According to existentialism, life is a choice. We can choose to live an authentic life, or wallow in an inauthentic life based on our naive belief in destiny. Most people live in inauthenticity, but there is an existential hero, who embraces the meaninglessness of existence and basks in the freedom that comes with breaking free of the false foundations of a stable life.
Existence precedes essence
Jean-Paul Sartre coined the phrase “existence precedes essence.” This principle is considered a classic articulation of existentialism and is opposed to the traditional philosophical view, which holds that the essence is more fundamental than the existence. In existentialism, people create their own values and meanings and are shaped by what surrounds them. As a result, man lacks a fundamental identity and value.
The philosophers of existentialism share similar thought processes and agree that there is no fixed essence, and that man makes his own nature through his freedom. Unlike objects, such as machines, humans do not have an inbuilt essence, but rather a predetermined purpose. Rather, they decide to shape and mold their essences according to their historical circumstances and their own needs. But what does existence mean?
There are many different schools of existentialism. Some of the most popular are theistic existentialists, such as Soren Kierkegaard, who teaches that life is a defense against death and must be lived as a Christian. Others, such as Albert Camus, do not believe in God and consider themselves atheistic. And yet both existentialists share a common goal: to live a fulfilling life, regardless of what others may think.
The tenets of existentialism are in direct conflict with traditional metaphysics, especially Christian-based beliefs. Christian-based beliefs believe that humans are created by God as hammers, with specific purposes in mind. They also believe that God created humans with a purpose in mind, and that humans have certain characteristics before they exist. This is incompatible with the existentialism of Sartre.
According to Sartre, “being-for-itself” is essential. It lacks absolute or fixed nature, which is why it perfectly describes the human condition. Moreover, it explains why human beings can’t live in perfect peace and happiness. In the end, if they have an existence and nothing more, they can’t be free. Ultimately, they are both the same. If we live in a utopia, there are no gods.
While existentialism is a popular idea, the Islamic worldview is in direct conflict with it. The Holy Quran is the most important text on the subject. It also argues that existence precedes essence. As such, existentialism is contrary to the Muslim worldview. There are no absolutes in life, and we must live in the present moment. This is a fundamental difference between existentialism and Islam, and it’s worth exploring whether these two ideologies are compatible.
There is no inherent state of “human nature”
A fundamental disagreement between existentialists and evolutionists is whether human beings possess an inherent “human nature.” The first strand of this argument holds that the concept of human nature is not a true one. According to existentialists, “humans are not born with an inherent state of nature” and therefore do not have the freedom to make conscious decisions in our lives. While a majority of biologists see human nature as an evolved state of existence, the latter focuses on the possibility that humans are a product of the ‘genome’.
The second branch of existentialist philosophy focuses on moral individualism and the subjective personal lives of individuals. According to existentialists, there is no inherent “human nature” that defines human beings. As such, each individual must determine his or her own humanity and define their own values and purposes in life. Thus, it is impossible to define human nature by external causes or effects.
The third branch of existential philosophy focuses on the concept of meaninglessness and its application to our daily lives. This is in contrast to the ancient notion of the kosmos, which places human beings in an ordered, well-ordered environment. This view of human nature is based on the experience of meaninglessness in the world, which transcends the notion of a “human nature.”
Earlier existentialists held this position but later backed away from it, suggesting that a universal moral judgment should guide human behavior. However, this view has come under criticism, and there is no consensus as to whether it is true or false. Many philosophers attempting to develop a metaethical view were unable to come to this conclusion. If this is true, then the question of human nature is irrelevant.
This argument also claims that there is no “human nature” but only an apparent one. While there is no such thing as “human nature”, this view emphasizes freedom and authenticity. The emphasis on freedom and authenticity is essential to existentialism’s contribution to ethics and value theory. It has also shaped a number of recognizable doctrines. But these are the pillars of existentialist philosophy.
Existentialism also argues that “humans” are rational beings and that reason will eventually self-actualize in the world. While we have freedom as human beings, we cannot achieve that freedom until the world evolves to a rational state. But, Heidegger’s critique of Hegel’s rationalism and his belief that reason is an inherent state of human beings was fundamental to the development of the philosophical movement.
Philosophers have tried to define what constitutes human nature. Feuerbach and Nietzsche both saw the problem as a philosophical one. Nietzsche viewed it as the paradoxical presence of God in the world. Both argued for true liberation of human beings. But they disagreed on how to define human nature. In both cases, the problem is more complex than simple.
There is no absolute truth
The existentialists argued that there is no absolute truth. They claimed that the word “nothing” connotes nothingness, and this is the reason for the confusion that exists among existentialists. Existentialism also triggered a reaction from Marxist philosophers, who claimed that existentialism contradicts their own philosophy. But Marx argued that existentialists are simply stating that there is no absolute truth, since they believe in individual choice.
According to existentialists, there are no absolute truths in the physical or dualistic world view. However, existentialists do not reject the validity of some of the most fundamental categories of science, including cause, function, organism, and motivation. But their primary aim is to reject absolute truth, in favor of a more holistic view of reality. If these ideas make you agnostic, then there is no such thing as a universal truth.
As a result of these contrasting approaches, the existentialists have attracted a large number of Christian critics. Many have complained that existentialists have an unrealistic view of human nature, denying the moral dimension of human existence and the responsibility of human beings to God. Furthermore, some commentators object to the continued support of Christianity by Kierkegaard. Also, the use of pseudonymous characters in existentialist writings can make the existentialist authors seem unwilling to take responsibility for their insights, confusing philosophy and literature.
Although existentialists argue that some aspects of what we regard as factually “true” are arbitrary, others claim that other universal truths can be proven. Thus, if there is no absolute truth, there are no absolute facts. This argument has been criticized by Herbert Marcuse and Roger Scruton, and is based on a denial of the existence of God. It also undermines religion, which the existentialists regard as essential.
The existentialist movement has been influential in the past several centuries. Its main aim is to confront the nihilistic implications of modernism and to rise above this condition. The philosophy of the existentialists was very influential and influenced a wide range of writers from the 19th century to modernity. The existentialist movement has been largely influenced by German philosophers, including Friedrich Nietzsche and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.
In addition to denying that there is any absolute truth, existentialists defend other philosophical theses. In the 19th century, the philosophers Abbagnano, Merleau-Ponty, and David Hume sought to dispel Romantic optimism, which assumed the destiny of humankind to be determined by an infinite force. Existentialism emphasises the instability of all human reality and stresses the importance of individualism. Furthermore, existentialism maintains that freedom is conditioned by limits, and that the possibility of suffering is inherent in every individual’s character.
Although existentialism is often regarded as an outdated philosophy, it continues to play an important role in contemporary thought. Its most important contribution has been the introduction of a new norm of authenticity. It is tied to the post-Cartesian concept of self. The question is whether existentialism can be based on an epochal era that is far removed from our current age.