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Claudiu Moise

on 24 March 2014

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Transcript of Existentialism

Existentialism covers a whole broad range of political and religious affiliations.

Subscribers to this line of thought range from Atheists, Christian fundamentalists, Communists and Fascists.

It is sometimes viewed as being related to theology while other times being more related to psychology.

As a result it has been a very hard term to define.

Existentialism is as much a literary phenomenon as a philosophical school of thought.
General Notes
Existence precedes essence
You are an individual, not a composition of labels, stereotypes, and definitions that can be associated to you.

Essence if what you chose to do with the life you are given. And what you do with your life is what defines what you are. By extension you are also responsible for your own actions

If I said essence and then existence, you would be hardworker, student, and organized

Existentialism believes you are Human, and that because you work hard, you organize, and you learn, THAT is what makes you a hardworker, student, and organized.
If you wished to be a bird, you could be it. You are independently acting and responsible.

Existentialists argue that new ways of thinking are needed to accommodate the existence of humans. What makes us human can't be understood solely by morals and science.

The following is the foundation of all existentialism.

Key Themes
Existence Precedes Essence
The Absurd
The Other, and the Look

By: Claudiu Moise, Yen Phan, Betzaid Navarrete
The term was first used as a historical convenience to classify a certain generation of authors.

Always keep in mind, in Existentialism, you are an individual.

You are responsible for your own actions.
The Absurd
There is no meaning in the world beyond that which we give it.

Human beings are forced to make choices, decisions, and commitments without any absolute guidelines. This means that fundamental choices are made independent of reason.

Not to say that reason does not play a role in people's decisions but they often ignore emotions, passions, and
irrational desires which often
play a huge role in our
decisions, overriding reason
while we struggle to
rationalize the end result.
Each individual—not society or religion—is solely responsible for giving meaning to life and living it passionately and sincerely.
Authenticity names the attitude in which you engage in your projects as your own.
It refers to a kind of transparency in regards to your situation in which you recognize you are a being who can be responsible for who you are.

Facticity is a limitation and condition on freedom.
There are lots of things a person couldn’t have chosen(birthplace etc.), this limits freedom.
To be free from misconstrued view of reality we have to embrace these immutable facts.
Not following either of these concepts means that you allow yourself to be defined by environmental factors, or are enslaved by lies you tell yourself.
We can’t ignore the facts, we can’t deny our pasts or choose to not include it in our existence.
A person can’t say “I am a bird, so I can fly.” Facticity stops that from happening.

The Angst
The fear of one's own freedom.

Experiencing you have your own freedom

You are crossing a really tall bridge and the thought of throwing yourself off suddenly comes to you. You suddenly realize nothing is holding you back, and that your life suddenly all depends on a choice you make. It makes you keenly aware of how this decisively means you have free will.

Key Themes
According to Sartre, despair refers to the stubborn or rebellious aspects of the world that is beyond our control, in particular other people.

The attitude of despair should be one of indifference, meaning that people should act without passion, unmoved by joy or grief, submit without complaint to unavoidable necessity.

People as humans cannot and should not rely on anything that is not within their control.

This notion , as argued by Sartre, should lead us to commit ourselves to a course of action since there is no reality except in action.

The Other and The Look
Putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes, and seeing what they see. Instead of being you, you imagine yourself as another person looking at you.

Sartre's own example of a man peeping at someone through a keyhole can help clarify this:

At first, this man is entirely caught up in the situation he is in; he is in a pre-reflexive state where his entire consciousness is directed at what goes on in the room. Suddenly, he hears a creaking floorboard behind him, and he becomes aware of himself as seen by the Other. He is thus filled with shame for he perceives himself as he would perceive someone else doing what he was doing, as a Peeping Tom.
Søren Kierkegaard
Devout Christian
Actually made the movement, although he didn't create the label
Argued the importance of individual, discussed angst and despair in the pursuit of existentialism.
Subjectivity is truth
Leap of Faith
There is never enough evidence to justify someone starting to believe in god or fall in love.
The leap is necessary, for without the rational part of ones mind to deny god's existence, there can be no true faith.

Born on November 7 1913.
Began career in the French Resistance underground newspaper.
In 1951 he Published
The Rebel
, a philosophical analysis of rebellion and revolution
Expressed his rejection of communism
Rejected the label of existentialist
Even though he shares an intense interest in the active human psyche, conscience and spirit.
Committed to values like:
Free choice,
Inner strength,
Personal responsibility,
Self determination.

His efforts were to "Illuminate the problem of the human conscience in our time."

Albert Camus
Jean-Paul Sartre
Outspoken French Atheist
Created the name existentialism
Was the first prominent existentialist
Created the existence before essence theory
Focused primarily on individual choices
There are no excuses, we are in charge of our own actions.
We make ourselves who we are
People are “condemned to be free.”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Nausea - by Jean-Paul Sartre
Considered to be the manifesto of Existentialism

It is the story of Roquentin, a dejected researcher who saw the world was still indifferent to his existence.

The protagonist goes through many of the Key Stages of Existentialism and is a walking example of the journey and its harrowing effects.

I'm writing an essay lol.
Born November 11, 1821.
He began writing in his 20s.
His literary works explore human psychology in the context of the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmosphere of 19th century Russia.

Key Philosophers
Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling depicts the idea of the knight of Faith, a representation of a person who exhibits freedom, in which he defines the nature of their own existence.

This book was written to explore the role of making free choices regarding fundamental values and beliefs, and how such choices change the nature and identity of the chooser.

Fear and Trembling is a discussion of a story from the Bible, Genesis of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac.
Published in 1947, it tells the story of medical workers finding solidarity in their labor as the Algerian city of Oran is swept by a plague. It asks various questions relating to the nature of destiny and human condition. It is considered an existentialist classic.
Notes from Underground
is considered to be one of the first existentialist novels.
It is an excerpt from the rambling memoirs of a bitter, isolated, unnamed narrator who is a retired civil servant living in St. Petersburg.
The short novel is in two parts. The first part lays out various philosophical positions and arguments.
The narrator picks various targets for his criticizing arguments: humanism, optimism, positivism, rationalism, and romanticism.
From the rubble left in the wake of those arguments he builds up many existentialist notions.
The idea of free will, freedom,
Authentic life versus unauthentic life,
The conscious intellectual,
The truth of confessions.
The second part of the story contains the main story of the narrator.
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