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existentialism

Syllabification: ex·is·ten·tial·ism
Pronunciation: /ˌeɡzəˈsten(t)SHəˌlizəm
 
/

Definition of existentialism in English:

noun

A philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will.

Generally taken to originate with Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, existentialism tends to be atheistic (although there is a strand of Christian existentialism deriving from the work of Kierkegaard), to disparage scientific knowledge, and to deny the existence of objective values, stressing instead the reality and significance of human freedom and experience. The approach was developed chiefly in 20th-century Europe, notably by Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Simone de Beauvoir

Example sentences
  • As a philosopher she reacted to existentialism and logical positivism with a deep belief that philosophy should be about freedom and morality and love and God.
  • He published On Humanism, a letter to Beaufret in which he distanced his own philosophy from French existentialism.
  • The philosophy of existentialism affected and changed the attitude of the Western community to suicide greatly.

Origin

translating Danish existents-forhold 'condition of existence' (frequently used by Kierkegaard), from existential.

Definition of existentialism in:

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