ACE Class Report – Philosophy and Existentialism Part 2.
Title: Philosophy and Existentialism Part 2.
Instructor: Professor Robert C. Solomon
University of Texas – Austin
Why I chose to take this class:
To find out what is existentialism. This is an entire new topic in philosophy that I have not had the opportunity to explore. Existentialism will allow me to learn something new to challenge my mind and how to think critically.
What I learned from this class:
Existentialism is a philosophical movement that developed in Europe in the 1800’s and 1900’s. It is called Existentialism because most of its members are primarily interested in the nature of existence or being usually meant human existence. In the 1800’s Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche and Edmund Husserl had the greatest influence on existentialism. In the e1900’s the prominent existentialist were Albert Camus, Jean Paul Sarte, Gabriel Mercel, Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger, Nicholas Berdyaev and Martin Burber.
What is Existentialism? Traditional philosophers tended to consider philosophy as a science. They tried to produce principles of knowledge that would be objective, universally true and certain. The existentialist reject the methods and ides of science as being improper for philosophy. The existentialists reject the methods and ideals of science s being improper for philosophy. They argue that objective, universal, and certain knowledge is unattainable ideal. They also believe this ideal has blinded philosophers to the basic features of human existence. The existentialist do not make the traditional attempt to grasp the ultimate nature of the world of abstract systems of thought. Instead , they investigate what it is like to be an individual human being living in the world. The existentialists stress the fact that every individual, even the philosopher or scientist seeking absolute knowledge, is only a limited human being. Thus every person must face important and difficult decisions with only limited knowledge and time in which to make these decisions. The existentialists conclude, therefore, the human choice is subjective. They must make their own choices. They are free, but because they freely choose, they are completely responsible for their choices. They emphasize that freedom is necessary accompanied by responsibility. Furthermore since individual are forced to choose for themselves, they have their freedom and therefore their responsibility thrust upon them. They are condemned to be free. For existentialist, responsibility is the dark side of freedom when individual realize that they are completely responsible for their decisions, actions and belief, they are overcome by anxiety. They try to escape from this anxiety by ignoring or denying their freedom and their responsibility. They succeed only in deceiving themselves. They criticize this flight from freedom and responsibility into self-deception. They insist that individual must accept full responsibility for their behavior, no matter how difficult. If an individual is to live meaningfully and authentically, they must become fully aware of the true character of the human situation and bravely accept it. The existentialists believe that people learn about themselves by examining the most extreme forms of human experience. They write such topics as death and the shadow it cast on life; the difficulty, if not the impossibility of maintaining a satisfactory relationship with other people; the ultimate futility and absurdity of life; the terrifying possibility of sucide; alienation of the individual from society, nature and other individuals;the inescapable presence of anxiety and dread. The existentialists feel that philosophy should not be divorced from art. they believe that it is the responsibility of all persons to engage in these disputes and commit themselves to one side.
How will this class contribute to my success upon release:
The knowledge gained form this class will help me think critically before I make a decision or commitment. It will prevent me form recidivism. Also it trains me to teach a new topic.