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EXISTENTIALISM

Journal #1

(One or more of these will be revised and turned in for real)

Is it more important what you intend to be or think you are


or is it what you do. In other words, you think of yourself
as honest and yet you cheated on the last quiz (and
justified it somehow)? Are you the sum of your actions
or your intent? If you have bad thoughts about hurting
kittens, are you a bad person?
Before you thought about who you were, were you you?
I think, therefore, I am.
--Rene Descartes
Good intentions pave the road to hell.
--Fortune Cookie

MEDICALWARNING:
ASWITHTHEORIESOFEVOLUTION,PSYCHOANALYSIS,
BUDDHISM(ANDSOON)THATWEWILLLOOKATTHISYEAR,
EXISTENTIALISMDEALSWITHINTENSETHEOLOGICAL
(RELIGIOUSSTUDY)ANDONTOLOGICAL(STUDYOF
BEING)ASWELLASEPISTEMOLOGICAL(STUDYOF
KNOWLEDGE)ISSUES.MR.I.ISNOTENDORSING
EXISTENTIALISMASBEINGANYTHINGMORETHANMERE
THEORY.YOUARERESPONSIBLEFORLEARNINGTHE
TENETSOFEXISTENTIALISM;YOUDONOTHAVETOLOVE
THEMOREVENLIKEITALLTHATMUCH.
EXISTENTIALISMCANBEAWEEBITDEPRESSINGIFVIEWED
INALIFEISMEANINGLESS,GLASSHALFEMPTYLIGHT.
TAKEHEART!
THEREWILLBEANESSAY.THETOPICIS(SURPRISE
SURPRISE)EXISTENTIALISM.ISUGGESTYOUTAKECOPIOUS

NOTESIFYOUDONTWISHTOFAIL.

Do we have to take notes?


This Power Point will be online. It does
not, however, make total sense on its own
because it was created to be narrated by
the all knowing, all powerful Oz.
Therefore, you probably want to jot down
examples and explanations that go with
the slides. You will be tested on
understanding, NOT regurgitation.

Acomplexphilosophy
emphasizingthe
absurdityofreality
andthehuman
responsibilitytomake
choicesandaccept
consequences!

ANDREWWYETH
ChristinasWorld(1948)

Itwasduringthe
SecondWorldWar,
whenEuropefound
itselfinacrisis
facedwithdeathand
destruction,thatthe
existential
movementbeganto
flourish,popularized
inFranceinthe
1940s

GEORGIODECHIRICO
LoveSong

BigIdeasofExistentialism

Despiteencompassinga
hugerangeofphilosophical,
religious,andpolitical
ideologies,theunderlying
conceptsofexistentialism
aresimple

MARKROTHKO
Untitled(1968)

Cogitoergosum.

ExistencePrecedesEssence
Existentialismisthetitleofthesetofphilosophical
idealsthatemphasizetheexistenceofthehumanbeing,
thelackofmeaningandpurposeinlife,andthesolitude
ofhumanexistenceExistenceprecedesessence
impliesthatthehumanbeinghasnoessence(noessential
self).

Absurdism
Thebeliefnothingcanexplainor
rationalizehumanexistence.
ThereisnoanswertoWhyamI?
Humansexistinameaningless,irrational
universeandanysearchfororderwill
bringthemintodirectconflictwiththis
universe.

Youwillneverbehappyif
youcontinuetosearchfor
whathappinessconsistsof.
Youwillneverliveifyouare
lookingforthemeaningof
life.

Itwaspreviouslyaquestionoffindingout
whetherornotlifehadtohaveameaningtobe
lived.Itnowbecomesclear,onthecontrary,that
itwillbelivedallthebetterifithasno
meaning.

ChoiceandCommitment
Humanshavefreedomtochoose
Eachindividualmakeschoicesthat
createhisorherownnature
Becausewechoose,wemustacceptrisk
andresponsibilityforwhereverour
commitmentstakeus

Ahumanbeingisabsolutelyfreeandabsolutelyresponsible.Anguishis
theresult.JeanPaulSartre

DreadandAnxiety

MANRAY
LesLarmes(Tears)

DreadandAnxiety
Dreadisafeelingofgeneral
apprehension.Kierkegaardinterpretedit
asGodswayofcallingeachindividualto
makeacommitmenttoapersonallyvalid
wayoflife.
Anxietystemsfromourunderstanding
andrecognitionofthetotalfreedomof
choicethatconfrontsuseverymoment,
andtheindividualsconfrontationwith
nothingness.

