Essentialism Argument Essay

520 Words3 Pages

As a person who doesn’t believe in any inherent meaning of the universe, it was enlightening to indulge in the details of existentialism and explore the niched philosophical notions surrounding the previously-perplexing concept of “existence preceding essence”. Upon review of existentialism, there’s a certain sense of comfort in the unpredictability, freedom, and naturally unfolding scheme of the cosmos that was historically a crucial turning point in how the world’s population perceived the universe.
From the times of Plato and Aristotle until the late 19th century, the standard view of the universe centered on essentialism. Essentialism details one’s life purpose in the form of essences: certain sets of core properties that are necessary for a thing to be what it is. For example, a chair cannot be a chair unless it has a seat; the seat is an essential part of a chair. With essentialism, it is believed that humans are assigned essences before they are born and to adhere to your essence is to be a good human. A person’s essence—given by God—provides purpose to life as humans are born to be a certain thing. …show more content…

Nietzsche elaborated upon an inherent meaninglessness of life and embraced the concept of nihilism. Later, French thinker Jean-Paul Sartre returned to the question of essence and pondered if humans are born without any hard-wired purpose and thus, it’s up to us to figure out our own essences. This is the fundamental concept of existentialism: “existence precedes essence”. There is no predetermined path that we must follow, no rules given by God, and we must write our own essence. This notion was considered a radical idea at the time of its conception because it refuted the age-old belief of a God-chosen

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