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    Hey,

    I'm at University and am about to start writing an essay using the theory of existentialism. I have been reading around the topic but was just wondering if anyone could help me out with defining this very tricky philosophy..simply?!

    Thank you!!

    xxx
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    There's a page on it on the simple english wikipedia: http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existentialism

    Might help? :erm:
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    Is there anything you're looking for specifically? When I think of Existentialism a few things come to mind :
    Sartre

    Existence comes before essence ( we're born without a nature, we create it ).
    We're condemned to responsibility for our actions as there's no God and man is free (ontological proofs give the basis for this).

    Our desires are only shown through our actions e.g. I can say I wanted to take my dog for a walk because I love her, but unless my actions are in accordance with this it is not true. So unless I show through my actions that I love something/one, I do not. To lead on from this, the essence of something is simply the appearance which it projects into existence. A different example would be a great author for example, Sartre uses Proust(?) he says that Proust is considered a genius only on the genius of his works, not the potential works he or others think he could have produced.

    Mauvais(e) fois / bad faith - to deny responsibility for your life is to live in bad faith, probably best to google a few examples for how Sartre uses bad faith ( similar to Marx ).

    There's a lot more, e.g. you could examine Sartre's ontological proof - either anguish, the negation of nothingness, the links to Marxism (which Sartre later turned towards).

    To be honest I would say try and read the preface of being and nothingness ( if you cba the whole book ), and existentialism is a humanism - takes a couple hours. Will give you a decent understanding of Sartre's version at least, and Sartre is 'usually' considered the father of existentialism though there are more!

    Haven't proof read or planned anything, it's just the jumble of my thoughts as they appeared. Hope it helps.
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    Read this : http://www.amazon.co.uk/Existentiali...0565011&sr=8-4

    I love Sartre. :coma:
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    Nothing means anything, let's all do loads of drugs and have a big orgy.
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    Basically, there is no meaning to life so you have to make your own.
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    Ah this is all brilliant, thank you very much!!

    (Original post by Jackeeba)
    Is there anything you're looking for specifically?
    Well, specifically, I'm looking at the work of Charlie Chaplin and then at existentialism in relation to ideas around the human condition and that kind of thing? If that makes sense?

    I'm rather clueless at the moment but thank you for your litte run down, it's began to clarify things for me!
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    As far as I've made out, Existentialism is based around the idea of "be who you choose to be". It was picked up by, and not invented by, Jean Paul Sartre, who distinguished the difference between being "in yourself" and being "for yourself". He said that at some point during your life, you are confronted with this decision - and that you choose to remain "in yourself" (ie. subject to the choices of others) or "for yourself" (ie. making your own decisions - autonomous).
    Personally - I am a bit of a Determinist - and so I'd call for questioning on this argument. It implies that we have a large degree of choice - but (following basic Determinist premises),
    1. All events are caused.
    2. Something that is caused cannot have happened differently.
    3. All human actions are events.
    4. Ergo, all human actions cannot have happened otherwise than they did.
    Sartre's argument implies that we have the capability to push forward and choose what we want to do, or who we want to be.
    I believe that we are introjected from birth by genetics, family, culture, peer pressure, teaching etc. and therefore it is others who choose for us. The fourth premise says that human actions cannot have happened otherwise than they did - Existentialism says that we decide our actions - or that they can happen differently.
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    the main and basic idea of existentialism is 'the world is absurd', and here it's very important to understand 'absurd' right. I use here in its prima latin meaning - ab surdo, no sense, basically. But 'no sense' in out point of view duznt mean no sense at all. It's just a kind of different sense, you can't understand and that makes you feel crazy.
    Existentialism has a lot do to with Schopenhauer (of course, if it rings any bell to you?).
    Once I was very much under Sartre's ideas I was almost close to cimmiting suicide. It's scary when you see no sense, though understand there must be some.
    When you come out of doors, see the sky and ask one simple question: "Why?" Why it is there? Who needs it and what for? Why am I doing what I am doing? What's the use of everything?
    If you think about it, u might understand, the world is really absurd, it's living according to its own laws not ours, it has its own inner logic...
    If you have some time read the 'wall' by sartre - it's short and very strong indeed!
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    the main and basic idea of existentialism is 'the world is absurd', and here it's very important to understand 'absurd' right. I use here in its prima latin meaning - ab surdo, no sense, basically. But 'no sense' in out point of view duznt mean no sense at all. It's just a kind of different sense, you can't understand and that makes you feel crazy.
    Existentialism has a lot do to with Schopenhauer (of course, if it rings any bell to you?).
    Once I was very much under Sartre's ideas I was almost close to cimmiting suicide. It's scary when you see no sense, though understand there must be some.
    When you come out of doors, see the sky and ask one simple question: "Why?" Why it is there? Who needs it and what for? Why am I doing what I am doing? What's the use of everything?
    If you think about it, u might understand, the world is really absurd, it's living according to its own laws not ours, it has its own inner logic...
    If you have some time read the 'wall' by sartre - it's short and very strong indeed!
 
 
 
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