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MEDICAL WARNING: AS WITH THEORIES OF EVOLUTION, PSYCHOANALYSIS, BUDDHISM (AND SO ON) THAT WE WILL LOOK AT THIS YEAR, EXISTENTIALISM DEALS WITH INTENSE.

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Presentation on theme: "MEDICAL WARNING: AS WITH THEORIES OF EVOLUTION, PSYCHOANALYSIS, BUDDHISM (AND SO ON) THAT WE WILL LOOK AT THIS YEAR, EXISTENTIALISM DEALS WITH INTENSE."— Presentation transcript:

1 MEDICAL WARNING: AS WITH THEORIES OF EVOLUTION, PSYCHOANALYSIS, BUDDHISM (AND SO ON) THAT WE WILL LOOK AT THIS YEAR, EXISTENTIALISM DEALS WITH INTENSE THEOLOGICAL (“RELIGIOUS STUDY”) AND ONTOLOGICAL (“STUDY OF BEING”) AS WELL AS EPISTEMOLOGICAL (“STUDY OF KNOWLEDGE”) ISSUES. MR. I. IS NOT ENDORSING EXISTENTIALISM AS BEING ANYTHING MORE THAN MERE THEORY. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR LEARNING THE TENETS OF EXISTENTIALISM; YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LOVE THEM OR EVEN LIKE IT ALL THAT MUCH. EXISTENTIALISM CAN BE A WEE BIT DEPRESSING IF VIEWED IN A “LIFE-IS-MEANINGLESS, GLASS-HALF-EMPTY” LIGHT. TAKE HEART! THERE WILL BE AN ESSAY. THE TOPIC IS (SURPRISE- SURPRISE) EXISTENTIALISM. I SUGGEST YOU TAKE COPIOUS NOTES IF YOU DON’T WISH TO FAIL.

2 Do we have to take notes?  This Power Point will be online. It does not, however, make total sense on its own because it was created to be narrated by the all knowing, all powerful Oz.  Therefore, you probably want to jot down examples and explanations that go with the slides. You will be tested on understanding, NOT regurgitation.

3 ANDREW WYETH Christina’s World (1948) A complex philosophy emphasizing the absurdity of reality and the human responsibility to make choices and accept consequences!

4 GEORGIO DE CHIRICO Love Song It was during the Second World War, when Europe found itself in a crisis faced with death and destruction, that the existential movement began to flourish, popularized in France in the 1940s…

5 MARK ROTHKO Untitled (1968) Big Ideas of Existentialism Despite encompassing a huge range of philosophical, religious, and political ideologies, the underlying concepts of existentialism are simple…

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7 Existence Precedes Essence Cogito ergo sum. Existentialism is the title of the set of philosophical ideals that emphasize the existence of the human being, the lack of meaning and purpose in life, and the solitude of human existence… “Existence precedes essence” implies that the human being has no essence (no essential self). See: “Existentialism and Human Emotions” by Sartre, example of the paper-cutter (p2)

8 ESSENCE Essence– general components that exist before a thing does—created to serve the purpose of “the creator”. Essence– general components that exist before a thing does—created to serve the purpose of “the creator”. EXAMPLE– A carpenter wants to build a bed. He knows the essence (wood frames, legs, etc.) of a bed before the concrete bed exists. It must exist in his mind first. EXAMPLE– A carpenter wants to build a bed. He knows the essence (wood frames, legs, etc.) of a bed before the concrete bed exists. It must exist in his mind first.

9 Objects/ human subjects In the world of objects, the essence comes first. In the world of human subjects, it is different. In the world of objects, the essence comes first. In the world of human subjects, it is different. MAN IS THE ONLY BEING THAT HAS INTELLIGENCE TO CONCIEVE OF AN ESSENCE. MAN IS THE ONLY BEING THAT HAS INTELLIGENCE TO CONCIEVE OF AN ESSENCE. He exists (physically) before any consciousness of himself. He exists (physically) before any consciousness of himself. HE CAN ONLY FORM THE ESSENCE OF HIMSELF AFTER HE EXISTS HE CAN ONLY FORM THE ESSENCE OF HIMSELF AFTER HE EXISTS

10 A) Existence precedes essence (hence the name “existentialism”): there are no or pre-existing conditions that guide or determine man’s behavior or essence. B) Leads to the “absurd condition”  man seeks meaning in a meaningless world (universe unconscious of our existence). C) Man is condemned to be free. Leads to modern despair from man’s overwhelming sense of responsibility and recognition of his fundamental aloneness in an indifferent universe. D) The artist/existentialist achieves meaningful happiness by facing the pain and still affirming life.

