Talk:Existentialism/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3


Common threads POV

The "common threads" section flatly states that there is no predefined "human nature" - that might be an element of existentialism, but I doubt it is true. In any case, there should be some reference to who makes this claim, and the section re-worded to take this into account. -- Beland 22:17, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

That is one of the fundamental themes of existentialism. Usually I'm all for references, but this is going a little far. -Smahoney 16:15, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Smahoney: it's like asking for references for a statement saying that a common belief amongst Christians is a belief in Jesus Christ as savior, i.e. defining one’s personal "existence" is as key to Existentialism as "Christ" is to Christians. mwazzap 11:25, 9 July 2006 (UTC)


I don't know what can be done about it, but it would apear someone has repeatedly attempted to change the page. I don't know if it's the editors whom he is having the argument with, but the result is a rather ugly page when you have someone adding their little caps-lock cries in the text: "STOP ERASING WHAT I'M WRITING", "THE FOLLOWING IS ALL LIES". I don't really know the system for editing on wikipedia well enough to say, but could the editors just pick one line and go with it, and make it a trustworthy article containing fact, and non-biased comentary on popular opinion! This stuff is what degrades Wikipedia!!

readability to laypersons

I maintain that this article should have high readability to one not well-versed in philosophy. Remember that the same phrase which embodies an idea and has predefined meaning for one who's been studying this can mean nothing to one not knowing the ideas a priori. I believe the following concepts need more explanation, as in the English language, they don't have sufficient a priori meaning to throw in an article:

  • Does not treat the individual as a concept
  • existence precedes essence
  • That is, it argues against definitions of human beings either as primarily rational, knowing beings who relate to reality primarily as an object of knowledge, or for whom action can or ought to be regulated by rational principles, or as beings who can be defined in terms of their behavior as it looks to or is studied by others.

--Loodog 03:29, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Im a lay person and this third paragraph I had to read 3 times before it sunk in, Im degree educated however not in philosophy.[SJ.5-Oct-06]

I second this concern, I am a pretty sharp student and this article is not accessible at all to a layman. Try not to get wrapped up in every specialized term you know when editing! -- 05:00, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

I too must agree. I don't have a PhD but I certainly comprehend at a level above most and I too must re-read virtually every paragraph. This article is extremely sophisticated and intertwined with vocabulary the normal person would identify as not in the English language. A revision including "lay language" would be much appreciated.

I am not entirely sure that the concepts of existentialist philosophy, or the thought processes that lead to any discovery of their validity or veracity, are necessarily simple for the layman to accept. Being, as modern philosophy so often is, full of mental, cognitive, spiritual, and otherwise conceptual challenges, existentialism may very well not sink in to a person's cognitive space at first. I'm 50, and I'm just barely ready to tackle it conceptually, even though I was a college honors student trying desperately to see some sense in it (albeit from a Southern-Baptist-raised mental perspective) thirty years ago. - 21:51, 24 July 2007 (UTC) In other words: Existentialism is inherently hard to understand. I'm 50 and I still don't get it. (talk) 04:37, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

There is a lay explanation for any concept. Quantum mechanics has layperson's explanations that appear in the newspaper all the time. I've finally, after much reading come up with a lay explanation:
I've yet to read something that contradicts this interpretation.--Loodog 00:28, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

The Heidegger excerpt under "Criticisms" needs either a) explanation or b) to be expanded. As is it is "unaccessible to laypersons". 19:12, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

You mean INaccesibleGintyfrench 08:43, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Post Modern vs. Existentialism and rock and roll

Postmodern film techniques can be used to tell an existential story because postmodernism itself is primarily a "technical" movement. From digital sampling to collage to the self-referencial dialogue of performance artists and rap artists, only technique and certain dismissals can be made with postmodernism. Existenialism can be put to use by capitalist fundamentalists and social darwinists to hold "the other" at bay for the purposes of self-enrichment and engrandizment in a mertiocracy. As for music there actually are some relivent artists as I respectfully disagree with the poster below. Kraftwerk as the first true "electronic" band searches gracefully and intensly for authentic humanity in an impersonal and mechanical society. This was felt so keenly that huge numbers of modern musicians will cite them. They helped allow for Rap music and "electronica" music which are more post-modern. Rap's constant self-reference and sampling and "electronica's" disregard for authentic objective reality and disinterest in the acknowledgment of death make them postmodern forms. Kraftwerk could be a parcial contributer to existneialism in music. Joy Division's aknowledgement of death added to Kraftwerk's search for authenticity in an impersonal and mechinal world synthesizes exitential concepts futhur. Both groups are acknowldged by scores of musicians and critics as serious influences on contemporay music unlike the artists mentioned below. 04:40, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm with you. Back in the day this article had a list of like fifty movies with 'existential' themes, and someone rightfully removed most of them. It looks like this kind of thing is creeping back. Many movies, for example, feature characters who struggle to figure out who they are and what the meaning of life is. This doesn't make the movies 'existential.' Two or three movie references should suffice, so I deleted the ones that didn't say the movie was centered around existentialism. -- 02:46, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

explanation of philosophy needs work

The explanation of the philosophy needs work, its vague and unclear. As someone who is majoring in the subject, at a well respected university, I think the explanation requires expert attention. The entry in the Stanford encyclopedia, though contains a lot of the information needed to provide suitable infomation

Philosophical movement?

In my philosophy class we debated whether or not existentialism was actually a philosohpical movement or just more of a way of life. We concluded by saying that existentialism was more of a way of life instead of a philosophical movement. SABAGBY 22:30, 15 November 2006 (UTC) Sarah

My philosophy book by Douglas J. Soccio says, "Ironically, today too many people talk about existentialism as if it were a clearly defined school of philosophy. It is not. Let us resist reducing the existentialists to an abstraction, to a category, by acknowledging that there is no such thing as an existentialist school of philosophy." However, this page calls it a "philosophical movement" and not a philosophy, so maybe calling it a philosophical movement is correct. I dunno. PADutchman

Incomprehensible introduction

The opening paragraphs quite simply incomprehensible to anybody who hasn't majored in philosophy/existentialism. In other words, I think it needs to be rewritten to a more simpler form so that a complete idiot (me) can understand it.TommyStardust 16:56, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

I've tried to do just that, apparently in vain. Insofar as I understand existentialism, it's about man being born into a world with his life and existence having no preset meaning. He sort of stumbles around and through life creating a meaning for his life and existence. I believe there is also an axiom in there about independence and personalization of that meaning, i.e. no one can tell you your life's meaning just as much as you can never tell it to anyone else. I invite you to change the opening paragraph if you have a more accessible way to say all this.--Loodog 22:38, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
" Insofar as I understand existentialism, it's about man being born into a world with his life and existence having no preset meaning. He sort of stumbles around and through life creating a meaning for his life and existence. I believe there is also an axiom in there about independence and personalization of that meaning, i.e. no one can tell you your life's meaning just as much as you can never tell it to anyone else. " Neat interpretation Loodog, could expand on this for a layman's definition for the intro paragraph. Gronkmeister 16:52, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
I have tried a new intro paragraph, hopefully clearer. --Awenty 20:20, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

"Existentialism often is associated with anxiety, dread, awareness of death, and freedom."

