The term existentialism was also coined by Sartre. And it was generally concerned with the concept of human existence. Everything is centered on the individual’s experience on earth and the limits that one has. Existentialists leave human beings free to make their own decisions and are completely responsible for their ramifications. They believe that people learn about themselves best from their experiences.
Chapter 1 1.0 Introduction Existentialism as a doctrine is hard to pin down using a single definition. “Existential thought is not another branch on the philosophical tree along with metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, ethics, and politics, but rather a lens through which these topics can be viewed.” Existential philosophy is concerned with the kind of existence we have, as opposed to the kind of existence had by rocks, plants, and animals. Sartre’s claim “existence precedes essence” is a pivotal idea in the context of existentialism. To understand this idea, one must go back to the idea of “essence” that is most closely associated with Plato. Plato asserted that all things have a predefined set of characteristics that help fulfil its purpose.
These four ideas include the senses, meaning of life, freedom, and the afterlife. Life is meaningless and therefore absurd. Therefore, the existentialist must look upon the world with a sense of confusion to truly feel and interpret the insignificance of life, and use the meaninglessness to awaken the desire to create meaning. Among existentialist “golden rules” we find “existence precedes essence”. (Mastin).
“Life has no meaning … It is up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing but the meaning that you choose.” This is an existentialist quote by Jean-Paul Sartre which helps to explain the beliefs of one who follows this philosophy. Existentialism is a complex philosophy emphasizing the absurdity of reality and the human responsibility to make choices and accept consequences. This philosophy was created during the second world war, when Europe found itself in a crisis of death and destruction. If one follows this philosophy then they believe that they have the power to determine the outcome of their life. There are six pillars of existentialism.
It plainly suggests that egoism means that no person shall bend another to his or her will; that no one has the right to do so. We must discern the delicate contrast between an egoist and an egotist. The egotists would adopt Rand’s philosophy as a tool for their own shortcomings, to forgo the rule of communal synergy. "Politically, true individualism means recognizing that one has a right to his own life and happiness. But it also means uniting with other citizens to preserve and defend the institutions that protect that right" (Shawn E. Klein, Community and American Individualism.
Most importantly, it is important to understand the concept of existentialism and what does it state. Existentialism is a philosophical idea concerned with our individual freedom and choice. We are free to choose and to determine our own fate and destiny. However, with such power comes great responsibility. Because we are free to act by will, we are also responsible for the consequences that follow those choices.
For the subsequent chapter, I would then tackle the existentialist concepts of Heidegger, dealing with, as we said previously on Freedom, Anxiety and Authenticity. This is of course is to be taken and discussed keeping in mind man. An overview of Heidegger’s notion of freedom is that, he thinks that man is free, in relation to the care structure. The care structure deals with three concepts which is facticity, falleness and existentiality. Facticity deals with what he called ‘throwness’.
This part of the essay will summarize the main points of naturalism, creationism and existentialism suggested by Baggini. Both pros and cons of the above positions will be discussed and the preferred position will be indicated at the last part. Naturalism is a science aspect to examine the meaning of life. All life has started with the Big Bang 15 billion years ago. This position suggests that the meaning of life can be found by the origin of life.
The Stranger clearly harmonized the definition of existentialism and the basic philosophy of existentialism. The term “existentialism” can mean variety of things to many different people. It is important to note that sometimes it is misinterpreted and misused. The common definition of existentialism is that human nature is not rational and there is no purpose in life. There can not be anything beyond the experiences of a man.