NothingnessandDeath

EDVARDMUNCH
NightinSaintCloud(1890)

NothingnessandDeath
Deathhangsoverallofus.Ourawareness
ofitcanbringfreedomoranguish.
Iammyownexistence.Nothingstructures
myworld.
Nothingnessisourinherentlackofself.Wearein
constantpursuitofaself.Nothingnessisthecreative
wellspringfromwhichallhumanpossibilitiescanbe
realized.JeanPaulSartre

Today
You are going to read your pages
We will discuss what is happening as
you read
In that discussion, you are going to
use a new phrase
So first you need to learn it
So here is the next slide

Allexistentialistsareconcernedwiththestudyofbeingor
ontology.
TOREVIEW:Anexistentialistbelievesthatapersonslife
isnothingbutthesumofthelifehehasshapedforhimself.
Ateverymomentitisalwayshisownfreewillchoosing
howtoact.Heisresponsibleforhisactions,whichlimit
futureactions.Thus,hemustcreateamoralityinthe
absenceofanyknownpredeterminedabsolutevalues.
Goddoesnotfigureintotheequation,becauseevenifGod
doesexist,Hedoesnotrevealtomenthemeaningoftheir
lives.Honestywithoneselfisthemostimportantvalue.
Everydecisionmustbeweighedinlightofallthe
consequencesofthataction
Lifeisabsurd,butweengageit!


EdwardHopper

NewYorkMovie(1939)

HumanSubjectivity
IwillbewhatIchoosetobe
Itisimpossibletotranscend
humansubjectivity.
Therearenotrueconnections
betweenpeople
Myemotionsareyetanother
choiceImake.Iam
responsibleforthem.

EdwardHopper

NewYorkMovie(1939)

Subjectivity vs. Objectivity

In reason, subjectivity refers to the


property of perceptions, arguments, and
language as being based in a subject's
point of view, and hence influenced in
accordance with a particular bias.

As I Lay Dying presents a world that is


completely subjective (if you rule out
Faulkner ordering the chapters and
choosing the speakers)

Objectivity

Subjectivitys opposite property is


objectivity, which refers to such as
based in a separate, distant, and
unbiased point of view, such that
concepts discussed are treated as
objects.
A scientist and a spiritual man have
one thing in common each seeks to
understand an objective truth in the
world.

In philosophy, subjectivity refers to the


specific discerning interpretations of any
aspect of experiences. They are unique to
the person experiencing them, the qualia
that are only available to that person's
consciousness.

Though the causes of experience are thought


to be objective and available to everyone,
(such as the wavelength of a specific beam
of light), experiences themselves are only
available to the person experiencing them
(the quality of the color itself).

In philosophy, an objective fact means a truth that


remains true everywhere, independently of
human thought or feelings. For instance, it is true
always and everywhere that '2 and 2 make 4'.
A subjective fact is a truth that is only true in
certain times, places or people. For instance, 'That
painting is good' may be true for someone who
likes it, but it is not necessarily true that it is a
good painting pure and simple, and remains so
always no matter what people think of it.
If the painting could claim this, someone who
thought the painting was bad would be
completely wrong, in the same way someone who
says the sun goes around the earth is wrong. So
the reliability of mathematics is an objective truth,
whereas the beauty of paintings is probably a
subjective one

Humanexistencecannotbecapturedby
reasonorobjectivityitmustinclude
passion,emotionandthesubjective

Eachofusisresponsiblefor
everythingandtoevery
humanbeing.

SimonedeBeauvoir

GEORGIAOKEEFFE
SkyAboveWhiteCloudsI(1962)

No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre

Second
Empire
Second Empire is an
architectural style that
was popular during the
Victorian era, reaching
its zenith between 1865
and 1880, and so named
for the French
elements in vogue during
the era of the Second
French Empire.

Bad Faith
when

individuals negate their true nature in an


attempt to become a self they are not.

The

classic example is Sartre's waiter who is


always just slightly too friendly, too helpful, too
willing to play the part of a waiter rather than
being the less friendly, helpful and waiter-like
self he would be if he were not assuming the
identity of "waiter."

In assuming the role of "waiter," Sartre's character has


negated himself by denying his authentic ego with all its
characteristics not becoming of a waiter.

When the picture a man has of


himself is provided by those who
see him, in the distorted image of
himself that they give back to
him, he has rejected what the
philosopher has called reality. He
has, moreover, rejected the
possibility of projecting himself
into his future and existing in the
fullest sense.

Bad Faith

Bad Faith
In

social situations
we play a part that
is not ourselves. If
we passively
become that part,
we are thereby
avoiding the
important decisions
and choices by
which personality
should be formed

One of the most important implications of bad


faith is the abolition of traditional ethics and
morality.

