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PP110 Philosophy quiz 2.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Anneke Olthof

PP110 quiz 2 Unit 3 3.6 ENCOUNTERING REALITY: EXISTENTIALISM Existence=being=what is real Key: Human condition,  we endure all kinds of pain: physical, emotional, and psychological  Human condition gives rise to angst, or anxiety **Idea: reaction to the idea that an objective knowledge of the human can be attained by applying the scientific method to sociology and psychology **Existentialism is unsympathetic to science as a cognitive enterprise, suspicious of scientism, and wary of applying the scientific method the solution of our human problems KIERKEGAARD (Husserl) Kierkegaard’s philosophy: we make ourselves through our choices and thereby come to truly exist, (to be real)  1. Getting clarity about what to do o Action and doing recurs in all existentialist thinking o What is real  2. Understanding reality through subjectivity o What is “true for me” o Reality must be understood from the subjective perspective of the self who choose and acts  3. Overcoming the gap between God and humanity o Kierkegaard focus on decision and commitment o Our reality is an outcome of our choice and commitments  We experience “anxiety” because of our human finitude o Anxiety is a response to our freedom to choose to “leap” into the unknown future or nothingness that attracts and repels us, especially the “leap of faith” o We experience anxiety at our freedom to “leap” into the nothingness  We always make our important life choices without full intellectual knowledge  How we choose is more important than what we choose. Through our choices we become the person who we are: Our free choices bring us into existence o To make anxiety-filled choices, how we choose is important than “what” o When making a significant choice: we must choose passionately with energy and conscious of the significant consequences our choices will have o To choose and thereby to exist is be become a self SARTRE  Sartre believes there is no God and so no fixed human nature; we make ourselves by our choices so that we are completely responsible for what we are  Essay: “Existentialism and Human Emotions”  A phenomenological study of our conscious experience reveals 2 kinds of reality:  Consciousness  being-for-itself  The for-itself consists of any thinking, hoping, loving, hating, seeing, imagining, conscious beings, including ourselves  The objects of which we are conscious  being-in-itself  The it-self consists of the hard, impersonal, unconscious world that presents itself all around us as non-conscious objects o Being-for-itself is nothing until it acts, and then the reality it becomes is whatever it chooses to do. This is why humans, who are being-for-itself, make themselves through their choices. Being-in-itself is not conscious and cannot make itself other than what it is.  A man is a free consciousness, so what he is is the sum total of the free choices he makes  “Existence precedes essence” o We fist exist – we are born. But what we are, our essence, is not yet determined.  What we are – our reality – depends on whether and how we will choose to act.  The sum total of our conscious actions – our history – will define what we become.  Our reality – who we really are – is what we each create through our free conscious choices, and we ourselves are fully responsible for the real self that we become.  SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR o The greatest female existentialist o She argued that men and women both define women is terms of their relation to men, and thereby become mere things for men and fail to make use of their freedom to make themselves **The best-known existentialists: Kierkegaard, the Jewish scholar Martin Buber, the Protestant theologian Paul Tillich, the atheists Friedrich Nietzsche and Sartre, the novelist Albert Camus … Objections to Phenomenology and Existentialism  Critics: one can be in the mode of being-for-itself by freely choosing to be committed to a group where one gives up his freedom. But this contradicts S’s view that to be a being-for-itself one must always remain free to choose Chapter9 POSTSCRIPT: THE MEANING OF LIFE 9.1 DOES LIFE HAVE MEANING?  Albert Camus: the most urgent and “the one truly serious question in philosophy” is the question whether life has meaning and so is worth living, because people are willing to die for this question  Leo Tolstoy: (Russian novelist) came to feel that life had no meaning, as if someone had played a mean trick on him; he felt that life was meaningless for his family and everyone o With no meaning to express in his art, he stopped writing and became depressed o Then, he accepted Aquinas’s theistic response to meaning as a reason for living What Does the Question Mean?  Logical positivists: It is literally meaningless o A. J. Ayer and Rudolf Carnap: tautologies – the only meaningful questions are factual questions whose answers can be found through sense observation  Critics think that many important questions cannot be answered through sense perception o Religious, moral questions 9.2 THE THEISTIC RESPONSE TO MEANING  The ancient response to meaning: GOD  Thomas Aquinas: everything has a purpose, including human beings o Human life has meaning because humans are part of a larger plan or order devised by God. The purpose of human beings is to know God and be perfectly united with him  All theistic views give meaning to life by relating the individual to a divine reality that is larger and more important than the individual is o Islam: infuse life with meaning in a way that is much like the theist response of Christianity o Hinduism: the doctrine of rebirth and karma and holds out the goal of absorption into Brahman after ascending the stages of consciousness o Buddhism: the doctrine of rebirth and experience of liberation from the great wheel of rebirth through the eightfold way whose goal is enlightenment  Critics: o 1. God exists  it is difficult to prove that there is a god. Nonbeliever o 2. Kurt Baier: “morally repugnant”  humans have a purpose assigned to them by reduces humans to tools that God is using  It is morally wrong to use humans as tools o 3. Kai Nielsen: the theist response makes an illogical jump  from the fact that someone else has a purpose for me, it dose not follow that my life has meaning because values are not established by facts  A life with meaning seems to be a life with value, and facts about other beings cannot give value to your life 9.3 MEANING AND HUMAN PROGRESS  Contributing to human progress can give meaning to human life  Georg Hegel: history show progress o Modern nations: “German nations”
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