In it, he describes a truth that is applicable for him: What I really lack is to be clear in my mind what I am to do, not what I am to know, except in so far as a certain knowledge must precede every action. The thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wishes me to do:
Other Works Cited 1. Key Themes of Existentialism Although a highly diverse tradition of thought, seven themes can be identified that provide some sense of overall unity.
Here, these themes will be briefly introduced; they can then provide us with an intellectual framework within which to discuss exemplary figures within the history of existentialism.
Philosophy as a Way of Life Philosophy should not be thought of primarily either as an attempt to investigate and understand the self or the world, or as a special occupation that concerns only a few.
Rather, philosophy must be thought of as fully integrated within life.
To be sure, there may need to be professional philosophers, who develop an elaborate set of methods and concepts Sartre makes this point frequently but life can be lived philosophically without a technical knowledge of philosophy.
Existentialist thinkers tended to identify two historical antecedents for this notion. First, the ancient Greeks, and particularly the figure of Socrates but also the Stoics and Epicureans.
Socrates was not only non-professional, but in his pursuit of the good life he tended to eschew the formation of a 'system' or 'theory', and his teachings took place often in public spaces. In this, the existentialists were hardly unusual.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the rapid expansion of industrialisation and advance in technology were often seen in terms of an alienation of the human from nature or from a properly natural way of living for example, thinkers of German and English romanticism.
The second influence on thinking of philosophy as a way of life was German Idealism after Kant. Partly as a response to the 18th century Enlightenment, and under the influence of the Neoplatonists, Schelling and Hegel both thought of philosophy as an activity that is an integral part of the history of human beings, rather than outside of life and the world, looking on.
Later in the 19th century, Marx famously criticised previous philosophy by saying that the point of philosophy is not to know things — even to know things about activity — but to change them. The concept of philosophy as a way of life manifests itself in existentialist thought in a number of ways.
Let us give several examples, to which we will return in the sections that follow. First, the existentialists often undertook a critique of modern life in terms of the specialisation of both manual and intellectual labour.
One consequence of this is that many existentialist thinkers experimented with different styles or genres of writing in order to escape the effects of this specialisation.
Second, a notion that we can call 'immanence': For Kierkegaard, for example, the fundamental truths of my existence are not representations — not, that is, ideas, propositions or symbols the meaning of which can be separated from their origin.
Rather, the truths of existence are immediately lived, felt and acted. Likewise, for Nietzsche and Heidegger, it is essential to recognise that the philosopher investigating human existence is, him or herself, an existing human.
Third, the nature of life itself is a perennial existentialist concern and, more famously in Heidegger and in Camusalso the significance of death. Anxiety and Authenticity A key idea here is that human existence is in some way 'on its own'; anxiety or anguish is the recognition of this fact. Anxiety here has two important implications.
First, most generally, many existentialists tended to stress the significance of emotions or feelings, in so far as they were presumed to have a less culturally or intellectually mediated relation to one's individual and separate existence.
This idea is found in Kierkegaard, as we mentioned above, and in Heidegger's discussion of 'mood'; it is also one reason why existentialism had an influence on psychology.
Second, anxiety also stands for a form of existence that is recognition of being on its own.
What is meant by 'being on its own' varies among philosophers. For example, it might mean the irrelevance or even negative influence of rational thought, moral values, or empirical evidence, when it comes to making fundamental decisions concerning one's existence.
As we shall see, Kierkegaard sees Hegel's account of religion in terms of the history of absolute spirit as an exemplary confusion of faith and reason.
Alternatively, it might be a more specifically theological claim: Finally, being on its own might signify the uniqueness of human existence, and thus the fact that it cannot understand itself in terms of other kinds of existence Heidegger and Sartre. Related to anxiety is the concept of authenticity, which is let us say the existentialist spin on the Greek notion of 'the good life'.
As we shall see, the authentic being would be able to recognise and affirm the nature of existence we shall shortly specify some of the aspects of this, such as absurdity and freedom. Not, though, recognise the nature of existence as an intellectual fact, disengaged from life; but rather, the authentic being lives in accordance with this nature.
The notion of authenticity is sometimes seen as connected to individualism. This is only reinforced by the contrast with a theme we will discuss below, that of the 'crowd'. Certainly, if authenticity involves 'being on one's own', then there would seem to be some kind of value in celebrating and sustaining one's difference and independence from others.
However, many existentialists see individualism as a historical and cultural trend for example Nietzscheor dubious political value Camusrather than a necessary component of authentic existence. Individualism tends to obscure the particular types of collectivity that various existentialists deem important.
For many existentialists, the conditions of the modern world make authenticity especially difficult. For example, many existentialists would join other philosophers such as the Frankfurt School in condemning an instrumentalist conception of reason and value. The utilitarianism of Mill measured moral value and justice also in terms of the consequences of actions.
Later liberalism would seek to absorb nearly all functions of political and social life under the heading of economic performance.Sartre ’ s most famous play from this period, No Exit (), explored these themes in a situation, people encountering other people, with literally no material alternative to the “ hell ” of being forced together.
Jan 05, · In his play, No Exit, Jean-Paul Sartre examines basic themes of existentialism through three characters. The first subject, Garcin, embraces existentialist ideas somewhat. The second character, Inez, seems to .
Existentialism and Humanism (French: L'existentialisme est un humanisme, " Existentialism is a Humanism") is a work by the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, based on a lecture called "Existentialism is a Humanism" he gave at Club Maintenant in Paris, on 29 October - Jean Paul Sartre’s Philosophical Writing Jean Paul Sartre personally believed in the philosophical idea of existentialism, which is demonstrated in his play No Exit. His ideas of existentialism were profoundly outlined in the play. - In his play, No Exit, Jean-Paul Sartre examines basic themes of existentialism through three characters. The first subject, Garcin, embraces existentialist ideas somewhat. The second character, Inez, seems to fully understand ideas deemed existential.
Jean-Paul Sartre wrote No Exit in , The play examines questions such as death, the meaning of human existence and the place of God in human existence. Basic Writings of Existentialism. New York: Modern Library.
Nov 14, · In his play, No Exit, Jean-Paul Sartre examines basic themes of existentialism through three characters. The first subject, Garcin, embraces existentialist ideas somewhat. The second character, Inez, seems to fully understand ideas deemed existential.
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (;  French: ; 21 June – 15 April ) was a French philosopher, playwright, novelist, political activist, biographer, and literary critic.
He was one of the key figures in the philosophy of existentialism and phenomenology, and one of the leading figures in. Key Themes of Existentialism. This 'hell' of endlessly circling acts of freedom and objectification is brilliantly dramatised in Sartre's play No Exit.
Sartre Jean-Paul, "Intentionality: A fundamental idea of Husserl's Phenomenology." Trans. by Joseph P. Fell.