philosophical current

Existentialism ( or ) is a tradition of philosophical enquiry which takes as its starting point the experience of the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual. It is associated mainly with certain 19th- and 20th-century European philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief in that beginning of philosophical thinking. While the predominant value of existentialist thought is commonly acknowledged to be freedom, its primary virtue is authenticity. In the view of the existentialist, the individual's starting point is characterized by what has been called "the existential angst" (or variably, existential attitude, dread, etc.), or a sense of disorientation, confusion, or dread in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world. Many existentialists have also regarded traditional systematic or academic philosophies, in both style and content, as too abstract and remote from concrete human experience.Søren Kierkegaard is generally considered to have been the first existentialist philosopher, though he did not use the term existentialism. He proposed that each individual—not society or religion—is solely responsible for giving meaning to life and living it passionately and sincerely, or "authentically".Existentialism became popular in the years following World War II, thanks to Jean-Paul Sartre, who read Martin Heidegger while in a POW camp, and strongly influenced many disciplines besides philosophy, including theology, drama, art, literature, and psychology.
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movement: existentialism



Jean-Paul Sartre

French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic



No Exit

1944 play by Jean-Paul Sartre

author: Jean-Paul Sartre



novel by Jean-Paul Sartre

author: Jean-Paul Sartre


The Flies

literary work

author: Jean-Paul Sartre


Being and Nothingness

book by Jean-Paul Sartre

author: Jean-Paul Sartre




Le Fantome de Staline ( 1957 )

article by Sartre

author: Jean-Paul Sartre


Hermann Hesse

writer (1877-1962)


Søren Kierkegaard cover

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Søren Kierkegaard

Danish philosopher and theologian, precursor of Existentialism


Simone de Beauvoir cover

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Simone de Beauvoir

French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist, and social theorist


Witold Marian Gombrowicz cover

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Witold Marian Gombrowicz

Polish writer

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