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Existentialism. What is Existentialism?. Def: A philosophical attitude that stresses the individual’s unique position as a self-determining agent responsible for the authenticity of his or her choices. Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). Considered the first existential philosopher

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Existentialism

What is Existentialism?

Def: A philosophical attitude that stresses the individual’s unique position as a self-determining agent responsible for the authenticity of his or her choices


Soren kierkegaard 1813 1855
Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)

Considered the first existential philosopher

“Leap of faith” method

There is not enough evidence necessary for faith—one must simply go on faith alone

“Doubt is conquered by faith, just as it is faith which has brought doubt into the world.”

One could conclude that Christian doctrines are true, but if they only agreed with likelihood then they are not truly religious because true belief requires true faith


Jean paul sartre 1905 1980
Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)

Existence precedes essence

There is no Creator

Because there is no Creator, there cannot be essence (think soul) before our existence

It is our duty to create our own essence through our own actions


Albert camus 1913 1960
Albert Camus (1913-1960)

Did not consider himself an existential, rather, an absurdist

His theories and beliefs on absurdity are outlined in The Myth of Sisyphus

Absurdity ignores rather than hopes


The stranger l etranger
The Stranger (L’etranger)

Themes:

  • The universe is irrational

  • Life is meaningless

  • Physical sensation

    Influences:

  • Atheism

  • Absurdism

  • Nihilism


Teaching the stranger l estranger
Teaching The stranger (L’estranger)

  • Why is this a good idea for teenagers?

    • As they are preparing to go out in the world, they must begin to consider themselves citizens of the world

    • What are their responsibilities as global citizens? Who is affected by their actions? Do they operate singularly in the world, or do their actions have meaning?

    • Essay question: What makes your life meaningful? What gives it this meaning?


Existentialism leads to authentic education
Existentialism leads to authentic education

  • Man’s Search for Meaning– Viktor Frankl (1967)

    • Meaning is found through horror

    • Without meaning, life is a prison

    • With meaning, any experience (bad or good) becomes the foundation for a more enriched life


The myth of sisyphus
The myth of sisyphus


To live or not to live
To live or not to live…

  • Life is meaningless unless we give it meaning

  • There is no destiny, fate, or predetermination

  • There is no reason for the universe to exist

  • Death is the only certainty