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Existentialism - Essay Example

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Existentialism

The actual life of the individual is what constitutes his or her “true essence” instead of there being a peremptorily ascribed essence used by others to define him or her. Hence, every human, through his or her own consciousness, creates his or her own value and determines a meaning to life. According to this philosophy, the source of our value can only be internal. This core view leads to several corollaries like- we have no predetermined nature or essence that controls what we are, what we do, or what is valuable for us, we are radically free to act independently without determination by outside influencers, we also create our values through these choices, we create our own human nature through these free choices, We 2 are thrown into existence first without a predetermined nature and it is only later that we construct our own nature or essence through our actions. In other words, it means, our Existence, through our act of free self creation, defines our Essence. The existentialist philosophy strongly suggests that the identity of any person cannot be found by examining what other people are like, but only in what that particular person has done. This implies that, we have no predetermined nature that controls what we are, or what we do. The key concepts that govern the theoretical philosophy of existentialism are Existence precedes Essence, Facticity, The Absurd, Authenticity, Angst, Despair and Opposition to Positivism and Rationalism. The theme of Existence precedes Essence which means that the most important consideration for any individual is the fact that he or she is an individual regardless of any label, role, stereotype, definition or any preconceived category the individual fits. The theme of facticity refers to the absolute realities attached to an individual like having a body and having committed certain actions independently. The theme of the absurd is the idea that there is nothing to the world beyond what meaning we see in it. The concept of Authenticity is the idea that one has to create one’s self and live according to the choices he or she makes. Angst or Anxiety, according to existential philosophy is the disposition of a person when he or she cannot live according to the choices made. Despair refers to the loss of hope when there is a dent in the Essence of an individual. 3 In summary, the philosophy of existentialism supports an individual’s free will, that an individual’s nature is defined through choices, that decisions are not without stress and consequences, that there are irrationalities in this universe, that personal responsibility and discipline is key, that society is unnatural while all social rules are arbitrary. The philosophy does not support the beliefs that wealth, honor and pleasure make a good life, social values and structure control the individual, accept the way it is, and that is sufficient in life, science is panacea for all travails, individuals are born good and are later ruined by society/environment as they age. The in-class example highlights the philosophy of existentialism from the point of view of two individuals. Here is one individual [“Existence”]. The essence that can be attributed to him is that he is a professor. He is a professor because he went through undergrad, grad and post-grad ...Show more

Summary

1 Name: Professor: Class: Date: Existentialism Order No. 833936 Existentialism is a philosophy that centers on the premise that any philosophical thinking begins with the human subject. The philosophy articulates that each individual, not religion or society, is singularly responsible for giving meaning to life and living it passionately and sincerely…
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