Is this vandalism or what? How can a philosophical thought be associated with such states of mind? I have serious doubts about this statement.

I'm not sure it is vandalism at all - anxiety, dread, awareness of death are all found when we're aware of what its like to be a totally free agent in the world - Heidegger uses the term 'forlorness' instead of anxiety but there is some agreement on these points. --Awenty 13:05, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

this entry should be scrapped

Frankly, I was disturbed to read about existentialism on wikipedia. It reads like something a child might have written. Just from reading the first paragraph or two one can draw the conclusion that the author or authors know very little about the subject, and have a rather low opinion of it. I"m sure knowledgable people have contributed valuable information to this subject, but it appears that very little to none of this remains. 13:45, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

You're right. The quality of Wikipedia's philosophy articles is an ongoing problem, but this is one of the worst I've seen. -- WikiPedant 13:59, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I took a run at rewriting the first 2 paragraphs, which contained some pretty outrageous material (some of it cute vandalism, I suspect). -- WikiPedant 20:58, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

What needs to be done (Feb 2007)

I have tried to give the article a more coherent structure so as to make it more readable. As it stands, the article is of varying quality. While the Historical and Criticism sections are good, it lacks a proper introduction, the major themes section is fragmented and fails to distinguish between essential elements of existentialism and those particular to Sartre, and the Existentialism since 1970 section is poorly written, probably original research and refers disproportionally to "Michael Szymczyk". Any other suggestions for improvement? Skomorokh 22:16, 19 February 2007 (UTC)


I actually suffered from angst a while back but the cause was the complete opposite. I found the idea of determinism disturbing and tried positively reenforce my free will. Of course, I now believe that I'm a free agent and now I feel alright. This got me thinking: Does existentialism actually apply to human experience? The fact that it rejects empiricism doesn't help either.-- 14:41, 23 February 2007 (UTC)


Everything, Everything!

I think we've mentioned every affected modern man/concept/thing on this discussion. But Nietzsche? Nietzsche?! Bah! I spit on your grave. The detatched moral sentiment in here is overwhelmingly underwhelming. 16:59, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

I think Nietzsche would've said, "Maggots -- Decadent beings like to spit on the graves of great men. Their overwhelming resentment makes it hard for them to resist infesting works of great genius." Moonwalkerwiz 01:18, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

Belmondo school of existentialism

I removed the following sentence from the section Dostoevsky, Kafka, and the literary existentialists:

"The Belmondo school of existentialism, inspired by Genet, the criminal world, and French society's underclasses are seen now as a detective fiction sub-genre."

Frankly, I have no idea what this sentence is about, and how it is relevant here. At least there should be an explanation what the Belmondo school of existentialism is.

Max Stirner

I think Max Stirner should have a mention for being the precursor of Nietzsche. There are many existential themes in his work and some evidence that Nietzsche read and was influenced by his work, which caused a crisis in Nietzsche's life. See the 'Max Stirner' wiki article for more details, which also provides a link to information on the Nietzsche crisis.

Max Stirner should be mentionned as an influence on existentialism, but we cannot consider him an influence on Nietzsche. No one is certain whether Nietzsche ever read Max Stirner or, for that matter, Kierkegaard. Accordingly, we have no proof that Nietzsche ever owned books by Stirner, nor has he ever quoted or spoke of him: therefore writing him in as an influence on Nietzsche is speculative at best.

List of existentialist authors

Maybe there should be a section or new page listing existentialists? 19:55, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Living Existentialists

We are impressed that existentialism has such a deep and rich history. But there must be some original existential thinkers still alive. I make bold to suggest myself: James Leonard Park. My website is called "An Existential Philosopher's Museum": I do not know of any other existential philosophers still alive and writing. But I would be very pleased to discover that there are some. If so, they should be listed somewhere in this article on existentialism. One problem will be deciding just who is a real existentialist. I suggest letting the readers decide for themselves. 14:02, 26 November 2006 (UTC)James Park, November 26, 2006

Emile Cioran

Is it possible Cioran is added into this as a possible satirist of existentialism in some forms? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 11:31, 24 December 2006 (UTC).


Listen: Ionesco is NOT an existentialist. His plays may have demonstrated existentialist themes but if I looked really hard I could say that about just about anything. Ionesco criticized existentialism, hated philosophy in general, sided specifically with the Pataphysicians, and in general with the Surrealists. I don't appreciate the mischaracterization of his philosophies. I tried to change it to something MUCH more accurate but it was changed back. Please, if you have only a scanty understanding of Ionesco don't make him seem like something he's not! If I'm wrong, please prove me wrong. 19:24, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

and Kerouac, and Lit in general

Not to repeat too much things said in previous discussions, but this is a rediculous aspect of this page: How do you qualify a writer as an existentialist? To qualify Jack Kerouac as an existentialist just seems silly. Is it necessary or enlightening? Does it tell us anything interesting or new about Kerouac or existentialism? Look, I love Kerouac, and I'm happy abt his in more pages than he really needs to be in. But good sense tells me it's rediculous to have him here.

I propose this useful way of determining if a writer can be called an existentialist: If a writer is a SELF-IDENTIFIED or TRADITIONALLY IDENTIFIED existentialist it's valid to label them so. Kafka, for example, is not a self-identified existentialist, but to label him one (as he's been traditionally labelled) certainly tells us something about Kafka and tells us something about existentialism. Ionesco, as I said in my previous post, was not a self-identified existentialist. The Absurdists were associated by Martin Esslin with existentialism though he never actually called them existentialists. But you should give the full picture: saying Ionesco employs existentialst themes leaves open the misinterpetation that he believed in -- or even liked -- existentialism. To frame it as I've framed it gives a much more accurate picture. For Kerouac, I doubt there's a valid argument for his inclusion on this page. Yes he says in "About the Beat Generation": "The same thing was almost going on in the postwar France of Satre [sic] and Genet" but he mentions the Lost Generation in that same sentence. He's no more an existentialst than he is a member of the Lost Generation. 19:24, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Dostoevsky added a line to the section discussing Dostoevsky that either needs to be referenced, or is untrue.

The original statement reads: Throughout Crime and Punishment we see the protagonist, Raskolnikov, and his character develop away from existential ideas and beliefs in favor of more traditionally Christian ones. added a comma to add: , showing that Dostoevsky was still a christian and that exististentialism was in its early days.

The statement was revised by Matthew Liberal as , showing that Dostoevsky was still very much a Christian thinker.

