Existentialism the idea that there is no point to focus on existence as your existence is your dasein and you should not worry about anything other than your dasien. 

60’s/70s/80s based on existentialism

Frantz Fanon’s book ‘Wretched of the Earth’:
“The rebel’s weapon is the proof of his humanity. This is irrepressible violence is man re-creating himself”.

If there isn’t any point to anything what would you? How confusing, we need guidance. But the existentialists say there is no right or wrong. 
Existentialists say you should make that decision yourself- It’s all about choice. 

To make a choice- is the heart of existentialism, 
violence is like a accelerated choice- you get stuck in. DO something. Violence is the ultimate type of choice. 

Existentialism is arguable that it is political change, comes from Nietzsche and Heidegger- we can actually cause violence towards to government. Nietzsche is a central figure in it. He makes a break with what we have before. “God is dead” he is not saying a specific god is dead, he is saying about the big structure that we rely on. There is no longer any certainty. When you were a kid you wanted a parent to tell you if a thing is right or wrong. We love certainty. When religion thrived we loved certainty. But now people are starting to drop their faith, the world becomes confusing. And there are no absolutes no certainty. 
“God is dead” Brilliant says Nietzsche, before we were told what to do and think. It was all nonsense, this is no super structure. We have complete freedom. 
This is Nietzsche’s The transvaluation of all values
This is it, there is no other region. We can choose what is good or bad, there is no hierarchy telling us or guiding us.

“At last the horizon seems open once more, our ships can at last put out to sea in face of every danger; every hazard is again permitted to the discerner; the sea, out sea again lies open before us.” 

We are adults, we make choices. 

Morality (Nietzsche) 
If we are all different and there is no absolute morality we have different morals. 
Kant- we are guided by our
Locke- natural rights
Rousseau- general will- rules set out to guide us
Nietzsche says a load of rubbish/ nonsense, we have our own rules. 
Nobody gives us these morals, not even God. 
Ubermensch- The superman the overman, the things we are told as human beings the ubermensch say nonsense i will work this out myself. The ubermensch will overcome and ignore other values set out. 

Choice is crucial to existentialists. 
10 commandments- Children- taught they would be ok if they learnt it. 
But if you say non of this is relevant you have no-one to follow, no plan to go. How can you live in a god-less universe. The only thing you have is choice. Make your own internal reality. Everything is neither right or wrong it is your own choice. 

claimed he wasn’t an existentialist- How very existentialist of him!

Being and time- highly influential.

It is about existence here. What it means to exist. 

Epistemology - Newton, Locke and Hume- they wanted to know the universe. 
The existentialists just concern over our existence. Not the outer world. 

Not a sociologist asking you what life is like. 

They know that there is not point to anything. If you argue a point what basis do you claim that it is meaningful. 

Religion- Hume attacked it. John Locke idea? A way to work out laws from governments- hard to establish, a different society would contrast different laws. 
There is reason in the world. But where does it come from?

Existentialists say its a given, its about existence. 

Their point is not about reason, its about what we do when we realise there is no reason. 

He first asks- WHAT is it that exists. what is the basic beginning of existence.
It is Dasein. Simply us, we are dasein. 

Heidegger thought human beings are dasein, but it isn’t only humans. 

He attacks Decartes, lays into the Cartesians. 

Decartees Cartesian Dualism- two things in the universe mind and body spirt physicality. 
Hiedegger says this was a disaster. People shouldn’t of believed this. 
If these two things are completely differentness how do they react? it’s like a ghost lifting a chair- two different substances cannot react. 
How can the mind and the body be different how can they react. You cannot move a chair with your mind for example. 

How do we get our minds out into the world.
-Hume says you cant, you’ll never know anything. Billboard example. Anything in the future is unknowable, everything can be falsified. 

Instead of Hume's spectacle idea, cartiasisan dualism.. Heidegger comes up with Dasein. 
Dasein is ‘being in the world.’

Our existence is simply our interaction with the world. 
I’m in journalism, i’m engaged with it”. Me on the world is not my existence my existence is the interaction and engagement i make with the world. I make this through choice. You have to make a choice to engage with something. 
Dasein is your engagement with the world. 

He is not empirical trying to know the world, he is trying to say we are in the world and we are trying to engage with it. 

No grand theory. This is the way it is, that is what existence is how you engage with the world. 

If your existence is simply interaction with the world he is doing away with the soul and the Cartesian dualism. 

An big grand machine- you can only see the details of your body. If the idealists are right we can see the soul, embedded in his body. 
If you look at someone through the existentialism body. You would not see the physical being, the soul what you would see is every decision that that person would have made. 

The most important thing that defines you is your next decision, it’s the choice you make. 

You are defined by your choices. 

Das Man
Nietzsche ‘slave morality’ the ubermensch. The slave following religion/rules. If we want to be an ubermensch we must overcome this. 
Heidegger says the same. You should not be cowardly and dodge decisions. 
-Bad faith -self conscious people “i don't want to be seen driving in this”  Das Man- you worried about other people, its not you making decisions to find your self you are worried what everyone says and thinks of you. 

Is simply the facts of what bought you here. 
Where you were born. All of the facts that have happened up to this point in your life is a persons facticity. If you are defined what has come before this moment you are DAS MAN. you are imperfect. “I had a tough up being” “I don’t stand a chance here” this is you being defined by your facticity (Your past) “University is hard because no one in my family has gone to university” this is defining yourself as what has come before. 

