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What are some common misconceptions about existentialism?

Posted - June 11, 2019


  • 31597
    Uh...that it exists?
      June 11, 2019 5:25 PM MDT

  • 4134

    People commonly imagine existentialists are nihilists.  
    The difference is subtle.
    Nihilism asserts that life has no meaning or purpose.  
    Existentialists believe that individuals exist first - before "essence" - i.e. having a brain is what makes it possible to develop a mind, character, emotions and personality).
    Existentialists also believe that individuals have the freedom to make decisions that will determine their essence.  
    Existentialists reject systems which propose to have precise answers to the questions of meaning and purpose. 
    While some existentialists are also nihilists, it is not a logically necessary characteristic. 

    There is also common misconception that all existentialists are atheists.  
    One of the founders of existentialism, Kierkegaard, was a Christian theologian.



      June 11, 2019 6:52 PM MDT