Edit History

I added a citation tag, but I don't think this can be cited, hopefully I am wrong here, but this claim seems a bit outside of Dostoevsky's ideas. Once sited, this information should be arranged so that it shows Dostoevsky commenting on Christian ideals, rather than being influenced by christianity.

Just wondering if a change should be made, Gronkmeister 16:16, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Just a quick observation regarding this statement in the article: "Many of Dostoyevsky's novels, such as Crime and Punishment, have covered issues pertinent to existential philosophy while simultaneously refuting the validity of the claims of existentialism (notably the "superman" theory advocated by Nietzsche.)" Has it never troubled anybody that Dostoyevsky refuted Nietzsche's "superman" theory 20 years before Nietzsche ever published it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) (05:14, 23 May 2007)
No, nor does it seem to bother people that Dostoevsky described the whole revolutionary movement and the fall out of the movement in Demons long before Lenin. Dostoevsky was well.. draw your own conclusions.

LoveMonkey 15:07, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

Addition to Cinema Section.

Perhaps adding the movie Life Is Beautiful to the section? I know it is becoming very popular for a brief overview in existentialism (especially in High School and College classes) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 03:41, 29 March 2007 (UTC).

The boxed information " about This April 2007 may contain original research or unverified claims."

The warning under the Major concepts in existentialism says the following "This article or section may require restructuring to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. Please discuss this issue on the talk page. This article has been tagged since February 2007." After it another message, shown with a question mark in a green circle, states that "This April 2007 may contain original research or unverified claims. Please help Wikipedia by adding references. See the talk page for details." I recommend that the message be changed so it makes sense. The message could be something like the following: This article (or the following section. This depends on whether it applies to the rest of the article or just the section) may contain original research or unverified claims as of April 2007. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dbmoodb (talkcontribs) 07:29, 18 April 2007 (UTC).

Kierkegaard and Nietzsche Section

There has to be a better way to describe them than having "banged too soon"... Tonytnnt 09:04, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Bah, Vandalism. Poor Yorick 09:38, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
Fixed it, and removed some unneeded praise from the paragraph. darkskyz 09:41, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Existential Cinema

no American Beauty? *frown*· Lygophile has spoken 06:18, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

How about adding The Man Who Wasn't There? -asmadeus 20:57, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
The evolution of this page has been, in the past to put such existential classics as:
      • American Beauty
      • The Graduate
      • Garden State
      • TMNT 2
    • However, this quickly snowballed into an interminable list based on editors' opinions. It seems the slippery slope approach has been discarded in favor of the "only put it if sourced" criterion. I think American Beauty is a prime example of existentialism personally, but I can see why it shouldn't be added without a source saying it is.--Loodog 23:24, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
        • This is a pending Philosophy PhD student's page with an excellent categorization of movies by philosophical theme, if it's useful to you.--Loodog 23:35, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Existentialism since 1970

I firmly believe that paragraph Existentialism since 1970 is rubbish. Completely nothing is written there about philosophy. I think it should be deleted or rewritten, but without any "neo-existentialism" equilibristics. I'm quite well into continental philosophy and have NEVER heard about neo-whatever-it-is. Another thing I want to mention is lack of paragraphs about for example Russian existentialism. Hraharu 15:45, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Aquinas and Existential Philosophy

The original "existential philosophy" was the result of St. Thomas Aquinas' interpretation of the name of God as "I Am". St. Augustine had used the name "I Am", to define God, by essences or negatives, i.e. describing the essence of God by listing what God was not. This is called "essential" or "negative" theology. St. Augustine asked the question: "I Am" what? Aquinas saw it differently. He interpreted "I Am" to be the essence of God. It is the essence of God "to exist". Study in this area led to "existential theology" and "existential philosophy". Of course, this has very little in common with existential philosophy as defined in the 20th century. There is no article on the existential philosophy of Aquinas. My question: Should this topic be covered in this section, or should a new page be started? I am willing to write it, either way. I would just like to get some feed back from the readers before I do this. A E Francis 03:47, 6 June 2007 (UTC)A E Francis


This edit was described as vandalism, but is probably good faith. Nonetheless, a blogspot treatise on existentialism is borderline Linkspam. Gaff ταλκ 06:06, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Szymczyk's Toilet: The Novel.

There's considerable mention given to a novel by Szymczyk titled "Toilet: The Novel" in the Neo-Existentialism and Post-Postmodernism section. Yet, I have never heard of this author or novel. Amazon has only 4 customer reviews, Wikipedia does not have an entry for the author, and the web site for the book is non-functional. Comparing to Palahniuk's work along Fightclub, this is not relative to the topic, and therefore seems to be a self promotion. I would like to vote to take it out. Thoughts? -asmadeus 19:47, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Agreed! -- Sfmammamia 03:38, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
Unilaterally nuked it. Skomorokh incite 21:37, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
I just deleted it again. It was added by an anonyous user (you can find him below, offering his opinions on Palahniuk). I see no indication of notability or even relevance. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 02:32, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Will you please stop deleting the additions to this section & see the references before deleting material! Thank you. DanielJennings724 20:36, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Notable examples of existentialism in popular culture

just wanted to point out, this whole section is dealt with under cinema. maybe worth expanding the cinema section with evidence of how the success of the films has increased the popular awareness of Existentialist themes. Artlondon 16:58, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Please read the above discussion before suggesting this.--Loodog 20:47, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Main image

Per our policy on non-free content item #1, we can't use non free material when a free alternative could be found or created to serve the same encyclopedic purpose. Then, if we want to have an image to stay at the top of the article, illustrating the general concept of Existentialism, we should use any of the many possible free images. The book cover Image:Sartre Nausea 1964.jpg, unfortunately, isn't free, and can't be used.

Besides that, any non-free image can only be used in an article if it has a valid fair use rationale written (on the image's description page) for that article. Image:Sartre Nausea 1964.jpg has no such rationale, and considering the point above, I don't think it's possible to write a valid one.

I'm removing the image once more. Please, let's not re-add images against our policy. It will be promptly reverted and, if persisted, may be considered vandalism. --Abu badali (talk) 00:15, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

It seems the image was reinserted again. I appreciate that this time an edit summary was used. Thismightbezach said in that that image was used because "Nausea is one of the founding elements of the philosophy". Unfortunately, this doesn't supersedes our policy mentioned above: it's still possible to illustrate the concept of "Existentialism" with something other than a copyright protected cover image of a work.
I'm doing a step forward this time and actually suggesting an alternative. I noticed the article mentions Kierkegaard and Nietzsche as precursors of Existentialism, and as we have images of them with copyright expired, I've used them as the main illustration in the article.
This is more of a proof-of-concept than anything. Feel free to edit it to any other freely licensed images you wish. But, please, do not re-add the non-free image. It has been explained that it's against the policy to replace free images by non-free alternatives.
I'm sure you will understand. --Abu badali (talk) 12:10, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Original research?

