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Existentialism, Assessment Example

Pages: 1

Words: 269

Assessment

The topic of taking responsibility for one’s own identity is well-grounded in existentialism.  From Kierkegaard and Heidegger to the named thinkers – Satre, Camus, and de Beauvoir – each has put a unique “spin” on the concept of authenticity.  It remains at the core of existentialism.

Using a lack of a starting point to explain the essence of individuals, Satre thus explains the responsibility of an individual.  In other words, as there is no creator, there is no essence.  Thus, we are all responsible for our actions, as no one can blame certain actions and behaviors on something else.  Freedom, responsibility, and other dynamics surrounding authenticity pervade the works of Camus and de Beauvoir as well, such as the “revolt” found in the thought of Camus.

Personally, I find a great deal to like about these takes on the idea of authenticity.  Recognizing one’s place in the world actively can be liberating.  As Satre notes, we can ignore moral/aesthetic objections to have a more comfortable existence, but this would lack the complete authenticity sought after by existentialists.  It would undermine meaning in life to ignore the freedom that we share as individuals in the world.

The works of Faulkner and Beckett certainly play a role in existentialist dialogues.  For instance, Faulkner in “The Sound and the Fury” blurs time to look at life and the concept of time is interesting.  I see these contributions as a continuation of the same themes.  Through different characterizations and examples, Faulkner and Becket are similarly shedding light on the reality and authenticity of existence – just as Satre, Camus, and Beauvoir, as well as others, do.

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