Philosophy of life

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Not to be confused with Philosophy of biology.

There are at least two senses in which the term philosophy is used: a formal and an informal sense. In the formal sense, philosophy is an academic study of the fields aesthetics, ethics, epistemology, logic, metaphysics, as well as social and political philosophy. One's "philosophy of life" is philosophy in the informal sense, as a personal philosophy, way of life or Lebensphilosophie whose focus is resolving the existential questions about the human condition.[1]

The human situation[edit]

Main article: Human situation

The human situation appears to be a struggle between what is (existence) and what ought (essence) to be.

Main answers to the existential question[edit]

There are at least three prevailing theories on how to respond to the existential question.

Denial of essence[edit]

  • Regression, pre-human existence
  • Nihilism, denial of meaning

Denial of existence[edit]

Affirmation of essence and existence[edit]

Religion as an attempt to overcome the existential predicament[edit]

There are two basic forms of existentialism:

Religious existentialism[edit]

Religious existentialism is best exemplified by St. Augustine, Blaise Pascal, Paul Tillich, and the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard. Religious existentialism holds that there are two levels of reality, essence, which is the ground of being, and existence. Religion is the ultimate concern in this view.

Atheistic existentialism[edit]

Atheistic existentialism is best exemplified by Friedrick Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, and Jean-Paul Sartre. It holds that there is one level of reality, existence. In this view, each person constructs his own unique and temporary essence.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Timothy Fetler, Philosophy and Philosophy of Religion Charts Sun Press

Further reading[edit]

Academic journals[edit]