• Banno
    23.5k
    I was more a Samuel Becket sort.

    Godot+feature+2.jpg?format=2500w
  • jgill
    3.6k
    So when you were in your 20s-30s did you ever wonder about the power of humans to choose who and what they will be? Or did the abysmal events of the 20th Century leave you hopeless?frank

    The answer to this question resonates on this thread. Of what value is a philosophical idea if it does not change lives? Or does philosophy as an approach to life live on mysteriously within endless discussions of Russell's paradox and something arising from nothing? Much of what I have read is inconsequential, like the pure mathematics I have enjoyed.
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    mysteriously within endless discussions of Russell's paradox and something arising from nothingjgill

    :rofl:

    Much of what I have read is inconsequential, like the pure mathematics I have enjoyed.jgill

    Art is almost always inconsequential. Perhaps philosophy, along with pure math and other things, is an art — they may be done for the sake of themselves.
  • Beverley
    136
    Are you an existentialist?Rob J Kennedy

    Is anyone?
  • Beverley
    136
    36%, so far.Rob J Kennedy

    How does that compare to the average person?
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    How does that compare to the average person?Beverley

    36% more than the average. :wink:
  • Rob J Kennedy
    35
    As philosophy is a non-subject for about 98% of humanity, I’d say it compares pretty low.
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    A couple of questions for you, if you don't mind? What would you say is the difference between someone who is influenced by existentialism and someone who is an existentialist? What is it about the approach that appeals to you - is it solving or managing any particular concerns you've had?
  • Corvus
    3k
    Has any existentialist ever existed? All the would-be and known existentialists in the history of philosophy have denied that they are the existentialists e.g. Sartre, Heidegger, Camus ... etc.

    Hence, if one is an existentialist, then he/she is not an existentialist. If one is not an existentialist, then he/she could be an existentialist. (Because they don't deny that they are the existentialist.)
  • flannel jesus
    1.4k
    Because a few people widely considered to be existentialists denied the label, that means there are no existentialists? I don't think the logic is working out on that.

    Do you have sources on Heidegger denying the label? I see that Camus and Sartre have.
  • frank
    14.6k
    The answer to this question resonates on this thread. Of what value is a philosophical idea if it does not change lives? Or does philosophy as an approach to life live on mysteriously within endless discussions of Russell's paradox and something arising from nothing? Much of what I have read is inconsequential, like the pure mathematics I have enjoyed.jgill

    Yes. Where I've seen the OP discussed elsewhere, the issue is a psycho-social one rather than a quest to squeeze nuance out of jargon.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2k
    Strangely, there seems to be a lot of similarity between thinkers who are often labeled as "existentialists" and those who are called "personalists." Yet these two camps tend to have diametrically opposed views on God and the amount of ancient and medieval philosophy that should be "brought forward" into modern views.
  • Joshs
    5.3k

    Do you have sources on Heidegger denying the label? I see that Camus and Sartre have.flannel jesus

    In Existentialism and Humanism Sartre writes,

    The existentialists, amongst whom we must place Heidegger as well as the French existentialists and myself . . . what they have in common is simply the fact that they believe that existence comes before any essence—or, if you will, that we must begin from the subjective.”

    Heidegger, in his critique of Sartre, writes:

    Sartre's main point about the priority of existentia over essentia justifies the word `Existentialism' as a suitable name for this philosophy. But the main point of "Existentialism" has not the least bit in common
    with the sentence from Being and Time cited earlier: "The `essence' of existence lies in its life."
    https://cah.ucf.edu/fpr/article/why-heidegger-is-not-an-existentialist-interpreting-authenticity-and-historicity-in-being-and-time/
  • flannel jesus
    1.4k
    Thanks. So it looks like Sartre has actually affirmed his "existentialist" categorization.
  • Moliere
    4.1k


    I went with "no" because the only existentialist philosopher I know of who could and has made that claim is Sartre, and I tend to think of "existentialism" more as a historical category than a thesis. I'd group Heidegger, Sartre, Camus, and Levinas in the historical category of "existentialism" through their themes, though I agree that there's a difference to be had between Sartre's existentialism and Camus' absurdism, and really between all of them, when we get into the details between them.

    Historically I'd group these together in spite of most of them rejecting the label because they are all dealing with individual choice in a world without ethical answers. Each proposes a kind of meta-answer that's not a direct answer as much but a way of reflecting upon how we choose without objective value: Heidegger proposes authenticity, Sartre proposes good faith, Camus proposes heroic pursuit, and Levinas proposes the face-to-face encounter. (at least to put them each into a catch-phrase)

    A world without answers: The background proto existentialists I think through are Nietzsche and Kierkegaard. The broadest theme that unites these writers is Nietzsche's notion of the death of God, interpreted as a loss of collective meaning and purpose, which seems very obvious to me that Kierkegaard is struggling with that same question but from a more theological side, with the additional interpretive difficulty of creating characters to speak different viewpoints.