11 Choice and Commitment Humans have freedom to choose Each individual makes choices that create his or her own nature Because we choose, we must accept risk and responsibility for wherever our commitments take us “A human being is absolutely free and absolutely responsible. Anguish is the result.” –Jean-Paul Sartre Example: Sartre’s Spanish Civil War story (Friesian.com link)

12 Some Famous Existentialists Søren Kierkegaard ( ) Friedrich Nietzsche ( ) Jean-Paul Sartre ( ) Albert Camus ( ) “A woman is not born…she is created.” de Beauvoir’s most famous text is The Second Sex (1949), which some claim is the basis for current gender studies…

13 All existentialists are concerned with the study of being or ontology. TO REVIEW: An existentialist believes that a person’s life is nothing but the sum of the life he has shaped for himself. At every moment it is always his own free will choosing how to act. He is responsible for his actions, which limit future actions. Thus, he must create a morality in the absence of any known predetermined absolute values. God does not figure into the equation, because even if God does exist, He does not reveal to men the meaning of their lives. Honesty with oneself is the most important value. Every decision must be weighed in light of all the consequences of that action… Life is absurd, but we engage it!

14 Edward Hopper“New York Movie” (1939)

15 Human Subjectivity It is impossible to transcend human subjectivity. “I will be what I choose to be…” “There are no true connections between people…” My emotions are yet another choice I make. I am responsible for them.

16 GEORGIA O’KEEFFE Sky Above White Clouds I (1962) Human existence cannot be captured by reason or objectivity –– it must include passion, emotion and the subjective… Each of us is responsible for everything and to every human being. –Simone de Beauvoir

17 Subjectivity vs. Objectivity In reason, subjectivity refers to the property of perceptions, arguments, and language as being based in a subject's point of view, and hence influenced in accordance with a particular bias. In reason, subjectivity refers to the property of perceptions, arguments, and language as being based in a subject's point of view, and hence influenced in accordance with a particular bias. As I Lay Dying presents a world that is completely subjective (if you rule out Faulkner ordering the chapters and choosing the speakers) As I Lay Dying presents a world that is completely subjective (if you rule out Faulkner ordering the chapters and choosing the speakers)

18 Objectivity Subjectivity’s opposite property is objectivity, which refers to such as based in a separate, distant, and unbiased point of view, such that concepts discussed are treated as objects. Subjectivity’s opposite property is objectivity, which refers to such as based in a separate, distant, and unbiased point of view, such that concepts discussed are treated as objects.

19 In philosophy, subjectivity refers to the specific discerning interpretations of any aspect of experiences. They are unique to the person experiencing them, the qualia that are only available to that person's consciousness. In philosophy, subjectivity refers to the specific discerning interpretations of any aspect of experiences. They are unique to the person experiencing them, the qualia that are only available to that person's consciousness.qualia Though the causes of experience are thought to be objective and available to everyone, (such as the wavelength of a specific beam of light), experiences themselves are only available to the person experiencing them (the quality of the color itself). Though the causes of experience are thought to be objective and available to everyone, (such as the wavelength of a specific beam of light), experiences themselves are only available to the person experiencing them (the quality of the color itself).

20 In philosophy, an objective fact means a truth that remains true everywhere, independently of human thought or feelings. For instance, it is true always and everywhere that '2 and 2 make 4'. In philosophy, an objective fact means a truth that remains true everywhere, independently of human thought or feelings. For instance, it is true always and everywhere that '2 and 2 make 4'. A subjective fact is a truth that is only true in certain times, places or people. For instance, 'That painting is good' may be true for someone who likes it, but it is not necessarily true that it is a good painting pure and simple, and remains so always no matter what people think of it. A subjective fact is a truth that is only true in certain times, places or people. For instance, 'That painting is good' may be true for someone who likes it, but it is not necessarily true that it is a good painting pure and simple, and remains so always no matter what people think of it. If the painting could claim this, someone who thought the painting was bad would be completely wrong, in the same way someone who says the sun goes around the earth is wrong. So the reliability of mathematics is an objective truth, whereas the beauty of paintings is probably a subjective one If the painting could claim this, someone who thought the painting was bad would be completely wrong, in the same way someone who says the sun goes around the earth is wrong. So the reliability of mathematics is an objective truth, whereas the beauty of paintings is probably a subjective one

