Chapter 4 : Metaphysics
(NOTE: You must read only
those linked materials that are preceded by the capitalized word READ.)
philosophical movement or
tendency, emphasizing individual existence, freedom, and choice that
influenced many diverse writers in the 19th and 20th centuries
READ at least "Concepts" from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existentialism#Concepts
READ at least “Existence Precedes Essence” from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/existentialism/
The existentialists separated from the debate between the materialists and the idealists. Instead they focused on what humans could know for certain. We know that we exist and that we are aware of that existence. We are aware that there are things that exist that do not appear to be aware and do not have freedom. So there are those things that have that awareness and those that do not.
As Sartre categorized real things:
BEING-FOR –ITSELF is conscious and free
BEING-IN-ITSELF is non-conscious.
So for the existentialists there are two types of real things, two types of things that exist: BEING-FOR –ITSELF and BEING-IN-ITSELF.
There is no proof of souls or spirits or ghosts or deities and thus their existence is nothing other than what people make a decision to believe. People decide whether or not to believe that such entities are real or not and they decide on the criteria for making such decisions. What is given immediately to consciousness is consciousness and through it the awareness of what is not conscious and not free.
Some existentialists hold that such beliefs are and must be beyond reason so that humans must make a leap of faith into the beliefs of the reality of such nonphysical entities. For certain what humans can know is their own existence and the existence of things not like humans because they have no consciousness and are not free.
READ : Dallas Roark On Existentialism http://www.qcc.cuny.edu/SocialSciences/ppecorino/roark-textbook/Chapter-13.htm
See a later Chapter on Freedom and Determinism for more material on existentialist views of freedom.
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