philosophers, readings, articles
Wait a minute, there's a snag somewhere; something disagreeable.
Why, now, should it be disagreeable?...Ah,I see; it's
life without a break. (Jean Paul Sartre - huis clos)
is a philosophical movement which emphasizes on individual
existence, freedom, and choice.
There are several philosophical positions all related to existential
philosophy but the main identifiable common proposition, is
that existence precedes essence. By this, existentialism states
that man exists and in that existence man defines himself
and the world in his own subjectivity, and wanders between
choice, freedom, and existential angst.
first philosopher to use the term was Soren
Kierkegaard (1813 - 1855), who reacted against systematic
rational philosophy, specially Hegel, and grasped the notion
of a truth inside of the evolving self.
from this stress on existence there are other main subjects
and images that have been developed by the existentialists.
Becoming a Being (existential ontology):
We are what we can become. Ours is a process, and our becoming
is our ontic possibility of becoming. Human existence is a
project, in which past and present are subordinate to future,
is the main residence of our existence, because it is the
north of our projection of ourselves. Human existence
cannot have a relationship with being unless it remains in
the midst of nothingness. (M.
Heidegger - was ist metaphysik?).
Nothingness appears in existentialism, as the placeholder
of the possibility. The awareness of anything in the world
that is not my own existence (which by the way,cannot be held
in consciousness without being nihilized) is an awareness
of nothingness, that is, what I, this existence am not and
in some cases I could become.
We arrive from nothingness to absurd at the moment that we
ask for a meaning after we have become aware of the other
(trough the prior explained negation). Absurd is a leit motiv
in existentialism, specially in Sartre
It is sometimes possible to overcome absurd, with absurd itself,
says in The Myth of Sisyphus: "The struggle itself toward
the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine
Ethics / Subjectivity / Good faith
Our view of the world is enough to become Truth, because it
is based on our facts. What we do with this truth, depends
on our good or bad faith, that is, the ability to act as if
in our act the entire mankind would be represented. That is
enough to prove an act as an ethical one.
We always have a choice. Existentialism does not stand for
any kind of determinism except the one that determines our
individual facts (existence)
We choose, and in choosing (in good or bad faith) we define
ourselves. Choice is a definition of an existence in the world,
towards an object outside of itself.
Choice is all that we have, without confirmation of our act;
we never know what was right to choose. The doubt of our acts,
together with the contingence of existence, leads to
The main characteristic of existence itself, when we face
our contingence, and the absurdity of our acts and choices:
For Heidegger, it is that trough which fear becomes possible.
is a desire for what one fears. For Sartre,
it is the immediate consequence of facing the possibility
qu'on fait n'est jamais compris mais seulement loué ou blâmé.
Nietzsche, Gay Science