There are 3 references in the post-existentialism and post-post modernism section. What does the tagger mean "may contain original research", and further, I haven't found who the tagger is, which makes it hard to communicate with them. That would be equal to a drive by tagger. Richiar 02:16, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Those references are fakes.F. Simon Grant 15:01, 10 September 2007 (UTC)


I'm no expert on this subject but after reading Marx's early work, Marxist-humanist author and Erich Fromm's Marx's concept of man I feel that Marx deserves a mention as his work seems to contain some existentialist threads. Also I think Satre and Camus were communists.

Sarte was a communist, not sure about Camus. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rajkashana (talkcontribs) (09:07, 20 October 2007)
Some authors say that Camus kept his communist beliefs until Stalin's crimes became known in the West, while others consider the Soviet intervention in Hungary to be the moment of disappointment for him. Alexemanuel

The Numerous Palahniuk Mentions

These do a real disservice to this philosophy, and stick out like a sore thumb. Chuck Palahniuk is a hack. His books do not deal in philosophy, and he is not versed in philosophy. Where one sees some philosophical idea represented in a book of his, it is either there by accident (or incidentally), or else not there, and the reader, being perhaps preoccupied with philosophy and a particular philosophical doctrine, has imagined it. It's one thing to include Beckett and Ionesco in this article- while they were not trying to write philosophical plays, they did so, and those plays, being high art, are worthy of being looked into as containing possible philosophical statements. But Palahniuk is not a serious artist, and the repeated mentions of Fight Club in this article make it seem as if written by a 14 year old. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:36, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

I agree with a few of your points and that section seems erroneous and out of place. I do not think it is necessary to attack Palahniuk as a writer but his relevance to this topic is highly questionable. My library has a copy of the cited book and I will check the validity of the reference when I get a chance. Alex Barrow 18:12, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
I also agree, a single mention of Paluhniuk would be more than enough. The three paragraphs under "Neo-existentialism and post-postmodernism" are certainly erroneous. Camus needs a paragraph in this section, which would nicely fill the hole left by rightly trimming up this section. Ryoutou 13:59, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
I disagree. Who is to say that Palahunik is not a serious artist? That is an opinion. Granted, he is popular, but I do not think the purpose of Wikipedia is to make judgements concerning who should belong, and who should not belong, to these articles. The purpose should be to provide factual information, and allow the user to make their own judgement call. Palahunik's works do contain existential and postmodern elements, which are the cornerstone of the postpostmodern and the neoexistential. That fact should not be disputed.

I have also noticed that this article has been heavily edited over the past year. Did it not originally include references to several recent European & American writers, rather than just Palahunik. I have reinstated into the text the author Dick and Szymczyk, and suggest new, original research be done to provide an accurate list of the many meaningful writers that have contributed to Existentialism since 1970. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:55, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Neo-existentialism and postpostmodernism are simply nonsense -- one person or a small group self-promoting. If anybody has proof to the contrary (and I've looked for it myself) please present it here. Please -- non-sockpuppet users with actual names -- defend the existence of these movements beyond a couple of friends who hang out. I've searched (admittendly in a dispassionate way) but can't find any significant reference. Just to defend my rep, I'm more offended by the marrying of existentialism to postmodernism than I am to the non-notability of the movements. I just have to add, though, a little defense against Ionesco's designation as philosophical high art which makes him sound much more snooty than Palahniuk. I think Ionesco would be offended by the designation "high art" and especially by the implication that his plays were philosophical. Or that his plays were even plays. I agree that "high art" and "not serious" are just opinions here, and Ionesco would probably prefer to be called "not serious." I would acquiesce, however, that Palahniuk doesn't by any means have the notability implied by his presence on this page and pre-1970's writers should be represented much more thoroughly before the sockpuppets ... I mean, the genuinely interested editors start adding in Palahniuk, Szymczyk, Dick, Harry, Joe-Bob, the Kitchen Sink, etc.F. Simon Grant (talk) 20:34, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Have you read the source? Best, Steven (1991). Postmodern Theory. New York: Guilford Press. ISBN 9780898624182.
There really is no justifiable rationale for removing relevant, reliably sourced, non-slanderous material. Skomorokh incite 00:06, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
That's not really a rebuttal. And the justification is that it's not notable. Admittedly I only scanned the index, but that's a basic test of notability: If this stuff you talk about is really in this supposedly reliable source, shouldn't it be in the index? Palahniuk at least? Or neoexistentialism? Or postpostmodernism? Nowhere in the index. The only things you don't put in the index are non-notable things, brief mentions. I didn't actually look for it in the book because I couldn't find the crap with out the index, and I'm not going on some nonsense goose chase. Call it a lazy refutation, but I have solid ground to say this is all nonsense. Even if it is in that one book ... it's one book. One book does not equal must-put-on-page-with-its-own-category. I typed it in google in various combinations and the results I got were sketchy at best. If it's really important enough to have its own category, there should be a couple of really darn good webpages about it. So, if it is notable info and not original research, it should be easy for you (oh, articulate defenders) to provide us with a solid webpage ... at least one ... because the ridiculous goose chases are just annoying.F. Simon Grant 21:17, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Please see:

Also, did you even do a search? A Google search query for post postmodernism reveals:

Results 1 - 10 of about 237,000,000

For Neo Existentialism:

Results 1 - 10 of about 324,000 for neo existentialism. (0.16 seconds)

Nor are these authors non-notable. To suggest that Chuck Palahunik is a non-notable writer is absolute absurdity. To me it seems your claim is partly based on ignorance, laziness and a lack of familiarity with the current intellectual landscape. The truth is, if you have no knowledge of these movements, I would suggest visiting your local university library and invest time in specialized research with those essays and papers that deal with such movements as PPM & Neo Existentialism. Please do not remove subject matter that you are not an expert in and respect Wikipedia's policy of not removing material that is relevant, reliably sourced & non-slanderous. DanielJennings724 12:43, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

A condescending tone does not make you right or even give you halfway descent argument. The real question is, did you do any research. The wikipedia link is to a crap page about a broad term that does not necessarily equal a movement or anything of necessity when talking about existentialism. The google pages that you're holding up as proof that these two "movements" are really notable -- half of them are also using both those terms as broad terms, not as references to movements that are the least bit relevant to existentialism as a whole; the other half are blogs and references to this page. I'm sure your imagined "current intellectual landscape" is full of prancing Palahniuks, but I beg you to tell any English professor you know at any level, "I believe Chuck Palahniuk is notable and important" -- I'm sure I'll here the derisive laughter from here. Your condesension is apparently based on fantasy. Give me something specific that's not a fantasy world. Pick any one of those google pages and we can examine it together. Since it's such a huge part of the intellectual landscape, I'm sure it'll take you 0.16 seconds to find just one page that's worth while. That is what I asked for. I can use the dang google myself, dude. What I can't do is find any evidence that this nonsense isn't from some dream academy you've fashioned out of barbie dolls (condescention is fun isn't it). By the way, I didn't erase it. I like that it's up there because I show it to my students to prove that Wikipedia is full of self-promoting b.s. and the editorial process doesn't work to eliminate such b.s. So, by all means, keep it up there so I have a negative example to show my students for years to come.F. Simon Grant 15:46, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
Even though this goosechase is obnoxious, I'm stubborn and won't let it go when I get a condescending, dismissive, snotty, b.s. response. Here's the google book search for the supposedly good source:
Please search the terms "Palahniuk," "neoexistentialsim," "postpostmodernism" (with or without the dashes) -- nothing comes up. Sure, google book search doesn't cover every page. But something notable (and that's the key word: notable) should come up. Am I wrong? "Reliably sourced" is a big ol' crock of bull crap if I've ever seen it.F. Simon Grant (talk) 19:35, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Top photo

