What is Existentialism? History of Existentialism, Existentialist Philosophy

What is Existentialism?:

Existentialism is more a trend or tendency that can be found throughout the history of philosophy. Existentialism is hostile towards abstract theories or systems that propose to describe all of the intricacies and difficulties of human life through more-or-less simplistic formulas. Existentialists focus primarily on matters such as choice, individuality, subjectivity, freedom, and the nature of existence itself.


Important Books on Existentialism:

Notes from the Underground, by Dostoyevesky
Concluding Unscientific Postscript, by Soren Kierkegaard
Either/Or, by Soren Kierkegaard
Fear and Trembling, by Soren Kierkegaard
Sein und Zeit (Being and Time), by Martin Heidegger
Logical Investigations, by Edmund Husserl
Nausea, by Jean Paul Sartre
Being and Nothingness, by Jean Paul Sartre
The Myth of Sysiphus, by Albert Camus
The Stranger, by Albert Camus
The Ethics of Ambiguity, by Simone de Beauvoir
The Second Sex, by Simone de Beauvoir

Important Philosophers of Existentialism:

Soren Kierkegaard
Martin Heidegger
Friedrich Nietzsche
Karl Jaspers
Edmund Husserl
Karl Barth
Paul Tillich
Rudolf Bultmann
Jean Paul Sartre
Albert Camus
Simone de Beauvoir
R.D. Liang

Common themes in Existianism:

Existence Precedes Essence
Angst: Dread, Anxiety, and Anguish
Bad Faith & Fallenness
Subjectivity: Individuals vs. Systems
Ethical Individualism
Absurd and Absurdity

Is Existentialism a Marxist or Communist Philosophy?:

One of the most prominent existentialists, Jean-Paul Sartre, was also a Marxist, but there are significant incompatibilities between existentialism and Marxism. Probably the most important difference between existentialism and Marxism lies in the issue of human freedom.

Both philosophies rely heavily upon entirely different conceptions of human freedom and the relationship between human choices and the larger society. Read More...

Is Existentialism an Atheistic Philosophy?:

Existentialism is more commonly associated with atheism than with theism. Not all atheists are existentialists, but an existentialist is probably more likely to be an atheist than a theist — and there are good reasons for this. The most common themes in existentialism make more sense in universe lacking any gods than in a universe presided over by the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent God of traditional Christianity. Read More...

What is Christian Existentialism?:

The existentialism we see today is rooted in the writings of Søren Kierkegaard and, as a consequence, it might be argued that modern existentialism started out as being fundamentally Christian in nature, only later diverging into other forms. A central question in Kierkegaard’s writings is how the individual human being can come to terms with their own existence, for it is that existence which is the most important thing in every person's life. Read More...