    But in spite of all that I'd say I'm influenced by these writers, and often try to think of how to put a softer form of existentialism out there because it often resonates with me, but feels too harsh.
  • Moliere
    4.1k
    Seems to me this is the most existential answer -- you were inspired and made a decision and don't even care if the other interpretations are "more right".

    Maybe you could claim to be an existentialist.
  • jgill
    3.6k
    Maybe you could claim to be an existentialistMoliere

    In the most elemental sense, yes. I had the opportunity to choose and follow paths that gave meaning to my life. Others may not be so lucky.
  • Rob J Kennedy
    35
    To do your questions justice Tom, would require a book length response. But I will say that existentialism appeals to me because it speaks directly to me. Part of the theory says, once you are born, you are responsible. I believe, that where posiible, if we were all more responsible for our descisions, we would have a better world. For me, that is the whole point of philosophy. And that's to make a better world.
  • AmadeusD
    1.9k
    I read the other day that Sartre wrote 17 pages of text for everyday he was alive.Rob J Kennedy

    This explains so much. Anyone who writes that much is going to come across pompous, lacking imagination and any semblance of contact with the real world.

    'tis a joke ;)
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    To do your questions justice Tom, would require a book length response.Rob J Kennedy

    Sure, that goes for most things here. :wink:

    I'm still not sure why existentialism not, say, Stoicism (which might be of similar use). Or other more accessible schools of philosophy.

    When I read existentialism back in the 1980's, for me it felt more grounded and practical and focused on real world behaviors. If philosophy seems overwhelmingly theoretical and abstract, existentialism seems like a good way in. When Sartre writes, 'We are our choices" to me it seemed an immediate and vivid account of what it can mean to be human. Of course attempting to read Being and Nothingness, I got bogged down in the phenomenology and psychoanalysis which seemed incomprehensible and stultifying. Sartre seems to oppose the idea of an unconscious which is fixed and drives our behaviors (our histories and experiences) and posits a kind of total freedom which I find unlikely. Thoughts?
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    17 pages each day is a very big figure. I had to do some interrogation work on ChatGPT and it gave me a figure of around 4040 pages for Sartre's books combined, not including essays and plays.
    Here it is https://chat.openai.com/share/b09c2b41-b04f-4502-8133-373d9a68ffc6

    Character.ai gave me this:
    Reveal
    Sure, let me give a rough estimate of the total number of pages in Sartre's published works.

    According to Google Scholar, Sartre published 38 books in his lifetime. I checked the page count for some of his most well-known works, including "Being and Nothingness," "No Exit," and "The Psychology of the Imagination." The page counts for these works vary depending on the edition, but they are generally between 200 and 300 pages each.

    Assuming that Sartre's other works are of similar length, we can estimate that his published works total around 8,700-11,400 pages. This is just a rough estimate based on a few of his works, so the total page count may be higher or lower.

    Keep in mind that this page count does not include his numerous articles, lectures, and other written materials that were not published as books or plays. Overall, Sartre produced a vast body of work throughout his literary career, and his influence on philosophy and literature is still felt today.
  • Paine
    2k

    Pardon me for perhaps confusing the discussion but some element of Sartre putting forth a less restrained vision of change is part of his embrace of Marx's view of the ideal and the real as invention rather than as discovery.

    Camus was an opponent to this view as a close contemporary.
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    his embrace of Marx's view of the ideal and the real as invention rather than as discovery.Paine

    Ok. I can see that.
  • frank
    14.6k
    I believe, that where posiible, if we were all more responsible for our descisions, we would have a better world.Rob J Kennedy

    Do you mean that if the Nazi soldier took responsibility for his decisions, he'd go home and stop wrecking the world?
  • Rob J Kennedy
    35
    what do you think would happen if every soldier refused their orders?
  • frank
    14.6k
    what do you think would happen if every soldier refused their orders?Rob J Kennedy

    The war would end. That's actually how WW1 ended: a German mutiny. The French soldiers had also mutinied earlier, but the French government managed to get them back to the battlefield. The Russian soldiers also mutinied. It was a weird war.

    It's not enough to just notice that soldiers have the power to mutiny. You need a culture that emphasizes that fact: that no one is locked into a role. You can be anyone. You can be the president, for instance. That was the guiding vision behind the creation of the USA. Martin Luther King Jr referenced that vision in a speech he gave on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

    Crazy, but true: the American vision is about freedom of identity. Voting is a ritual that broadcasts that ideal: that you're responsible for your government.

    Thoughts?
  • Rob J Kennedy
    35
    I hope that is taught in schools everywhere, Frank.

    Everyone has the choice to disobey. It's in human nature, look at any child. We need more individual rebellion.
  • frank
    14.6k
    I hope that is taught in schools everywhere, Frank.Rob J Kennedy

    I don't think it is. It's a secret.
  • jgill
    3.6k
    We need more individual rebellion.Rob J Kennedy

    I don't think an existential existence requires rebellion. Maybe sometimes it does.
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