Wouldn't Sartre be a better candidate for the top image? Ryoutou 14:01, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Talk page cleanup

I did some cleanup on this talk page, to try to introduce some semblance of order. First and foremost, I put the new messages at the bottom where they belong. I also tried to put in some proper formatting in the longer conversations. There is still a long ways to go, though. Some of these conversations become incomprehensible because proper formatting is not followed and you cannot tell who is responding to who. Of course, there are also a lot of stray comments that are little more than pontificating, and have naught to do with trying to improve the article. And, this is just a rhetorical question, but, what is so hard about signing one's comments? All you do is type four tildes, just like this... ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 00:10, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Lost generation, road novels, and hardboiled anti-heroes?

Can somebody, anybody, make heads or tails out of this paragraph:

There is overlap between the expatriate American lost generation writers who found Paris their spiritual home, and writers of road novels. This also extends to the delayed action of the French permanent enamorment with the United States' hard boiled fiction genre, which, as Truffaut and others in the Cahiers du Cinéma indicated, influenced novels and plays. To some extent as well, the surrealist movement of Andre Breton and others, which questioned the established reality, made possible the isolation of non-academic novels protagonised by amoral anti-heroes.

This is such a mish-mash, I can't sort it out. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 23:25, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

I recognize the individual movements cited, and I can fathom the relations between them, but I have no idea what the author(s) imagined any of this had to do with existentialism. Skomorokh incite 02:43, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, there really is no thread of logic that I can follow through all of that... ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 02:56, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

reference for claim about Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf?

I tried to find out where this information came from with no luck. What is the source for claiming that Steppenwolf was based on an idea that Kierkegaard presented in either/or? It would be good to know exactly what idea that was. (talk) 00:26, 28 November 2007 (UTC)jason

I couldn't find it either. This book claims HH was influenced by SK, but that's hardly the same thing. Skomorokh incite 00:47, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
It could be in this article which I have neither linguistic or institutional means to access, or explicitly in this book. Regards, Skomorokh incite 00:53, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Tillich and "Believing in God"

I can't speak to the beliefs of the Gabriel Marcel or Martin Buber, but I know that it is incorrect to say that Paul Tillich reconciles doubt and belief in God. On the contrary, Tillich (perhaps the greatest theologian of the twentieth century) writes in his classic The Courage to Be: "God does not exist. He is being itself beyond essence and existence. Therefore to argue that God exists is to deny him." He also says something like it has been religion's greatest mistake to construct God as something that we either believe or do not believe in. So I think that part of the "Perspectives on God" section should be changed, at least for Tillich. I don't know enough about the other two theologians mentioned, but as it stands right now, in including Tillich in the statement about believing in God, the section is inaccurate. Trackstand (talk) 06:08, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

This needs a fix up

I don't mean to be rude but some of this is just wrong. Such errors are not uncommon in Existentialism, mind you, as so few people practice the philosophy (it is a form of philosophy that a person practices rather than just studies) that it is often easy to misunderstand if you just read it. A bit like Buddhism, I suppose. I will try to fix up the Existential pages in the next few months. If there is anyone else who has read Being and Nothingness, the Second Sex or Kierkergaard it would welcome their help. I would prefer that experts or at least people who have considerate knowledge write this page as it is confused. We are missing major concepts:

  1. Negatites - ontological existentialism
  2. Anguish before oneself v fear of being in the world
  3. Despair as a failed combination of finitude and infinitude (as it is the chapter on Existential despair is not really correct)
  4. Awareness of bad faith and the despair which follows - think Jude Law in I heart huckabees
  5. The look and its affect on consciousness
  6. (indifference desire hate) Sadism and (love language) Masochism
  7. Being doing and having
  8. Recollection is not memory: In vito veritas - Keirkergaard
  9. The eternal
  10. The non-rational the absurd
  11. belief as a counter-reflective response to fealings
  12. the divine in subjective - subjective exchange (i.e Tillich)
  13. The Facticity
  14. Being is, Being is in-itself, Nothingness haunts being, nothingness is coiled in being like a worm

Almost everything stated is at best, an under-grad view of existentialism. People, please cross-reference your material before posting it. If information contained is your own subjective view, state this. I will chase up some of the people here to finalise this page.

I just wanted to explain what I've been doing over the past couple days. I've tried making some edits that attempt to improve the clarity and readability of certain sections. I have limited knowledge of existentialism so I haven't focused much on accuracy. I'm hoping I made some sections easier to follow but there's obviously a lot more to do. Aldrichio 20:13, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
The statement that existentialists do not agree on what it is, or that it exists, should be in the introduction. It is a key fact about the topic. It is the backbone of existentialism, because the thread that ties existentialists together are the questions they all ask, not their answers or the theories found. 23:03, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

05/07/2008 *********** The very first paragraph contradicts Kierkegaard's inclusion later as an existentialist found since he was a Christian. This entry is very poorly written and should be revised ASAP.

Sexist Language?

At a few points in the article the writing presupposes a male subjectivity, I tried to correct a few by inserting he/she, though this seems bulky and awkward. I'm not a regular contributor so I figured I would just point this out and ask folks to go about figuring out the best way to address this. All philosophical texts should assume a neutral, non-gender specific position. While it might have been proper to degrade women in the 18th century by excluding them from philosophy, surely we've come to a point to recognize that women are equally human and capable of digesting complex theories and treatisies of philosophy. ~Danielle Askini

