Existentialist Theory, Its Features, Advantages And Disadvantages

908 words - 4 pages

Existentialist Theory, Its Features, Advantages and Disadvantages
For introduction purposes, Existentialism is the philosophical theory that holds that in order to grasp human existence, then further set of categories governed by the norm of authenticity are necessary (Steven Crowell, 2010). Existentialism is a philosophy which stresses on human existence as opposed to the movements that submerge man's existence. Normally, if emphasis of distinction is placed upon man's existence then the question will be to show how it is different from humanism. Therefore, many features emerge to support the view of existentialism.
The first feature is that existence precedes essence. This means that there is no human nature and or human prototype to which all men/human could ultimately conform to. Additionally, man remains the sole creator of his destiny (Dallas M, 1982). This is in line with the idea that there is no general, non-formal account of what it means to be human can be given, since that meaning is decided in and through existing itself. Therefore, the most important aspect/ consideration for individuals is the fact that they are an individual in themselves—they are an independently acting and responsible, conscious being ("existence")—and not just what labels, roles, stereotypes, definitions, or other preconceived categories the individual fits ("essence").
The other feature of existentialism is that of absurdity/nothingness/anxiety. This implies that we do not have meaning in the world beyond what meaning we give to it. With this aspect, we find that the evidence of freedom is not a matter of any theoretical nor practical but only arises from the self-understanding which accompanies a given mood into which one may fall, that is, anxiety. The notion of anxiety then yields the existential view of the absurd, which is simply an alienation from the world. The meaning of nothingness was introduced by Heidegger in order to show the kind of self- and world-understanding which emerges from anxiety that since man’s practical identity is constituted by the practices we engage in, then when that collapses I “am” not anything then.
Next we consider the aspect of facticity. According to Sartre, in his book “Being as Nothingness,” facticity is in-itself. Facticity implies that one's past denotes what one is, in the sense that it co-constitutes oneself. However, Facticity is seen as being both a limitation and a condition of freedom. It is a limitation since a large part of one's facticity contains of things that one could not have chosen like birthplace. It is also a condition in the sense that one's values most likely depend on it. We also find that the origin of a person’s...

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