• The19th century also began to see a
division in the approach to philosophy
being taken in different areas of western
• In the United Kingdom and North America,
a focus on logic, language and the natural
sciences was becoming predominant in
philosophy, and this tradition was labelled
• Those who did not find themselves in this
analytic trend were mostly based in
Europe, and the idea of
continental philosophy was born.
• The names are already considered obsolete, in
some senses, but many philosophers still
observe a difference between the logical and
scientific approach of analytic philosophy and
the existentialism, phenomenology and other
approaches of continental philosophy.
Existentialism and the World
• Focuses on limitless capacity for ethically and
intellectually engaging people to enact change in the
• No explanation of why we are alive instead, we are
“abandoned” with nothing more than an awareness of
our surroundings and a need to cope with surroundings
in order to survive.
1. Perspectives, aesthetics, and approaches to
dealing with the world and its inherent
2. Deals with the recurring problem of finding
meaning in existence.
3. The individual must create meaning for him/her
4. Gets a reputation for being pessimistic and
meaningless or absurd and is associated with
things like angst, boredom and fear
Therefore, the self is always
Individualism, Self-Actualization, and
Disavows a sense of pattern in the
Creativity is much more highly prized
Therefore, effort is prized more than skill
Sincerity, self-analysis, and conviction
is what one can expect in regard to
• 1813-1855, Danish
• Considered to be the first Existential
• Considered as “the Father of
• Insisted on the distinctiveness of
• He argues, “subjectivity is truth, truth
• For Kierkegaard, human beings stand out
as responsible individuals who must make
• According to him the deepest
"inwardness" of the human being is the
place of passionate choice wherein one
must take a "leap of faith" despite one's
finitude, the fact that we can never know
with certainly the outcome of our choices
despite our accountability for them.
• His psychological work explored the
emotions and feelings of individuals when
faced with life choices.
There are three modes of existence
that can be chosen by an individual.
(3 Sphere/Stages of Life’s Way)
1.aesthetic = a redefined hedonism,
consisting of the search for pleasure
2.ethical = involves intense commitment to
one’s duty in faith and social obligations
3.religious = submission to God, and only
“Christianity is therefore not a
doctrine, but the fact that God has
"...the thing is to find a truth which is
true for me, to find the idea for which
I can live and die"
• The World as Will and Idea /
• The human body and all its
parts being the visible
expression of the will and its
• The teeth, throat, and bowels
for example being
• For Schopenhauer, who is considered to
be a pessimistic philosopher, the
tragedy of life arises from the nature of
the will, which constantly urges the
individual toward the satisfaction of
successive goals, none of which can
provide permanent satisfaction for the
infinite activity of the life force, or will
• The title of Schopenhauer’s masterwork
contains the central thesis of his
• The world is a “phenomenon,” a
representation or idea ; Schopenhauer
makes no distinction between a
phenomenon and an appearance; he
says that the two are identical.
• The world as we know it is an appearance
• The Sciences, meanwhile, could be
utilised to provide understanding of the
Empirical World of time, space, and
causally interconnected material objects.
Jean Paul Sartre
century’s greatest existential
• “Existence precedes essence”-
– What makes you who you are by
what you make of yourself.
• We are all “condemned to be
free” Believed that there is no
authority that defines freedom or
provides rules or guarantees
Being and Nothingness
Existentialism is Humanism
• Meaning there is total
responsibility on the individual
for all actions.
• Sartre is convinced that human responsibility
makes sense only if there is no God;
otherwise divine foreknowledge and
predestination necessarily exclude alternative
options and consequently responsibility.
There are at least three
circles in the extension of our
1. Individual responsibility: If existence
precedes essence man is responsible for
his own actions (and his individuality)
2. Total Responsibility: If man is free to
choose what he is going to make of
himself, he is entirely responsible for
what he is becoming;
3. Universal Responsibility: If man is fully
responsible for what he is presenting as
the image of man, he is responsible for all
• Individual responsibility corresponds to
the common sense notion of
“Hell is other people”- NO EXIT
Hell is other people because
we can try and force the
others to see us in the
way we want them to see
us, but they will always
see us in the way they
want to see us. The form
which is easiest for them
in most cases.
Friedrich Nietzsche and
• So in saying “God is dead” this was
what he really meant:
• Nietzsche sought to draw the
consequences of the death of God,
the collapse of any theistic support
• In such a situation the individual is
forced back upon himself.
AKA. Personal responsibility
There are two ways to take
• On the one hand, if he is weakly
constituted he may fall victim to
despair in the face of nihilism, the
recognition that life has no
• On the other hand, for a “strong” or
creative individual nihilism presents a
liberating opportunity to take
responsibility for meaning, to
exercise creativity by “trans
valuing” her values, establishing a
new “order of rank.”
