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Thread: What is Existentialism?

  1. #1

    What is Existentialism?

    I have found this philosophy hard to grasp, because it seems to me to be something which is more based on phychology than a way of living as such. I'm 17, so i lack a great understanding of Philosophy, so bear with me please haha
    Any help?

  2. #2
    heyyy!!!!

    i advise u to read Existentialist Ethics by M Warnock. it will give u a very good idea about the main existentialists: kierkegaard, heidegger, and sartre.

  3. #3
    Existentialism is a position claiming that people have absolute authority over uncovering the meaning of their lives. I am not much of a fan, it has some good points but has difficulty getting past its assertion of the ego. That is, most of them admit they're just a bunch of atoms but feel sad when the universe doesn't give them an apparent purpose for being alive.

    Existentialism is a trendy philosophy, namely because it appeals to a lot of emotional nonsense that people have always liked to hear. I think it's kind of fruity and it hasn't really gotten me anywhere, tread lightly.

  4. #4
    Thank you very much.
    I will indeed tread lightly Mr. Ralph, while having at go at reading Existentialist Ethics if i have time after reading my current list of books.
    I suppose it is always better to see it for yourself rather than relying on other people's opinions, although i do appreciate your opinions as a starting point.

  5. #5
    Satyrane
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    You could also try Existentialism and Humanism by Sartre; it's a very brief work (based on a lecture Sartre gave), and an approachable introduction to French Existentialism. It includes the central tenets and the differences between the kind of Existentialism practised by Sartre et al, as opposed to Christian Existentialism.

  6. #6
    I remember hearing that existentialist believe only in the present, and the future and past do not exist.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Musawi View Post
    Thank you very much.
    I will indeed tread lightly Mr. Ralph, while having at go at reading Existentialist Ethics if i have time after reading my current list of books.
    I suppose it is always better to see it for yourself rather than relying on other people's opinions, although i do appreciate your opinions as a starting point.
    Yeah, it's extremely trendy in high schools and it was big back in the early to middle part of last century. It had a lot of competition with philosophy of science and epistemology for attention, and it sort of fell out. I can't in my right mind recommend anything by Sartre, though...I haven't personally read any of his stuff but overviews of his philosophy are enough to decide whether he's worth it or not. It's actually hard to consider existentialism a really well defined movement because its proponents differed quite radically...

    If you're actually interested in that sort of thing but don't want to read words that don't actually mean anything (for real, even fundamental claims use words that are nonsense under scrutiny) then I suggest The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus. I have read this one personally and thought it was pretty good. He isn't necessarily existential but is pretty close. I think it's more of an assessment of the immediate human condition rather than a great philosophical work. Still, it was worth the read.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Dr. Ralph View Post
    Yeah, it's extremely trendy in high schools and it was big back in the early to middle part of last century. It had a lot of competition with philosophy of science and epistemology for attention, and it sort of fell out. I can't in my right mind recommend anything by Sartre, though...I haven't personally read any of his stuff but overviews of his philosophy are enough to decide whether he's worth it or not. It's actually hard to consider existentialism a really well defined movement because its proponents differed quite radically...

    If you're actually interested in that sort of thing but don't want to read words that don't actually mean anything (for real, even fundamental claims use words that are nonsense under scrutiny) then I suggest The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus. I have read this one personally and thought it was pretty good. He isn't necessarily existential but is pretty close. I think it's more of an assessment of the immediate human condition rather than a great philosophical work. Still, it was worth the read.
    After reading Caligula, anything sounds good from Camus.

  9. #9
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Rather than be seduced by existentialism...you might consider something that Conrad said in the novel "Nostromo"..."We should attempt to live in the present with the ".simultaneous constant knowledge of the past and future". paraphrased a little

  10. #10
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    ANYARA-APHORISMS
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    Emile M. Cioran
    Rumanian-born French philosopher Emile M. Cioran was born on April 8, 1911
    Sun in Aries
    Nothing is worse than the coarseness and meanness we perpetrate out of timidity. - Emile M. Cioran, The Trouble With Being Born

    Moon in Leo
    Alone, even doing nothing, you do not waste your time. You do, almost always, in company. No encounter with yourself can be altogether sterile: Something necessarily emerges, even if only the hope of some day meeting yourself again. - E.M. Cioran

    Mercury in Taurus (Mercury conjunct Saturn)
    We have convictions only if we have studied nothing thoroughly. - E.M. Cioran, The Trouble With Being Born

    Venus in Taurus
    However versed we may be in satiety, we remain caricatures of our precursor Xerxes. Was it not he who promised by edict a reward to anyone who could invent a new pleasure? That was the most modern gesture of antiquity. - E.M. Cioran

    Mars in Aquarius
    All indignation--from grousing to satanism--marks a point in mental evolution. - E.M. Cioran

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    It is as an informer that I have prowled around God; incapable of imploring Him, I have spied on Him. - E.M. Cioran

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    Let us not be needlessly bitter: certain failures are sometimes fruitful. - E. M. Cioran

    Uranus in Capricorn
    Nothing slakes my thirst for doubts: if only I had Moses' staff to summon them from the very rock! - E.M. Cioran

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    No one should try to live if he has not completed his training as a victim. - E.M. Cioran

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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by JJLuke View Post
    After reading Caligula, anything sounds good from Camus.
    I don't know if I'd ever read anything written by Caligula but he was pretty interesting, I've read quite a bit about him. It's interesting to compare leaders that were actually mentally insane with ones now.

    And those above quotes are not existential.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Dr. Ralph View Post
    I don't know if I'd ever read anything written by Caligula but he was pretty interesting, I've read quite a bit about him. It's interesting to compare leaders that were actually mentally insane with ones now.

    And those above quotes are not existential.
    I meant the play Caligula written by Camus. As for works written by Caligula, that would be a very interesting read.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by JJLuke View Post
    I meant the play Caligula written by Camus. As for works written by Caligula, that would be a very interesting read.
    Oh, haha my bad. Yeah the real Caligula was a nutcase, I read half a book on him around a year ago. His reign is as tragic as it is hilarious

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Dr. Ralph View Post
    Oh, haha my bad. Yeah the real Caligula was a nutcase, I read half a book on him around a year ago. His reign is as tragic as it is hilarious
    Watch the movie about him if your looking for hilarious. Caligula is played by the same guy from Clockwork Orange.

  15. #15
    Ludmila607
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    "Existencialists are those who do what they want to do", I have heard someone respond to the answer about Existencialism.
    They mainly identify " to be is to do" we are what we do about ourselves by every chose of our lives, by every action, by our Polithical and religious elections.We will define our essence by means of Praxis.
    Kierdegaard says that this generate Anxiety and the feeling of being amongt anything.
    Heiddeger says we are DA SEIN , "what it is there", not yet defined by anyone but ourselves.
    Sartre says there is no God creator and guide.So we are alone and can expect advice from the outside."Existence preceed the essence" so we will define ourselves trhough our lives.Cant escape to this freedom and responsability.We are not an object wich idea someone took to materia , we are here and must do something about it.
    What will we do...it is our chosing.
    Sartre is easy to read and undertand.But hard to take!

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