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Existentialism Theories - Essay Example

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Name Professor Subject Date Freedom Human freedom, the central focus of existentialism, is unquestionably one of the most basic ideas that have driven the development of democratic politics in the last few hundred years. It is taught in schools as one of the essential tenets of human life, and the lack of it is used as a reason for meddling in the affairs of others (Leo Franchi, n.d.)…
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Existentialism Theories
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Existentialism Theories

Download file to see previous pages... Individual choices were circumscribed in order to achieve the more egalitarian distribution of goods and services like education and health care. In some contemporary Islamic nations, individual freedom must conform to religious practices. Individual behavior is also restricted by religious belief in Israel on the Jewish Sabbath and religious holidays and in some communities in the United States on Sundays because of Christian beliefs, On the other hand, religious conservatives often want governments to severely limit the options available to women who want to terminate pregnancies and oppose extending certain legal rights, including health benefits for partners and the right to marry the person they choose, to homosexuals (The Meaning of Freedom in the Modern World, Winter-Spring 2001). When we talk of existentialism, we talk of freedom, choices and action in connection with being human. Christine Daigle stated that “Existentialism is a philosophy that focuses on human existence in its concrete occurrence and on the fact that the human existence is radically free and must make choices and a philosophy that preoccupies itself with themes such as intentionality, being and absurdity, and angst and death. (Existentialist Thinkers and Ethics, 2006). Jean-Paul Sartre, commonly considered the father of Existentialist philosophy and arguably the best known philosopher of the twentieth century (Jean-Paul Sartre, 2011), defines freedom as “not a being; it is the being of man-i.e. his nothingness of being. If we start by conceiving of man as a plenum, it is absurd to try and find in him afterwards moments or psychic regions in which he would be free. As well look for emptiness in a container which one has filled beforehand up to the brim! Man cannot be sometimes slave and sometimes free; he is wholly and forever free or he is not free at all” (Being and Nothingness, Tr. Hazel E. Barnes (New York. 1966), p. 539). For him, man is freedom. He is always free and that it is impossible for man to be “not free”. A human being responds to specific situations they are faced with and is free to choose as to how to act on them. But in freedom man has some things that he cannot do. He says that we cannot refuse freedom, which is kind of conflicting to his statement that “man is freedom” if we take it at face value. When he says we cannot refuse freedom, by opting not to choose, man is still choosing, thus exercising freedom. We also cannot escape responsibility. For we are to take responsibility for the consequences of our choices and actions as role models, that others may act accordingly and that every choice he makes not only affects his future but the future of humanity as well. Responsibility is the price that freedom exacts from mankind. According to Existentialism in two plays of Jean-Paul Sartre: One of the most famous claims of ‘Being and Nothingness’ by Sartre is that, we are aware to some extent of our freedom, and the responsibility that comes with it, but we try to hide this from ourselves. We are aware, claims Sartre, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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