The pronoun "he" is a generic third person singular pronoun; it does not necessarily refer to a male. BrainRotMenacer 03:12, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
I do not think it matters whether a grammar book says that 'he' 'does not necessarily refer to a male', what matters is that 'he' is masculine in the context of everyday usage. 'He' means male, however many grammatical hairs one is splitting. By the same logic why not suggest that 'she' 'does not necessarily refer to a woman'. Even grammarians can be sexists. Gcoultersmith 18:53, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
exactly. i agree 100%. 06:18, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I have never heard that.--Loodog 03:44, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
He: "The third person singular pronoun for a person of male gender, or, in traditional English grammar, a person of unknown gender." SilentC 04:03, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
agreed.--Loodog 06:29, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
Using he as the singular third person pronoun for a person of an unknown gender has been under attack for a long time, and it is better to use 'he/she' or 'they' to avoid being offensive. Kingofpawns 02:07, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
Well why don't you have a go at rewriting the 'offensive' bits using gender neutral language. No point waiting for someone else to do it if you don't like the way it's written. Don't forget 'man'. Some people are even offended by 'human'. What about God. Is He a He, or a He/She or what? Enjoy! SilentC 02:26, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
Remember though: "They" is a third person plural, though incorrectly used in the singular (e.g. "Everyone does their own work.")--Loodog 03:38, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
Oh dear, the singular "they" has been around for so long, it even appears in the Bible. The only reason we haven't all arrived at this wonderful compromise is because of aging English teachers who are unwilling to teach their children that sometimes, it's all right to split an infinitive or end your sentence with a preposition. This is just another example of a rule that was NEVER in effect, and is in effect even less so now. 15:58, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
I'd rather be wrong about the plurality than about the gender. I use "they" as a gender-neutral pronoun when either gender or plurality is unknown or ambiguous. I'd prefer to use "E" as the replacement for he/she. But I've been waiting for "English" to catch up with SMS'ers using "U" for "you". Eventually we'll get there. Meanwhile, they say it's worth waiting. DocRuby 00:52, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
Whether or not it is what you would rather or not is irrelevent. "They" is not a solution for pronoun ambiguity. He/She, his/her, etc. are the current reccommened replacements, even if they are awkward. "One" can also be used, in some situations. ColinM 21:41, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
I propose the Jamaican English "im". It is sort of gender neutral. How about "it"? As in "A person can do as it pleases"? "It" is both gender neutral and has the correct pluraility. Jatreloar 12:42, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

One/one's/oneself seems good?

Why don't you all try and be mature enough to not take offense at a pronoun. The collective insecurity of women who feel that by not being explicitly recognized with a he/she or his/her does more to harm their credibility than the conventional use of a centuries old language. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:04, 7 February 2007 (UTC).
I think it is much better that man (as in huMANkind) bend to the specific uses of language rather than subjectively assign stigma based on emotion. He is a gender neutral pronoun, period. If you think differently, you have personally attached a secondary meaning and emotional trigger to the word. And why would a we use a Jamaican word for an article written in English? Let us also be clear, that using 'he' is not sexist, unless the sentence is 'She cannot do quality work like he can, because she is not a he.'--Ikyork 22:07, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
1 : that male one who is neither speaker nor hearer <he is my father> -- compare HIM, HIS, IT, SHE, THEY
2 -- used in a generic sense or when the sex of the person is unspecified <he that hath ears to hear, let him hear -- Matthew 11:15 (Authorized Version)> <one should do the best he can>
from [1].
To be honest, I see that officially he can be gender neutral . But two problems: 1)One of the above usages is explicitly male. 2)Modern colloquial usage has changed the average person's interpretation of "he". But there's not really a good alternative...--Loodog 03:07, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
A good majority[dubious ] of people see the word "he" as gender neutral when used ambiguously. Just because "He" can also refer to a specific male doesn't mean that it is a word for males. The words like "she" single out a female, and emphasise the it is a female. Have you ever noticed that "she" is a much stronger a word then "he"? It is because "he" is more ambiguous. Freeflux 03:56, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
I'd suggest that this debate be taken somewhere more general (in fact I have no doubt it has already been subject to pages and pages of discussion elsewhere in Wikipedia). It's not really a problem specific to this article but applies to Wikipedia as a whole. Try here for a start: SilentC 04:00, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

For God's sake this is rediculous. If you take offence by this sort of thing you really should get out more.

wow, such undying faith in what dictionaries say. the dictionary proclaims 'he' as gender-neutral so that's it huh? it ends there? no contention or questioning at all? if 'she' was being used instead of 'he' you all would have a problem with it, guaranteed. it is not that hard to use the words 'someone' or 'they', etc. 06:18, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

If 'she' was well established as gender-neutral instead then i would be quite content, however it is not. It is the content of the article that is of concern to me and if I can extract the information easily enough without confusion over what is aimed at what sex then i have no problem. I'm sure everyone here recognized that 'he' in this case was intended to be gender-neutral due to the context and so i don't think there should be this problem. (UTC)

Truthfully, it is listed in the dictionary and traditionally has been used to represent both genders in ambiguity. Of course, traditionally women have been a subservient gender. This said, I still don't see why people are offended by a tendency to use he or him instead of the ever elusive gender neutral pronoun. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:15, 15 March 2007 (UTC).

Danielle Your comment is hardly existentialist - do you really think that when a "person" reads the word "he" that women are explicitly excluded from the thought unless specifically led by the author to think so? Your point is totally subjective and you should keep it so. I choose not to agree with your twisted misinterpretation of meaning. Cginusa 05:12, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

The same thing happens in many languages. I always thought that women were distinguished from men as most people prefer them (most men prefer women and most women prefer being with women) in the same way people separate man and animals (my nephew is adamant we are not animals). There are many ways that we can see the world that are consistent with experience. But even more that are not; I read a feminist work stating the problem with dictators was the language we use. No the problem is the things narcissists do with absolute power. Take away all the narcissist men (I would probably be going) and you would be let with a number of narcissist women most of whom call themselves feminists. Feminism beyond the invaluable liberal tradition is just away for narcissistic women to make a noise away from all the narcissistic men. At least there is some irony in seeing people complaining about men's (note here it masculine because of the sentence before) behavior whilst behaving in the same way. Just in case I am upsetting any men (here my use is ambiguous), I will say that narcissism often leads to good things it is just unpleasant to look at. (talk) 18:06, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Is the use of "he" as a gender-neutral pronoun acceptable?

(I thought I'd make a subsection that addresses a recurring theme in the above discussions, since the threads are becoming difficult to sift through.)

'He' can certainly operate as a pronoun that refers to a person of unknown gender - many of the users above have provided citations for this fact - but the pronoun 'she' can do so just as well. If you'd like to see an example of this usage in modern academic, philosophical literature, you can check out Richard Rorty's Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. He uses the pronoun 'she' consistently throughout the book as a third person "gender-unknown" pronoun. The following, for instance, is a quote from his proposed definition of an ironist:

(1) She has radical and continuing doubts about the final vocabulary she currently uses, because she has been impressed by other vocabularies, vocabularies taken as final by people or books she has encountered; (2) she realizes that argument phrased in her present vocabulary can neither underwrite nor dissolve these doubts; (3) insofar as she philosophizes about her situation, she does not think that her vocabulary is closer to reality than others, that it is in touch with a power not herself.

— Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989, p.73

All this to point out that both 'he' and 'she' can be gender neutral pronouns, and so the decision to use one or the other cannot be dictated by modern grammar - which has endorsed them both equally. And so writing 'he' instead of 'she' in an article is gender-biased in the strictest sense of the phrase. Writing one instead of the other is not a grammatical curiosity, but a (conscious or unconscious) biased choice on the part of the author.--Heyitspeter (talk) 06:03, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

In Popular Culture


given quotes like 'nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so' and to be ro not to be' is there an argument that Hamlet/shakespeare could be included in any discussion on existentialism? also does any of existentialism come up with a solution to existence?

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Existentialism in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya? Where?

Seriously... It's just the opposite, right? Haruhi refuses to accept the "boring" reality of the world and attempts to recreate it to her liking. Wouldn't that imply that Haruhi's 'essence' preceded the existence of all things? (I see that any reference to the show has already been deleted... just thought I'd comment) BohemianWikipediantalk 08:03, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

R.D. Laing?

I think that this entry is hardly exhaustive without even a mention of English writer/psychologist R.D. Laing; in particular, his book "The Politics of Experience" (1967).

His challanges of morality, mental illness and percieved reality are right at home in this entry.

Firefly- "Objects in Space"

The final episode of the short-lived television series Firefly, titled Objects in Space, is based on certain concepts in existential philosophy. Series creator Joss Whedon explains in the DVD commentary that he based many of the ideas in the episode on the writings of Sartre and Camus. Terrek 19:42, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

Popular Culture

Naruto is existential?

Joseph Conrad

should Joseph Conrad be mentioned? Heart of Darkness has existential undertones...

Non-notable "pop-culture"

I removed some of the pop-culture references, deeming the ones about song names not worth listing. They seem to have reappeared. There are countless songs, pieces of art, and other media that deal with existentialism. I say just put a few movies and books and leave it at that, skipping all the unnecessary stuff that's put in merely because the contributor likes it.

So, I vote to get rid of:

  • During the witty introduction sequence...
  • The band the Exies is named after the concept.
  • THOM PAIN (based on nothing) by Will Eno.
  • The band Straylight Run was made famous almost overnight by their popular single Existentialism on Prom Night, a song that does in fact deal with the basic existential issues common to the teenage experience.

and possibly combine these:

  • The animes, Neon Genesis Evangelion, The Big O and Naruto contain existential themes.
  • The 2006 anime The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya expounds on many of the existential themes of meaning which Evangelion originally put forward.

Anyone? Bueller?

--КровиссерTalk 19:32, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Agree. This section should be cleaned up. darkskyz 15:00, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

"Existentialism in popular culture"

I think "Existentialism in popular culture" should be moved into a separate article to help stay on topic. Utilitarianism and Logical Positivism stay on topic; Existentialism should as well.--Harpakhrad11 20:57, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Existential Crisis

Somehow link to the stub of an existential crisis?

The Matrix - your kidding aren't you?

How could The Matrix be regarded as a film that is existential is nature? Neo was the 'One' whether be wanted to be or not. Surely it's the exact opposite of existentialism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) (07:20, 21 July 2007)

I agree. Matrix is far away from existentialism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rajkashana (talkcontribs) (09:06, 20 October 2007)

Good point the matrix is not "you create the meaning and purpose of your life" it's more your life is a lie i'll show you, your real purpose for existence ObermanEditor (talk) 15:40, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

I think that Agent Smith might be the existentialist in question here. Certainly his case is similar enough to merit a reference.

...indicating that [Agent Smith] now has not only the vision but also the ability to break free of the machines' control and exist as a singular being. He is now allied with no one but himself, rendering him an outlaw to both the Matrix and the human minds which populate it. Being free of burden, however, Smith is also compelled to feel that he is still crushed by the weight of purpose. He essentially correlates purpose with imprisonment...

The difference is that in Smith's case, he is breaking free of the "transcendent force" in order to establish his own meaning, whereas existentialists believe that we must create meaning for ourselves because of the absence of any transcendent force or pre-written purpose or what have you. He also seems to have a small existential crisis there in the end. ;) BohemianWikipediantalk 04:08, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
The Matrix has several other underlying existentialist undertones. The mere fact that everything you see is just an illusion either because you are dreaming it or because it is propagated by a great deceiver. The scene with the boy saying "you must first realize the truth.... there is no spoon" is a pretty good example of existentialism in the movie.Wophi (talk) 16:43, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Deliberate obfuscation

This is generally a great article, and it's encouraging that many complex issues in philosophy are expressed in layman's language. Which is why I get suspicious when I see this sentence:

"In Fight Club, the Tyler Durden character appears as a representation of the philosophy of the postmodern classic Anti-Oedipus, and its idealization of the schizo-subject[specify], who resists the capitalistic order of the day and devours and spits out the social codes."

In my experience sentences crammed full of such pointless jargon are deliberately designed to confuse and distract the reader from the foolishness of the sentiment expressed. In my opinion it should be clarified or removed from wikipedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) (00:27, 14 February 2008)

Just because you are uncertain about what a sentence means, it does not follow that the wording is there to obfuscate. Anti-Oedipus is considered a postmodern classic. It is a book written by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, in which they outline a theory known as Schizoanalysis. I haven't read the book, however, so I cannot say if the statement is accurate in its assertion that Tyler Durden is a valid illustration of the aforementioned theory (I doubt he is). But what I can say is that the statement made perfect sense to me (which is not to say that I agree with it). I saw no pointless jargon (a code is an important idea in semiotics), and I certainly saw no obfuscating jargon. --Le vin blanc (talk) 02:31, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
I do not believe the sentence is an exercise in deliberate obfuscation, but the wording is unclear, unreferenced, and unencyclopædic. I would ask what the larger point of the sentence is, and what it has to do with Existentialism. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 03:38, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
I would say it has nothing to do with existentialism and should therefore be removed. Anyhow, my main beef was with the accusations of obscurantism. For there seem to be a lot of wikipedians with unprovoked hostility toward postmodernism, and the accusations of pretense and obscurantism posted everywhere can get tiring. --Le vin blanc (talk) 08:03, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Oh, I quite agree with you. I do not believe it has anything to do with Existentialism, and should, therefore, be removed. But, I do not believe is it intentionally obscurantist. I have seen such accusations before, as well, and, yes, they do grow tiring. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 16:31, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Section "Reason as a problematic defense against anxiety"

"(...) existentialists oppose themselves to rationalism and positivism. That is, they argue against definitions of human beings as primarily rational. Rather, existentialists look at where people find meaning. Existentialism asserts that people actually make decisions based on what has meaning to them rather than what is rational."

IANAPh, but since when does rationalism "define" humans as rational? Rationalism says that using reason is a good method. The above paragraph seems to try to counter an "ought" with an "is".

