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    Existentialism

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    George
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    Existentialism

    Post  George on Fri 22 Dec 2017, 12:50

    I have just read about ANXIETY in Chapter 8, “Feeling”, of Existentialism – an introduction, guide and assessment by John Macquarrie.



    “Anxiety” is the author’s preferred translation of the German term Angst, favouring it over such alternatives as “dread” and “anguish”. So, what is anxiety – or rather, philosophical anxiety (to be distinghished from the “day-to-day anxieties of ordinary life”)? For Macquarrie, it is a “rare and subtle emotion”, having “a subtle and elusive character that thought can scarcely grasp”. The author analyses what three philosophers with an existentialist persuasion have to say on the subject. For Søren Kierkegaard, anxiety arises from having freewill: the potentially infinite choices that freewill opens up to the individual can have a dizzying effect. Martin Heidegger considers it as arising from a state of “falling” (Verfallen) in which the individual tries to run away from himself. It is like running away because we are afraid – but whereas fear always presupposes an object being feared, anxiety has no such intention (to use a term reintroduced from medieval philosophy by Franz Brentano in his philosophy of phenomenology).

    Thus we do not know what makes us anxious and we cannot point to anything. That which arouses anxiety is nothing, and it is nowhere.

    The individual, then, tries to run away from his authentic existence – and slips into what Jean-Paul Sartre calls “bad faith” (mauvaise foi). Sartre sees anxiety as a consequence of an ambiguity inherent in freedom. We are free agents, but we may not always want to be – for being free entails having to make choices and shouldering the responsibility for those choices we do make.


    Existentialism is the area of philosophy I feel most attracted to and intrigued by. And I was really into it – and into philosophy in general – at this time two years ago. I was then working with the catering agency OMNI Facilities Management, and not really fully enjoying what I was doing. Perhaps my spirit guides were trying to tell me that being a Sartrean mauvaise foi part-time waiter was not exactly the life I was cut out for.



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    Vera

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    Re: Existentialism

    Post  Vera on Fri 22 Dec 2017, 13:51

    The term Angst was coined by Kierkegaard; it was used by Heidegger in his monumental work Sein und Zeit (1927), “Being and Time”. Sartre, who was influenced by Heidegger, used the term angoisse (which is closer in meaning to the English word “anguish”) in his magnum opus on existentialism, L’être et le néant (1943) – translated into English (“Being and Nothingness”) by Hazel E. Barnes.

    Whereas Kierkegaard stressed the freedom side of Angst, Heidegger considered it from the point of view of the finitude of life. Sartre thought both of them had a point, their views complementing rather than contradicting each other.
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    George
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    Re: Existentialism

    Post  George on Sat 10 Mar 2018, 15:17

    In discussing THE EXISTENT AS AGENT in Chapter 9, “Action”, Macquarrie criticizes the sociological notion of “functional man” (whatever that is) as

    … hopelessly abstract.

    “Man is more than the tasks he performs and the roles he plays,” says the author. “His actions are more than empirically observable deeds, for in them he is both projecting and realizing an image of personhood.”



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    Re: Existentialism

    Post  Michael on Sat 12 May 2018, 20:45

    Jean-Paul Sartre and existentialists are mentioned in the episode “Meltdown” of Red Dwarf, which was shown on Dave a moment ago.
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    George
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    Re: Existentialism

    Post  George on Thu 05 Jul 2018, 09:22

    “Action implies FREEDOM …. One does not first exist and then become free; rather, to be human is already to be free.” Atheist and Christian existentialists have different views on the consequence to which freedom may lead: for the former, it leads to “tragedy and even absurdity”; for the latter, “hope and creativity will prove stronger than the negative forces”.



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    Re: Existentialism

    Post  Vera on Fri 06 Jul 2018, 16:26

    And hope is what is popularly believed to have remained in the box opened by Pandora after all the evils had escaped from it.

    Hope – where would we be without it? Where, indeed.

    Ian

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    Re: Existentialism

    Post  Ian on Sun 29 Jul 2018, 09:10

    I have just read about Heidegger, Martin (1889–1976) in the glossary of essential information in Chapter 12, “Philosophy and ideas”, of the section THE HUMAN ACHIEVEMENT in Volume 2, THE STUDY OF MAN, of the Reader’s Digest Library of Modern Knowledge.

    Heidegger’s existentialist magnum opus Sein und Zeit (“Being and Time”) was published in 1927 – well before the Nazis rose to power. When they did, Heidegger supported them, but denied that he was an existentialist (possibly to avoid persecution)! I think this is very cowardly and intellectually dishonest, indeed.
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    Re: Existentialism

    Post  George on Tue 16 Oct 2018, 20:11

    Macquarrie concludes his chapter on action with a look at DECISION AND CHOICE. Making a decision involves “pathos”:


    … for decision is never simply self-fulfilment. It is also self-renunciation. To decide for one possibility is ipso facto to renounce every other possibility that was open in the situation.

    Making a choice between possibilities may be hard, particularly if one is unsure of what they are or entail, but what matters is not so much the decision one makes but how one makes it.


    Not so much the content of the decision as simply its quality as a personal act, fully and intensely appropriated by the agent, is what matters.

    This was especially important to Kierkegaard. For him, making a decision is binding himself to a commitment in life, involving a “leap of faith” that is not to be undertaken lightly.



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    Re: Existentialism

    Post  Vera on Tue 16 Oct 2018, 20:28

    Don’t be afraid to make a decision you feel is right – even if it turns out to be wrong.

    He who acts according to his heart, as controlled by experience and sweet reasonableness, may act in error, but only in error will he learn his error. For the rest he will earn the merit of doing what he feels to be right, and no man can do more.
    —Christmas Humphreys, Karma and Rebirth, Chapter 5.

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