Friedrich Nietzsche is notable for having
declared that God is dead
and for having written several of his works in
the presumption that man must find a new
mode of being given the death of
GOD IS DEAD
• Implications of the Death of God
according to Nietzsche:
• Rejection of absolute values. (Can’t have
a "secularized" form of Christianity)
• Nihilism (because most men in the West
know no other values but Christian values)
• "Active nihilism" a nihilism that seeks to
destroy what it no longer believes
• Ubermensch or superman [Zarathustra]
is not superior in breeding or endowment,
but in power and strength. The superman
confronts all the possible terrors and
wretchedness of life and still joyously
• In Thus Spake Zarathustra Nietzsche
proclaims, "Not `humanity’
but Superman is the goal." "Man is
something that must be surpassed; man is
a bridge and not a goal."
• Superman is not inevitable, the result of
some determined process.
• It is more a myth, a goal for the will:
"Superman is the meaning of the earth.
Let your will say: Superman is to be the
meaning of the earth." Superman cannot
come unless superior individuals have the
courage to transvalue all values.
• For Nietzsche a recognition that God is
Dead to his own generation of men and
women ought to come as a Joyous
Wisdom allowing individuals to lead less
guilt-ridden lives in a world that was no
longer to be seen as being inherently
• He considered that earthly lives could
become more joyful, meaningful and
"healthy" when not lived within narrow
limits set by faith-related concerns for the
state of an individual's eternal soul.
• Nietzsche seems to be suggesting that the
acceptance that God is dead will also
involve the ending of long-established
standards of morality and of purpose.
• Without the former and accepted widely
standards society has to face up to the
possible emergence of a nihilistic
situation where peoples lives are not
particularly constrained by faith-based
considerations of morality or particularly
guided by any faith-related sense of
• Given what he saw as the "unbelievability"
of the "God-hypothesis" Nietzsche himself
seemed to favour the creation of a new set
of values "faithful to the earth."
• This view perhaps being associable with
the possibility of the "Overman" or
• "I teach you the overman. Man is
something that shall be overcome.
What have you done to overcome him? All
beings so far have created something
beyond themselves; and do you want to
be the ebb of this great flood and even go
back to the beasts rather than overcome
man? What is the ape to man? A
laughingstock or a painful embarrassment.
And man shall be just that for the
overman: a laughingstock or a painful
• German philosopher known for his existential and
phenomenological explorations of the "question of
• Maintained that our way of questioning defines our
• As with Kierkegaard and Sartre, Heidegger believed
the existence of a physical body preceded the
essence of self.
• At some point in the development process, a being
becomes aware that it exists. This pivotal point in
time is when essence begins to form; the individual
decides to acknowledge and embrace an essence
at this moment.
• Heidegger is a controversial figure, largely for his
affiliation with Nazism prior to 1934, for which he
neither apologized nor expressed regret, except in
private when he called it "the biggest stupidity of his
life- this calls to question Heidegger's thought and
his connection to National Socialism.
Dasien Sorge was Heidegger's term for concern and
caring about the self and its existence.
When confronted with the world and other beings, the individual feels
anxiety and dread. The world appears complex and unsafe -- which it is.
As a result, the human being, Dasein, must care for itself as no one
else can or will.
•Concern, or Sorge, is the ability to care about the self, in relation to
phenomena. This belief that death defines life complements Søren
Kierkegaard's thought that God does not exist, but is real.
•Existence, or Existenz, represents knowing one is and is changing.
•Finally, moods, or Stimmungen, are reactions to other beings, further
allowing one to define the self.
Five Modes of Dasein
• The five modes of Dasein described by
Heidegger are: authenticity,
averageness, and publicness. Authentic
being represents a choice of self and
achievement. All other modes represent a
failing to embrace the individuality
available to all people.
• A theory of knowledge that had a
keen interest in the problems of
• The study of structures of
experience or consciousness (as
experienced from the first-person
point of view).
• The study in phenomena-the
appearances of things or things AS
they appear in our experience or
the way we experience things,
therefore the meanings things have
in OUR experience.
• Studies conscious experience
experienced from the first person
point of view.
• Nihilism- belief that
values, ideas, etc. have
no worth or value
• The denial of existence
as any basis for
knowledge or truth
• There is no meaning or
purpose to existence
For the Activity next meeting
Instruction: Create your own Existentialism
Philosophy based on your favorite cartoon
Email it to me for your presentation
Notes de l'éditeur
Two other may be problematic if they are over-stretched beyond any reasonable concept of accountability. To avoid possible misunderstandings one needs to bear in mind their real scope. Total responsibility is designed to eliminate typical excuses for our choices and actions: human nature, heredity, subconscious drives, emotions, circumstances, external forces. Universal responsibility is strictly based on individual responsibility: a man is responsible for all men not in the sense that one is responsible for what every idiot might be doing, but in the sense that in his actions he involves humanity one way or another.
:here are only four characters: the VALET, GARCIN, ESTELLE, and INEZ and the entire play takes place in a drawing room, Second Empire style, with a massive bronze ornament on the mantelpiece. However the piece contains essential germs of existentialist thought such as &quot;Hell is other people.&quot; As you read the play, put yourself in that drawing room with two people you hate most in the world.