If their endings, or lack of endings, seem to make sense at all, they will not do so immediately and not in unequivocal language. The reason for this is that the stories offer a wide variety of possible meanings without confirming any particular one of them. This, in turn, is the result of Kafka's view — which he shares with many twentieth-century writers — that his own self is a parcel of perennially interacting forces lacking a stable core; if he should attain an approximation of objectivity, this can come about only by describing the world in symbolic language and from a number of different vantage points.
The Emergence of Existence as a Philosophical Problem Sartre's existentialism drew its immediate inspiration from the work of the German philosopher, Martin Heidegger. Though in Heidegger would repudiate the retrospective labelling of his earlier work as existentialism, it is in that work that the relevant concept of existence finds its first systematic philosophical formulation.
And while not all existential philosophers were influenced by phenomenology for instance Jaspers and Marcelthe philosophical legacy of existentialism is largely tied to the form it took as an existential version of phenomenology.
The existentialists welcomed Husserl's doctrine of intentionality as a refutation of the Cartesian view according to which consciousness relates immediately only to its own representations, ideas, sensations. According to Husserl, consciousness is our direct openness to the world, one that is governed categorially normatively rather than causally; that is, intentionality is not a property of the individual mind but the categorial framework in which mind and world become intelligible.
In turning phenomenology toward the question of what it means to be, Heidegger insists that the question be raised concretely: Existential themes take on salience when one sees that the general question of the meaning of being involves first becoming clear about one's own being as an inquirer.
According to Heidegger, the categories bequeathed by the philosophical tradition for understanding a being who can question his or her being are insufficient: One can find anticipations of existential thought in many places for instance, in Socratic irony, Augustine, Pascal, or the late Schellingbut the roots of the problem of existence in its contemporary significance lie in the work of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche.
Subsequent existential thought reflects this difference: A focus on existence thus led, in both, to unique textual strategies quite alien to the philosophy of their time. In Kierkegaard, the singularity of existence comes to light at the moment of conflict between ethics and religious faith.
Suppose it is my sense of doing God's will that makes my life meaningful. How does philosophy conceive this meaning? In doing so I lose my individuality since the law holds for all but my actions become meaningful in the sense of understandable, governed by a norm.
Now a person whose sense of doing God's will is what gives her life meaning will be intelligible just to the extent that her action conforms to the universal dictates of ethics. But what if, as in case of Abraham's sacrifice of his son, the action contradicts what ethics demands?
Kierkegaard[ 3 ] believes both that Abraham's life is supremely meaningful it is not simply a matter of some immediate desire or meaningless tic that overcomes Abraham's ethical consciousness; on the contrary, doing the moral thing is itself in this case his tempting inclination and that philosophy cannot understand it, thus condemning it in the name of ethics.
God's command here cannot be seen as a law that would pertain to all; it addresses Abraham in his singularity. Abraham has no objective reason to think that the command he hears comes from God; indeed, based on the content of the command he has every reason, as Kant pointed out in Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone, to think that it cannot come from God.
His sole justification is what Kierkegaard calls the passion of faith. Since it is a measure not of knowing but of being, one can see how Kierkegaard answers those who object that his concept of subjectivity as truth is based on an equivocation: The truths that matter to who one is cannot, like Descartes' morale definitif, be something to be attained only when objective science has completed its task.
Responding in part to the cultural situation in nineteenth-century Europe—historical scholarship continuing to erode fundamentalist readings of the Bible, the growing cultural capital of the natural sciences, and Darwinism in particular—and in part driven by his own investigations into the psychology and history of moral concepts, Nietzsche sought to draw the consequences of the death of God, the collapse of any theistic support for morality.
Like his contemporary, Fyodor Dostoevsky, whose character, Ivan, in The Brothers Karamazov, famously argues that if God does not exist then everything is permitted, Nietzsche's overriding concern is to find a way to take the measure of human life in the modern world.
Unlike Dostoevsky, however, Nietzsche sees a complicity between morality and the Christian God that perpetuates a life-denying, and so ultimately nihilistic, stance. Nietzsche was not the first to de-couple morality from its divine sanction; psychological theories of the moral sentiments, developed since the eighteenth century, provided a purely human account of moral normativity.
On the account given in On the Genealogy of Morals, the Judeo-Christian moral order arose as an expression of the ressentiment of the weak against the power exercised over them by the strong.
The normative is nothing but the normal.“Existentialism”, therefore, may be defined as the philosophical theory which holds that a further set of categories, governed by the norm of authenticity, is necessary to grasp human existence. To approach existentialism in this categorial way may seem to conceal what is often taken to be its “heart” (Kaufmann 12), namely, its character as a .
(Sartre calls human existence the 'for-itself', and the being of things the 'in-itself'.) Because it is not a thing, it is not subject to the laws of things; specifically, it is not part of a chain of causes and its identity is not akin to that of a substance.
For example, taking his point of departure in an existential perspective, Carter presupposes a relation between EL and the spiritual dimension of human nature [47, p. 3], whereas Yalom, who also departs from an existential perspective, rejects such a relationship [36, p.
]. Thirdly, most authors only partially motivate their choice for .
1. Existentialism is the philosophy that encompasses the belief of individualism and choice. It states that to give life a meaning, one is to be created.
In addition, the reason of existence is of no explanation nor purpose. (37) 2. I would define myself as an existentialist. Nevertheless Existentialism and Humanism provides a good introduction to a number of key themes in his major work of the same period, Being and Nothingness, and to some of the fundamental questions about human existence which are the starting point for most people’s interest in philosophy at all.
Nevertheless Existentialism and Humanism provides a good introduction to a number of key themes in his major work of the same period, Being and Nothingness, and to some of the fundamental questions about human existence which are the starting point for most people’s interest in philosophy at all.