Existentialism By: Karma French & Taylor Schimbke
What is Existentialism? There are many different forms of “existentialism” Each existentialist philosopher had his own definition, understanding, and belief of the human existence “Existentialism is a catch-all term for those philosophers who consider the nature of the human condition as a key philosophical problem and who share the view that this problem is best addressed through ontology.”
Where did Existentialism Come From? Seen throughout Europe in the 19th & 20th centuries Increasing popularity of scientific & industrial revolutions led to a decline in spirituality With this disconnection from religion people began to search elsewhere for the meaning of life The term was adopted by Jean-Paul Sartre Following WWII, literary and philosophical works of Sartre and other existentialists sparked the existentialist movement in Europe in the 1940s, this movement lasted through the 1950s http://www.ratdiary.com/2006/11/27/gods-assassin/
What do Existentialists Believe? As humans we should desire to live a full and authentic life Our lives should be rewarded and fulfilled by embracing our human dignity Existence precedes essence you are born with no God-given soul, it is your job to create your own essence throughout your existence A brave, non-conformist existentialist will separate themselves from society and maintain that separateness as a testament to their true independence
Key Themes of Existentialism Philosophy as a Way of Life Situatedness Philosophy should be integrated into life “Although my freedom is absolute, it always takes place in a particular context” Anxiety & Authenticity Existence Anxiety is the idea that human existence is We should be concerned with human in many ways “on its own” existence Authenticity refers to one being able to recognize and confirm the nature of Irrationality/Absurdity existence Human existence can be described as “absurd” Freedom The Crowd Freedom is defined by the independence of our decisions from a deity or pre-existing By living an “authentic” life, others will values become authentic as well For more info visit: http://www.iep.utm.edu/existent/#H1
Famous Existentialists Jean-Paul SartreFranz Kafka Albert Camus Franz Kafka Samuel Beckett Simone de Beauvoir Anne Rice Simone de Beauvoir Albert Camus Charles Bukowski
Jean-Paul Sartre Born in Paris in 1905 and lived until 1980 Studied at École Normale Supérieure from 1924 to 1929 and became a Professor of Philosophy at Le Havre in 1931 He studied the philosophies of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger in Berlin http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/02/11/timestopics/topics_sartre_395.jpg
Jean-Paul Sartre’s Existentialism Atheism is taken for granted and the “loss of God” should not be mourned Humans are condemned to freedom from all authority Man can make meaning of the world once this terrible freedom has been acknowledged and accepted This attempt will not succeed without the “solidarity” of others
No Exit, a Play by Jean-Paul Sartre Summary: Three people are in hell, which is simply a furnished room. None of them will confess their reason for being in hell. It is eventually concluded that they have all been placed there to make each other miserable. In the end after discovering the characters’ reason for being condemned to hell, it is concluded that “hell is other people” Theme: “People need and want validation from one another, but are fundamentally separated and incapable of getting it.” It relates to the existential ideas of Sartre because it reveals that a person is the product of your own self- creation You start as nothing and end up where your choices have led you http://www.chicagostagereview.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/season01_noexit.jpg
Albert Camus and His Existentialist Viewpoint Born on November 7, 1913 in the village of Mondovi Shared with other existentialists an interest in the active human psyche Valued individualism, free choice, inner strength, authenticity, personal responsibility, and self-determination He was different from other existentialists because he believed in common human nature and that human existence has an essential core element of dignity and value
The Stranger Albert Camus Summary: A man who is detached from most everything, kills a man for no clear reason. He is sentenced to death. In prison he tries to come to terms with his situation. Eventually, he accepts that human existence holds no great meaning, which makes him feel happy. “Only when something dramatic happens do people start to reevaluate things and see them in a different way.” When you discover that there is no meaning, you feel like a stranger, but once you accept it, you can find peace. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/2/2f/TheStranger_BookCover3.jpg/200px-TheStranger_BookCover3.jpg
Existentialism Influences in Western Culture Existentialism has always been closely associated with narrative arts. Many movies are filled with existential themes. The following movies are greatly influenced by existentialism Blade Runner Fight Club Stranger Than Fiction Superbad http://www.reellifewisdom.com/files/images/fight-club_0.jpg
Relevance to Course Content The Scientific & Industrial Revolutions eventually led to Existentialism “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” by Leo Tolstoy is considered a “pre-existentialist” text – containing some of the existentialist ideas that appeared in the 1940s Jorge Luis Borges was known to have explored existentialist ideas – he wrote “The Garden of Forking Paths” “Sartres theoretical writings as well as his novels and plays constitute one of the main inspirational sources of modern literature .” Nobel Prize
Works CitedBurnham, Douglas. "Existentialism." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2011. <http://www.iep.utm.edu/existent/>.Crowell, Steven. "Existentialism." The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2010. <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/existentialism/>."Jean-Paul Sartre - Biography". Nobelprize.org. 28 Oct 2012. <http://www.nobelprize. org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1964/sartre-bio.html>.
Works CitedPanza, Christopher, and Gregory Gale. Existentialism For Dummies. For Dummies, 2008. Print.Simpson, David. "Albert Camus." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2005. <http:// www.iep.utm.edu/camus/>.