Philosophical Vision: Existentialism

According to Crowell, existentialism belongs in the intellectual history and others would debate it as a bygone cultural movement in the 19th century. One of the philosophers who developed the term, Jean-Paul Sartre, was one who argued that existence precedes in essence; whereas existence has no meaning, you just are. In Sartre’s argument he categorized things as En Soi or “being-in-itself” and the human being was Pour Soi or “for-itself”.

Alienation also comes into play for existentialism. For example, when one looks into a keyhole to another, you are a “being-for-itself” with your own definition, however when a third party witnesses such event, you are a “being-for-others”. Whether it’s the same definition or not, you are in existence to a third party other than yourself and/or the individual in the keyhole that may or may not know of your existence.

Some could argue that it doesn’t matter what the third party may think or feel about the discovery they found with you peeking through the keyhole. You should be authentic and be yourself during your existence regardless of others.  

Ethics play a big part within existentialism, or it should. Even though we have the freedom of choosing, we need to be familiar with moral codes whether you’re choosing utilitarianism, deontology and/or virtue. Even though the key hole is a temptation for the curious, it doesn’t look so good when these moral codes come into play.   

So, be yourself based on the good moral codes you were taught. Let’s be real, “we are damned to be free”, so therefore we choose to peek through the keyhole regardless of the ethics for our own personal satisfaction. We are back at Pour Soi with our choices over half the time. Even with sad events such as suicide. We choose life or death because we are damned for it. 

Work Cited

Crowell, Steven, “Existentialism”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2010.Web. November 25, 2012. .

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