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Existentialism: The Second Sex - Dissertation Example

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The research paper “Existentialism: The Second Sex” looks at existentialism, which is a belief in “existence precedes essence”. The established history of the term dates back to the nineteenth century, though it had forebears in the earlier times also…
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Download file to see previous pages The word has its roots in Latin word “existence” meaning “to stand out”.  Individual stands at a distance from the world that he is a part of.  Due to this distance, man assigns meaning to the objective world of “in-itself”. This assigned or projected meaning is tenuous in nature, which undergoes changes as the individual experiences tragedies or thoughtful and intuitive situations. There is the direct confrontation of the individual with the meaninglessness of the world during this course of changes and breakdown. Thus the consequences can prove to be dreadful. The word has its roots in Latin word “existence” meaning “to stand out”.  Individual stands at a distance from the world that he is a part of.  Due to this distance, man assigns meaning to the objective world of “in-itself”. This assigned or projected meaning is tenuous in nature, which undergoes changes as the individual experiences tragedies or thoughtful and intuitive situations. There is the direct confrontation of the individual with the meaninglessness of the world during this course of changes and breakdown. Thus the consequences can prove to be dreadful. Despite having variations in the ways prescribed by different existentialist thinkers to against these devastating results, there is a common interest shown by all in devising ways that could help people avoid manners that can tremendously increase the probability of this perceptual breakdown.• Existence precedes essence: Sartre was the first one to use this phrase. The concept has a critical importance in the realm of existentialism. It means that the real essence of a person is the actual life he leads and he assigns meaning to his life and determines his own values. For example, if somebody acts brutally towards others, this act defines him as a brutal person. Moreover, this action and thus the man himself is responsible for his new identity (brutal person). This has nothing to do with the genetic makeup or human nature. As Sartre puts it in his Existentialism is Humanism: "man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world – and defines himself afterward." Hence, the person “chooses” to be good or bad, he has none of these things built innately in him.*• Angst: According to the existentialists the term refers to the experience of total human freedom and responsibility. For instance, if a person is standing on the cliff, he has the fear of falling off and the fright of throwing himself off the cliff. 



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