Suboptimal Username (talk) 00:54, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Existentialism in Film

This article would benefit having a discussion about Existentialism in popular culture mediums, particularly in Film. I am sure there are many different movies throughout the years that have explored Existential thoughts and presented Existential characters in their stories. Perhaps using film as a way to study the different viewpoints of different artists on Existentialism will give people a chance to develop their own attitude towards it.

--Ymkulkarni (talk) 08:00, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Inevitable death and Existentialism

End of 3rd paragraph:

In existentialist views, personal articulation of being is the only way to rise above humanity's absurd condition of much suffering and inevitable death.

Vandalism? By the personal articulation of my being, I will rise above inevitable death? (above humanity's condition of inevitable death??) That could use some explaining if it's supposed to be a coherent sentence. As far as I know, death is inevitable whether you articulate your being or not. -BohemianWikipediantalk 22:09, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure if this is helpful but I think what is meant is that 'personal articulation of being' helps to rise above the 'absurd condition' of life (made absurd apparently by 'much suffering and inevitable death'). Grammatically I think a comma need just be added after condition, but I think the sentence would still not be very clear. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:37, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

What if?...

This one is for all "lovers of wisdom": If the five relationship questions on the chart below the contents at Absurdism were "answered" in a less/non-dogmatic way, what "philosophy" would that be? Example: 1. There is such a thing as "meaning" or "value" to be found in life PERHAPS/MAYBE(?) 2. There is inherent meaning in the universe (either intrinsic or from God) PERHAPS/MAYBE(?), BUT HUMANS MAY NEVER KNOW IT 3. Individuals can create meaning in life themselves PERHAPS/MAYBE(?), BUT IT MAY NOT BE ESSENTIAL 4. The pursuit of intrinsic or extrinsic meaning in the universe is a futile gesture PERHAPS/MAYBE(?), BUT THE PURSUIT ITSELF MAY HAVE MEANING 5. The pursuit of constructed meaning is a futile gesture PERHAPS/MAYBE(?)

Absurdism = solution to the "problem" of Nihilism: Life-affirmation, life as the only true value/necessary good, positivity in a philosophical (not mathematical, of course) sense,optimism, appreciation for happiness, nobly striving to succeed, positive side(s) of Surrealism/Existentialism, anti-negativity/nihilism/pessimism/skepticism.

1) Nihilism = suicide/mass murder (Nietzsche) -- [Skepticism + Pessimism] 2) Existentialism = "philosophical suicide" (Camus) 3) Absurdism = absurdity (Kierkegaard) -- [acceptance/embracing absurdity + rebellion/revolt] 4) ?ism = "non-dogmatic" expression/development of Absurdism?

Is anyone out there working on an "evolution" of Camus' thought? A new 'system'? As he said in the first chapter of 'The Myth of Sisyphus', this is the philosophical question of life. Perhaps a thesis/dissertation/book (a la 'The Affirmation of Life: Nietzsche on Overcoming Nihilism" by Bernard Reginster... (Please don't offer Optimism/Liebniz/Godwin)...

Nemo Senki66.213.22.193 (talk) 23:07, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Existence precedes consciousness

I'm not sure if this should be in an article on existentialism. It is, generally speaking, unclear what it is it is referring to, but it seems, most of all, to be some sort of mix-up between "existence precedes essence" and Heidegger's critique of Husserl. In any case, I would think it to be more proper to an article on Heidegger or Phenomenology than in an article on Existentialism. Furthermore, it isn't particularly well-written, and actual informational content is low. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Der Zeitgeist (talkcontribs) 11:46, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Satrean Existentialism

I don't think it's necessary to have a separate heading for "Sartrean Existentialism." It will be better to just incorporate the major terms in the article, and leave the specifics to the pages relating to that particular book or philosopher. Der Zeitgeist (talk) 16:58, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Existence precedes essence

Arguing about this in the small space allotted in the field where one comments when making updates wouldn't be particularly fruitful, so I'm going to leave it as is for now. However, the recent updates, though well meant and probably easier to read, miss some of the point.

It seems to me that the original formulation got a specific point across better than the new ones. What I meant to say was that if one searches for an essence in man, one doesn't find such an essence: "there is no such predetermined essence to be found in man." What one finds, when one looks, is the life of the person whose life one looks at: The concrete life as lead by each individual. This paragraph was more of a lead-in to the next paragraph, which discusses how one is responsible for oneself.

This responsibility issue is also why I think the sentence "an individual's essence is defined by him or her through how he or she creates and lives his or her life" misses the point slightly. Firstly, it is too vague. Secondly, it speaks once more of essence, which isn't altogether unproblematic in this context. Thirdly, contrary to the refutal of the reproach that existentialists are only concerned with the darker sides of life, this sentence is too "cheery," that is, it borders on unrealistic. To clarify: If there was such a thing as an unessential essence that could be defined as you go, you would still not be able to do so consciously at every turn (you are defined when you act, by your acts, but to act is not always to consciously or actively define yourself). To claim that one creates one's own life is also on the cheerier side of things, and misses the point that your life is also created by other things than yourself. It is this ambiguity that is present in the quote from Existentialism is a Humanism: Man is he who defines. This goes for both himself and for objects, but at certain points in time, man sees himself as an object (in the Look). In this Look, he isn't free to define himself as he pleases, but he is defined, and he still is so by himself. Both because his actions have defined him, but also because he sees himself performing the actions, and finds himself unable to define himself as anything other than what one who performs such actions would be defined as.

If no-one has any objections, then, I would like to go back to the previous formulation.Der Zeitgeist (talk) 21:07, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Merge with pour soi

The pour soi article does not present sufficient information to stand on its own. As it is a concept within existentialism, it should be merged into this article. Neelix (talk) 23:24, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

I think that the concept "pour soi" (being-for-itself) is closely related to Sartre, specifically to his work Being and Nothingness, more than to the general movement of Existentialism. I would merge it into one of these rather than into Existentialism. --Anna Lincoln (talk) 09:34, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
Done. --Anna Lincoln (talk) 09:28, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Mulla Sadra and his philosophy of primacy of existence

Some of the scholars such as Henry Corbin and Oliver Leaman have considered Mulla Sadra as an existentialist philosopher in the context of Islamic philosophy. Corbin writes: Avicenna, al-Suhrawardi and many others in their turn all professed a metaphysics of essences. It was only with Mulla Sadra Shirazi in the sixteenth century that the situation was decisively reversed. Mulla Sadra affirmed the predominance of existing and gave an 'existential' version of the metaphysics of the Ishraq.(Corbin, history of Islamic philosophy, p.160 ) and Liman says that in his view what first affect us are things that exist and we forms ideas of essences afterwards, so existence precedes essence. This position referred to as primacy of existence(Arabic:Isalat al-Wujud).(Leaman, Islamic Philosophy A-Z, p.35)

You can find more about his thesis here. What's your idea a section to introduce his viewpoint?--Seyyed(t-c) 15:54, 29 July 2008 (UTC)