Heidegger says you are thrown into the world 
you could of been born anywhere. 
You local team, British Blood- is nonsense. It is just blood luck. Nationality is a complete slavishly following your facticity. 
Thats all you knew, it was never your choice where you were born. Who your parents are is simply your facticity.
You shouldn’t base your life on your facticity says Heidegger. 
It is just moral luck where you end up 

how do you live an authentic life? You transcend it. (You over come it.) 
It’s Nietzschian.
-Your facticity is not you. It’s just blind luck. 
We react to our facticity. 
We are being in our world
We are defined by our facticity but if we fight our facticity we live an authentic life. 
It’s our reaction to our facility, if you are cowed down by your facticity we are living an unauthentic life. 

Crucial to Fanon- path to escape the role of the victim. 
Interpreted it, we do not need to be victims, We choose not to be victims, to fight against people who make us a victim. 


Existence precedes essence- we create our own purpose
For example- Simone de Beauvoir “one is not born a women, but becomes a women.” We are defined by our own essence 

key argument in existentialism- The world becomes absurd- there is no guiding spirit, there is no teleological driving force, no purpose history isn’t driving towards and end point- stuff happens good or bad without reason. You could of grown up supporting any football team. There is no primary reason to it. 

Heidegger’s existentialism is clearly right wing. Stare was left wing. Existentialism is broad. 

The life of a person is not determined in advance, by God or moral laws, says Sartre. The only thing I cannot escape is the need to choose. But the possibility of recreating oneself is frightening. People want to be guided by someone else, telling them everything will be ok. People will try to avoid this freedom this is ‘bad faith’. 

Sartre's bad faith
Existentialists generally believe at any choice you make you can recreate yourself. 
Your facticity is your past.
Your future is the choices you make.
If you want to be a sheep then Stare says this is ‘bad faith’ .

The greatest mistake is for us to think that we are one type of person. An object cannot change but you can change. Your next choice can change you- says existentialists. 

If you cannot define yourself or you wont allow yourself to. You can define yourself by anything. You defining yourself is bad faith. 

The alternative to bad faith is to take responsibility for your actions and be defined by your choices. 

it is i who maintain values you being’- in keep with Nietzsche. We can pretty much do anything we want. 

Stare claimed this is our humanity
We start to realise that we are: alone etc.....

(we are alone)
Abandonment- we feel abandoned, God is Dead there is no one to tell us how to act. 

Then we realise it’s tough making choices
Anguish- Humans are fundamentally free, condemned to be free. We have no excused we are responsible for everything we are. You cannot blame anyone else, thats your facticity. You are defined by your choices not your past. We had no choice on our past, why get so hung up on it. Don’t define yourself on your facticity. 

Despair- this is the realisation of that the world may precent us from getting us what we want.

Existentialism is the reaction to the realization that there is no reason to anything.

Sartre's examples
Stare’s pupil ( a real example of a pupil in the second world war, the choice for a boy to look after his mother whilst the nazi’s were in france, or should he go and join the resistance and fight the germans)
Obviously he loves his mother. But the only chance to get rid of the Nazi’s is to fight them. 
Choice between his mother and joining the Free French. 
Abandonment, Anguish- the choice where nothing really has any point anyway and despair. 

Sartre says you are free, you can choice. Just make the choice. You define yourself by this choice. 

Bad faith 
Most people think that because you have a certain role they have expectations of you. 
Students, workers. 
Sartre says...No you are radically free, you have no obligations on you. 
It’s your simple choice what you do. 

Sartre thinks such people are making metaphysical mistake- turning themselves into inert objects rather than being free beings. 

another example:
Not interpreting someone’s hint they like you. It’s your choice to engage with someone physically and intimately the moment of choice is the key thing. 
If a man put his hand on the table you can choice to put your hand with his and let him know you want to be with him or you don’t.
But this women leaves her hand on his but makes her hand an object. It doesn’t mean anything, she ignores the choice she has made. She dodged the choice, this is bad faith. Misleading, leading someone on. She is ignoring her hand, from a undefined this to a defined thing. 

She’s been defined by him. 

The longer you drag the decision out the harder it will be. 

Another example, a gay man.
A man with gay experiences should he call himself gay? but that is in the past that is his facticity he can make a new choice. 
You have the ability to change you are not an object.
If you said I must be gay because of my experiences Sartre says NO. You are basing this on the past. You can decide now. 

Albert Camus 
The Stranger

Meursault the protagonist of this book appears emotionless and makes choices without the opinions of others effecting him. 

The death of his mother provoke little in the way of emotion for him. He would consider others but not let this effect his choices. When he was sat next to his mothers coffin Meursault smoked. "I felt like i should smoke, I didn't know if i should do it with mumma there, i thought about it, it didn't matter. 
Thoughts like these contributed to his sentencing for killing someone. He again showed know remorse. 

The theme of this book is cited as an example of existentialist although Camus did not regard himself as one. Meursault lived a life where he did not live in bad faith. He continued to stick to his own choices and the past didn't matter to him. This is a key idea to existentialists. 

1 comment:

  1. The belief that ther eis no point to anything at all we would call nihilism. Existentialism is not the same view exactly, though the difference is subtle. The 'point' of things for existentialism is subjectively defined and a social activity like a political stance or a relationship is freely entered into and is enagegd for itself, and not for thesake of others, or for the sake of fiting in with the the idea of doing the right thing in terms of societal norms. So a free relationship between two lovers gives a huge point to lifefor example, far more than for a religious person who does not really beleive the religion, but goes along with it. There are existentialist religious people - they would be the ones who really fantaicallt believe in the religion (like Kirkegaard). For existentialist there is 'no point' in something unless you are passionate about it. Camus was probably a nihilist at the end of his life. The inescapable conclusion of nihilism must be either suicide or a leap of faith into something like the religious life of a monk or nun. Good notes though.

    About Nihilism http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ajv-RrQs4o

    The lighter side of nihilism. I love the line "Are these people Nazis? No, they are just nihilists, there's nothing to be afraif of...": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AEMiz6rcxc