify his/her existence.(2) Sartre believes that there are those in our history who have established a religion to reassure nothing more than what he calls a "fundamental project." That means that when we become anguished by the affairs of life we pursue a fundamental project in attempt to flee this anguish. He says that we try to make ourselves Gods in hopes that others would see us divine, and hold us in higher regard. To pursue a fundame... ... middle of paper ... ...ice and this choice was his and his alone. This shows us again that we always have choices, no matter what we might use as an excuse. 1) Barnes, Wesley. "Is Existentialism Definable?" The Philosophy and Literature of Existentialism. Woodbury: Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1968 2) Douglas W. Shrader, Ashok K. Malhotra. "Pathways To Philosophy". Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 1996. p. 83-86, 87-93, 97-100 3) Sartre'sThoughtsOnPersonality,http://library.thinkquest.org/18775/sartre/pers.htm 4) As above 5) Roberts, David E. "Introduction" Existentialism and Religious belief" New York: Oxford University Press, 1959. 6) Robert C. Solomon. "The Big Qestions" Harcourt Brace College Publishers, New York, 1998, p.241-273. 7) Soren Kierkergaard,ysiwyg://16/http://www.fortunecity.com/263/exist/kierk.html 8) Existentialism And Soren Kierkergaard, http:www.tameri.com/csw/exist/kierk.html.

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