Reply Sat 12 Jun, 2010 09:59 am
I have been told I am an existentialist and have no definite idea of what one is.

So could someone please describe for me what an existentialist is and what could be termed as a typical one.

What if any is the personality of an existentialist?

Thanks. sometime sun.
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Jun, 2010 10:15 am
@sometime sun,
sometime sun wrote:

I have been told I am an existentialist and have no definite idea of what one is.

So could someone please describe for me what an existentialist is and what could be termed as a typical one.

What if any is the personality of an existentialist?

Thanks. sometime sun.
to quote camus, an existentialist is someone for whom existence precedes essence.
0 Replies
 
plainoldme
 
  3  
Reply Sat 12 Jun, 2010 10:59 am
I tend to think that were you truly an existentialist, you would have googled the topic rather than ask others.
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Jun, 2010 11:20 am
@sometime sun,
There are about as many different kinds of existentialism as there are existentialists, making it difficult to extract a general character type. One basic definition (which nonetheless is not agreed on by everyone calling themselves an existentialist) is the belief that the meaning and value of your existence is determined by you alone, and likewise that you have the ability to influence the meaning and value only of your existence and no one or nothing else's. A frequently given example is a chair, the meaning of whose existence may seem quite natural or inherent--it exists to be sat on--but which many existentialists would deny: however much you may sit on the chair, so the argument goes, its "meaning" or "essence" is something you impose on it, not something that inheres in it. From the chair's point of view, so to speak, you are a non-factor.

Different existentialists react differently to such a belief. Some find it to be cause for great pessimism, since the implication is that you are powerless to influence the meaning and value of anything or anyone outside yourself. Others find it to be cause for great optimism, since the implication is that your meaning and value is something no one can take away from you.
0 Replies
 
jgweed
 
  8  
Reply Sat 12 Jun, 2010 12:43 pm
Some people, when they think of Existentialists think of people in black berets and black turtlenecks sitting in coffee houses chain smoking; others see Existentialists underneath every novel or play they happen to be reading.

The truth, at least from a philosophical perspective, is that Existentialism is a convenient label for a very diverse set of thinkers, some of whom even repudiated the term. There are "religious existentialists" whose lineage begins with Kierkegaard, and there are "atheist existentialist" who trace theirs to Nietzsche. There is the French connexion of thinkers in France around WW2; there is a German branch influenced by Husserl and Heidegger; there are the modern deconstructionists and another branch of Hermeneuticists and another of Lebensweltists. And all sorts of thinkers in the intellectual fringes sharing some " family resemblances."

If there are common characteristics (and there are exceptions of course) they are:
1. The belief that philosophy must begin with the individual living in his world.
2. The conviction that logic, deduction, and rationality only go so far in any philosophical explanation, and that other methods are needed to shed light on the human situation.
3. The above two have caused them to largely abandon traditional philosophical exposition as the only way to write philosophy while confining their discourse to other philosophers, and to instead employ popular essays, novels, plays, and public lectures as well in an effort to engage their fellow men.

Whether one is called an Existentialist or calls oneself an Existentialist is not a matter of subscribing to a list of philosophical dogma, but perhaps more an attitude toward philosophy and the methods used.






plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 07:31 pm
@jgweed,
My text for Philosophy whatever number the Metaphysics class had at the time was A Metaphysics of Authentic Existentialism. I could have sworn that the author was Etienne Gilson but, looking the book up, it seems that it was written by Leo Sweeney.
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 07:33 pm
@plainoldme,
The Catholic Church perceived Existentialism as an enormous threat at the time and had powered up to defend itself against what it saw as a movement.

Try asking the man on the street about Sartre.
Krumple
 
  3  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 07:35 pm
@sometime sun,
sometime sun wrote:

I have been told I am an existentialist and have no definite idea of what one is.

So could someone please describe for me what an existentialist is and what could be termed as a typical one.

What if any is the personality of an existentialist?

Thanks. sometime sun.


I disagree with who ever claimed that you are an existentialist.
Victor Eremita
 
  2  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 07:37 pm
@jgweed,
What!! You're saying I bought my black beret and black turtleneck for nothing?!
0 Replies
 
Victor Eremita
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 07:41 pm
@plainoldme,
Kierkegaard and Barth are well respected in the Catholic Church. Pope Pius XII thought Barth was the most important theologian since Aquinas; Pope Benedict and John Paul quoted Kierkegaard on several occasions.
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 08:18 pm
just reading along with nothing much to offer but I've notice that noone has mentioned Martin Buber, he was certainly a major influence on existentialist thinking considering he was a jewish theologian.
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jun, 2010 08:45 am
@Victor Eremita,
I left the Church long ago but in the 60s, many Catholic philosophers were afraid of Existentialism. The ultimate irony is that during my senior year, there was a quote from Satre on the bulletin board in the hallway between the school paper's office and the registrar's office. However, the journalists were very irreverent. We would send the "BVM" on assignment each week. The BVM was the Blessed Virgin Mary.
0 Replies
 
sometime sun
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jun, 2010 12:44 pm
@plainoldme,
So what would you call me then?
Theaetetus
 
  3  
Reply Mon 14 Jun, 2010 12:45 pm
@sometime sun,
What would you call yourself? Ultimately, that may be the more important answer.
sometime sun
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jun, 2010 12:47 pm
@Krumple,
What IST am I then?

What if any is the personality of an existentialist, are you one. could I use you as a model?
Give me a model member who would be coined existentialist?
Thanks
0 Replies
 
sometime sun
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jun, 2010 12:54 pm
@Theaetetus,
I have no idea, which is why I currently working on putting my own IST and ISM together.
I know I am a theoretical something or other,
I think something like Impressionist or Surrealist or perhaps just artist would do.
I am also a Beat I think.
I heard someone call themselves an Everything ist once I think this might work.

What philosophical branch most defines me? I really have no idea.

Which philosophical ist, ism, doctrine or branch best describes you?
(asking everyone)
0 Replies
 
sometime sun
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jun, 2010 01:33 pm
@jgweed,
Hey jgweed, I keep forgetting when we thank we are not seen for it.
I thanked you for your post because as is your usual it is good work.

Now you see this explanation and description of what an existentialist is does go some way to describing what I think of myself.
Thanks again
sometime sun
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jun, 2010 01:34 pm
@dyslexia,
What words has he said that you can share with us.

Thanks dyslexia, I like your hat, I have a tweed trilby.
jgweed
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Jun, 2010 03:07 pm
@sometime sun,
Just to illustrate how broad the term is, if there were a philosophical position most closely (but not absolutely) resembling my own (or vice versa), it would be Existentialism. It is the philosophical method, or perhaps a better word would be approach or perspective, that seems to me to have the best potential for explanation.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Jun, 2010 03:16 pm
@sometime sun,
sometime sun wrote:

What words has he said that you can share with us.

Thanks dyslexia, I like your hat, I have a tweed trilby.

Quote:
There are three principles in a man's being and life, the principle of thought, the principle of speech, and the principle of action. The origin of all conflict between me and my fellow-men is that I do not say what I mean and I don't do what I say.
Martin Buber
0 Replies
 
 

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