Existentialism and the Essence of Existence in 20th Century Philosophy

Existentialism and the Essence of Existence in 20th Century Philosophy

December 25, 2019 0 By Felso

One of the important trends of 20th century philosophy is existentialism.

Starting in the 15th century and 18-19. The way of thinking of science which gained momentum in 16th century philosophy had a great influence on philosophy. Existentialism emerged with the claim that human existence cannot be squeezed into this information circle against the understanding that scientific knowledge is the most ideal way of knowing. According to existential thinkers, the 20th century brought along wars and destruction as well as development and progress. This age has made it difficult for human beings to exist as individuals. Existentialism that emerges in such a process is the result of an effort to create a philosophical field of thinking on the one hand and to create attitudes towards practical life.

Philosophers accepted as existentialists; freedom, choice (free will), the meaning of existence, the existence-essence of some concepts and philosophical problems, such as emphasis. Especially II. The great suffering in World War II shaken the confidence in the modern world and increased the interest in the philosophy of existentialism.

The existentialist philosopher  Kierkegaard  criticizes Hegel’s philosophy for the thought that it diminished the 19th century thought structure and the importance of the individual  and laid the foundations of existential philosophy. The basic problem of man is not knowledge and knowledge, but existence. Existence is never ready; the human being is constantly synthesizing himself by making new decisions and making choices. The ability to make a choice is because it is free. Freedom requires responsibility for the results of the elections.

Nietzsche  also influenced existentialist philosophy from different perspectives  . Criticize the values ​​of modern man formed with the idea of ​​enlightenment. He says that the principles on which modern man’s values ​​are based have collapsed. According to Nietzsche, man must transcend society and himself. Transcendence is meaningful with the transcendence process itself, rather than turning to the specified goal.

Jaspers says that the thinking of the modern world and materialist and idealist philosophies are insufficient to explain existence. He says that sciences cannot explain the existence of man, and that philosophy can explain the subjective existence of man.

Sartre, one of the important representatives of existentialism,   expresses an argument that is at the center of the philosophical system with the judgment that ol Existence comes before essence .. This judgment states that human beings are not present in a predetermined world, and that they make up their essence and essentially self. The power of human being to form the essence of life is due to the ability to make choices, that is, to be free. Man’s freedom is not by birth but by consciousness.

Prepared by:  Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source:  Ömer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Department of Sociology 1st Grade Giriş Introduction to Philosophy ”and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade Tarihi History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook