Existentialism is Dead

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Reply Tue 6 Oct, 2009 02:20 pm
I think existentialism was an outcry against totalitarianism (Marxism, Nazism, Maoism). In this respect, its decline may be regarded as having the mission completed.

On an individual level, losing interest to existentialism may testify that the person has found the meaning of his/her life and no longer needs existentialism.
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2009 04:36 am
Existentialism is dead for the simple reason it put the ego at the centre of a meaningless universe, and then burdened it with the task of creating meaning where there was none. As many of its instigators said, the whole venture was an exercise in absurdity from the outset. (Incidentally, Heidigger repudiated existentialism and I don't think should be counted among them.)
Reply Mon 12 Oct, 2009 08:13 am
BlueChicken;35040 wrote:
I am interested in why Existentialism failed, but to say that it can be predicated as a movement in the future seems almost contradictory to the idea of it as a whole.

I don't think it failed. It's as alive as phrenology (which gave us the eternal notions of low-brow and high-brow)..okay maybe even more alive than phrenology.
Existentialism was more a cultural complex of aesthetic judgements than the philosophical critique for which it mistook itself. I'd say the real philosophical movements or advances of the 20th century -- behind all the ideologically-laden cultural moves -- were phenomenology, psychoanalysis, structuralism and the post-positivist critique of the philosophy of science (which I guess is how I think of Wittgenstein and Kuhn et ali -- eg Quine, Putnam). Existentialism strikes me as being a kind of stunt-man's phenomenlogy.
Reply Sat 21 Nov, 2009 06:52 am
I don't know that I'd agree that Existentialism is on a decline currently, though it certainly has been since the post 1940's era.

It seems to me that in the post-war years, at least in Western society, there was a strong social push toward conformity by the majority of people in the search for identity. Despite the boom of expressionism in music, the arts, and design, the prevailing norm of the majority was a cookie-cutter approach to individual values.

However, today, with the proliferation of the Internet, particularly the multi-media aspect of it, not only is information being rapidly deseminated and widely available, but on most levels of society, there is a desire toward personal expression that contains an existential element. This flow of unlimited information exposes people to a vast set of values, beliefs, and personal expressions that is ever-changing and omnipresent.

Exposure to this spectrum of expression lends itself to existential introspection on an individual level, and, as a result, we are seeing a rising proliferation of new philosophies, new takes on old philosophies, new splinter aspects of religions, and the merging of many previously-separate psychosocial and ontological systems.

Is this not the essence of existentialism?

sometime sun
Reply Sat 21 Nov, 2009 07:44 pm
Just because something is ingnored or forgotten does not make it dead.
Existentialism either has always existed or does not exist at all. (in one form or another)
Hard to decide where and when to place isms as well as kill them. (one ism or another)
Reply Sat 21 Nov, 2009 09:37 pm
Isn't the essence of existentialism that 'existence precedes essence'? So if we become aware of this neo-existentialism as existentialism, then it becomes existentialism. Or am I misinterpreting something here?

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