21 No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre

22 Second Empire  Second Empire is an architectural style that was popular during the Victorian era, reaching its zenith between 1865 and 1880, and so named for the “French” elements in vogue during the era of the Second French Empire. Victorian era French Second French Empire Victorian era French Second French Empire

23 Bad Faith When individuals negate their true nature in an attempt to become a self they are not. The classic example is Sartre's waiter who is always just slightly too friendly, too helpful, too willing to play the part of a waiter rather than being the less friendly, helpful and waiter-like self he would be if he were not assuming the identity of "waiter." The classic example is Sartre's waiter who is always just slightly too friendly, too helpful, too willing to play the part of a waiter rather than being the less friendly, helpful and waiter-like self he would be if he were not assuming the identity of "waiter." In assuming the role of "waiter," Sartre's character has negated himself by denying his authentic ego with all its characteristics not becoming of a waiter. In assuming the role of "waiter," Sartre's character has negated himself by denying his authentic ego with all its characteristics not becoming of a waiter.

24 Bad Faith … In social situations we play a part that is not ourselves. In social situations we play a part that is not ourselves. If we passively become that part, we are thereby avoiding the important decisions and choices by which personality should be formed If we passively become that part, we are thereby avoiding the important decisions and choices by which personality should be formed

25 Bad Faith When the picture a man has of himself is provided by those who see him, in the distorted image of himself that they give back to him, he has rejected what the philosopher has called reality. He has, moreover, rejected the possibility of projecting himself into his future and existing in the fullest sense.

26  The mere appearance of another person causes one to look at him/herself as an object, and see his/her world as it appears to the other.  This is not done from a specific location outside oneself, it is non- positional. This is a recognition of the subjectivity in others. subjectivity

27 Sartre describes being alone in a park, at this time, all relations in the park (e.g. the bench is between two trees) are available, accessible and occurring-for him. When another person arrives in the park, there is now a relation between that person and the bench, and this is not entirely available to him. The relation is presented as an object (e.g. man glances at watch), but is really not an object, it cannot be known. It flees from him. The other person is a "drainhole" in the world, they disintegrate the relations of which Sartre was earlier the absolute centre.

28 Another of Sartre’s examples involves a young woman on a first date. She ignores the obvious sexual implications of her date's compliments to her physical appearance, but accepts them instead as words directed at her as a human consciousness. As he takes her hand, she lets it rest indifferently in his, refusing either to return the gesture or to rebuke it. Thus she delays the moment when she must choose to either acknowledge and reject his advances, or submit to them. She conveniently considers her hand only a thing in the world, and his compliments as unrelated to her body, playing on her dual human reality as a physical being, and as a consciousness separate and free from this physicality. Another of Sartre’s examples involves a young woman on a first date. She ignores the obvious sexual implications of her date's compliments to her physical appearance, but accepts them instead as words directed at her as a human consciousness. As he takes her hand, she lets it rest indifferently in his, refusing either to return the gesture or to rebuke it. Thus she delays the moment when she must choose to either acknowledge and reject his advances, or submit to them. She conveniently considers her hand only a thing in the world, and his compliments as unrelated to her body, playing on her dual human reality as a physical being, and as a consciousness separate and free from this physicality.

29 Bad Faith It is also a key aspect of living in bad faith to allow others to define or help define our choices or ourselves. Am I a good person? A hard worker? Am I a good person? A hard worker? Some subjective aspects of self: How good looking are you? How smart are you? Are you funny?

30  MORALITY AND ETHICS  One of the most important implications of bad faith is the abolition of traditional ethics and morality.  Because being a moral person requires one to deny authentic impulses and change one's actions based on the will of a person other than oneself, being a moral person is one of the most severe forms of bad faith.

31 Consciousness It has no physical properties…isn’t that mystical or spiritual or ‘otherworldly”? It has no physical properties…isn’t that mystical or spiritual or ‘otherworldly”? Isn’t that an “essence”? Doesn’t it perceive the world before we can create it through decisions? Isn’t that an “essence”? Doesn’t it perceive the world before we can create it through decisions? Is situational– exists only in context of others in a particular situation. Isn’t this bad faith? Is situational– exists only in context of others in a particular situation. Isn’t this bad faith?

32 Nietzsche and Nihilism “Every belief, every considering something-true is necessarily false because there is simply no true world. Nihilism is…not only the belief that everything deserves to perish; but one actually puts one’s shoulder to the plow; one destroys. For some time now our whole European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade: restlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end…” (Will to Power) Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more; it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing. Macbeth

33 Absurdism The belief nothing can explain or rationalize human existence. There is no answer to “Why am I?” Humans exist in a meaningless, irrational universe and any search for order will bring them into direct conflict with this universe. Key Text—The Stranger, specifically, the trial.

34 MAN RAY Les Larmes (Tears) Dread and Anxiety

35 Dread is a feeling of general apprehension. Kierkegaard interpreted it as God’s way of calling each individual to make a commitment to a personally valid way of life. Anxiety stems from our understanding and recognition of the total freedom of choice that confronts us every moment, and the individual’s confrontation with nothingness.

36 “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” “It was previously a question of finding out whether or not life had to have a meaning to be lived. It now becomes clear, on the contrary, that it will be lived all the better if it has no meaning.”

37 EDVARD MUNCH Night in Saint Cloud (1890) Nothingness and Death

38 Death hangs over all of us. Our awareness of it can bring freedom or anguish. I am my own existence. Nothing structures my world. “Nothingness is our inherent lack of self. We are in constant pursuit of a self. Nothingness is the creative well-spring from which all human possibilities can be realized.” –Jean-Paul Sartre See: Nothingness and Death

39 EDGAR DEGAS “L’absinthe” (1876) Alienation or Estrangement From all other humans From human institutions From the past From the future We only exist right now, right here…

40 L’Étranger (The Stranger or The Outsider) Written by Albert Camus in 1942

41 Albert Camus dissociated himself from the existentialists but acknowledged man’s lonely condition in the universe. His “man of the absurd” (or absurd hero) rejects despair and commits himself to the anguish and responsibility of living as best he can. Basically, man creates himself through the choices he makes. There are no guides for these choices, but he has to make them anyway, which renders life absurd…

42 The ABSURD WORLD Conspicuous in its lack of logic, consistency, coherence, intelligibility, and realism, the literature of the absurd depicts the anguish, forlornness, and despair inherent in the human condition. Conspicuous in its lack of logic, consistency, coherence, intelligibility, and realism, the literature of the absurd depicts the anguish, forlornness, and despair inherent in the human condition. Counter to the rationalist assumptions of traditional humanism, absurdism denies the existence of universal truth or value. Counter to the rationalist assumptions of traditional humanism, absurdism denies the existence of universal truth or value.

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44 Camus’ absurd world The world of values is never predictable nor controllable. A gap exists between man’s intellectual constructs (meaning) and the universe (reality). He cannot justify new values by appeal to convention. “Americans have always valued free speech.”

45 Relation to Sartre Conditions (social constructs) hem him in, isolating him from the world in a way that cats and stones are not isolated. Human– being for itself Cat, stone– being of itself

46 Meursault (page 65-67) Does not analyze himself-- No thoughts or concerns for past or future –Future cannot be predicted or planned for—this life is as good as any –The world is Absurd and planning for it is pointless (“Want to make God laugh? Make a plan”)

47 Regret, guilt, remorse Does not analyze himself- They are based on values outside of your own –They are for others (can you feel regret without thinking of others?) –These feelings distract from the moment

48 Afterlife, God, spirituality (67-69, , ) He does not bother to imagine an afterlife or God—focus on this life Spirituality is supposed to add something to this world (the chaplain asks if when he stares at a stone he sees the sorrows of others or the face of God. Meursault sees a stone.)

49 Relation to Sartre (p123) Conditions (social constructs) hem him in, isolating him from the world in a way that cats and stones are not isolated. Alienation


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