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Existentialism



Existentialism is a philosophy that doesn’t believe in God or transcendent powers, which leaves humans in a state of nothingness that they must define and work with by their own free will in order to thrive. Although definitions of existentialism vary, most will say that the philosophy espouses freedom and choice for each individual. By exercising our own freedom and choice and taking responsibility for our actions, we define our own meaning and thus can avoid suffering, boredom, alienation, nothingness, dread, and the absurdity of humanity that can come from experiencing an “existential crisis,” where life seems to lose all meaning. Existentialism was first defined by Soren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche, but didn’t gain much attention until the 1940s when Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, and Jean-Paul Sartre began to write and speak on all aspects of the philosophy.

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08:54

Existentialism: Crash Course Philosophy #16

Now that we’ve left behind the philosophy of religion, it’s time to start exploring what other ways might exist to find meaning in the world. Today we explore essentialism and its response: existentialism.

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The Stranger

With the intrigue of a psychological thriller, Camus's masterpiece gives us the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach.

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What Is Existentialism

We have ambiguous relations to the nineteenth century. For at least two decades, maybe more, we have felt ourselves from time to time, and more or less consciously, in revolt against it.

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FindCenterI love life—that’s my real weakness. I love it so much that I am incapable of imagining what is not life.

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07:26

Existentialism and the Internet—Why We’re Getting More Anxious

It is not as if the internet and age of information is bad, but it’s not as if it’s good. In this video, we explore why during an era where there is more information than ever about how to live and be happy, we are more confused and less happy than ever, in recent history.

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The Myth of Sisyphus

One of the most influential works of this century, The Myth of Sisyphus—featured here in a stand-alone edition—is a crucial exposition of existentialist thought.

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15:28

William Barrett on Existentialism, Part 1 of 3

An interview with William Barrett, Professor of Philosophy at New York University.

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FindCenterBut in the end one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.

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Man’s Search for Meaning

Viktor Frankl’s riveting account of his time in the Nazi concentration camps, and his insightful exploration of the human will to find meaning in spite of the worst adversity, has offered solace and guidance to generations of readers since it was first published in 1946.

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45:20

Heidegger and Existentialism with Bryan Magee (1977)

In this program, world-renowned author and professor Bryan Magee and William Barret of New York University examine the basic theory of existentialism as founded by Martin Heidegger, and later propagated by Jean-Paul Sartre.

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Finding Meaning