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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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14:42

William Barrett on Existentialism, Part 3 of 3

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

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The Trial: A New Translation Based on the Restored Text

Written in 1914, The Trial is one of the most important novels of the twentieth century: the terrifying tale of Josef K., a respectable bank officer who is suddenly and inexplicably arrested and must defend himself against a charge about which he can get no information.

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15:19

William Barrett on Existentialism, Part 2 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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Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and No One

Nietzsche was one of the most revolutionary and subversive thinkers in Western philosophy, and Thus Spoke Zarathustra remains his most famous and influential work.

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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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