Because being a moral person requires one to


deny authentic impulses and change one's
actions based on the will of a person other than
oneself, being a moral person is one of the
most severe forms of bad faith.

The mere appearance of another

person causes one to look at


him/herself as an object, and see
his/her world as it appears to the
other. This is not done from a
specific location outside oneself,
it is non-positional. This is a
recognition of the subjectivity in
others.

Sartre describes being alone in a park, at this time,


all relations in the park (e.g. the bench is between
two trees) are available, accessible and occurring-for
him.
When another person arrives in the park, there is
now a relation between that person and the bench,
and this is not entirely available to him. The relation
is presented as an object (e.g. man glances at
watch), but is really not an object, it cannot be
known. It flees from him. The other person is a
"drainhole" in the world, they disintegrate the
relations of which Sartre was earlier the absolute
centre.

Sartre and Seinfeld and


Subjectivity

Essence general components that


exist before a thing does. Outside of
time.
EXAMPLE A carpenter wants to
build a bed. He knows the essence
(wood frames, legs, etc.) of a bed
before the concrete bed exists. It
must exist in his mind first.

Consciousness

It has no physical propertiesisnt that


mystical or spiritual or otherworldly?

Isnt that an essence? Doesnt it perceive


the world before we can create it through
decisions?

Is situational exists only in context of others


in a particular situation. Isnt this bad faith?

Objects/ human subjects

In the world of objects, the essence comes


first. In the world of human subjects, it is
different.
MAN IS THE ONLY BEING THAT HAS
INTELLIGENCE TO CONCIEVE OF AN ESSENCE.
He exists (physically) before any
consciousness of himself.
HE CAN ONLY FORM THE ESSENCE OF HIMSELF
AFTER HE EXISTS

SomeFamous
Existentialists
SrenKierkegaard
(18131855)

FriedrichNietzsche
(18441900)

JeanPaulSartre(1905
1980)

AlbertCamus(1913
1960)

Awomanisnotbornshe
iscreated.
deBeauvoirsmostfamoustextis
TheSecondSex(1949),whichsome
claimisthebasisforcurrent
genderstudies

Ltranger(TheStrangerorThe
Outsider)
WrittenbyAlbertCamusin1942(whodidnotsailthe
oceanblue)

AlbertCamusdissociatedhimself
fromtheexistentialistsbut
acknowledgedmanslonelycondition
intheuniverse.Hismanofthe
absurd(orabsurdhero)rejects
despairandcommitshimselftothe
anguishandresponsibilityoflivingas
besthecan.
Basically,mancreateshimselfthroughthechoiceshemakes.
Therearenoguidesforthesechoices,buthehastomakethem
anyway,whichrenderslifeabsurd

Camusabsurdworld
Theworldofvaluesisneverpredictablenor
controllable.
Agapexistsbetweenmansintellectual
constructs(meaning)andtheuniverse
(reality).
Hecannotjustifynewvaluesbyappealto
convention.Americanshavealways
valuedfreespeech.

RememberMementoMori
NoessentialselfEarlisthesumofeach
decisionhemakes
Nosocialdesignedmorals,ethics,or
purpose(revengeishispurpose)
Norewardsorpunishmentsfromsociety
Noconnectiontohistory,orthefuture
WhatifGodhasalreadyleftusbehind?

NietzscheandNihilism
Everybelief,everyconsidering
somethingtrueisnecessarily
falsebecausethereissimplyno
trueworld.Nihilismisnot
onlythebeliefthateverything
deservestoperish;butone
actuallyputsonesshoulderto
theplow;onedestroys.For
sometimenowourwhole
Europeanculturehasbeen
movingastowardacatastrophe,
withatorturedtensionthatis
growingfromdecadetodecade:
restlessly,violently,headlong,
likeariverthatwantstoreach
theend(WilltoPower)

Out,out,briefcandle!
Lifesbutawalkingshadow,apoorplayer
Thatstrutsandfretshishouruponthestage
Andthenisheardnomore;itisatale
Toldbyanidiot,fullofsoundandfury,
Signifyingnothing.

Macbeth

RelationtoSartre
Conditions(socialconstructs)hemhimin,
isolatinghimfromtheworldinawaythat
catsandstonesarenotisolated.
Humanbeingforitself
Cat,stonebeingofitself

Alienationor
Estrangement
Fromallother
humans
Fromhuman
institutions
Fromthepast
Fromthefuture
Weonlyexistrightnow,
righthere
EDGARDEGAS

Labsinthe(1876)

Kurt Vonnegut. So it goes.


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