mmw6 final

mmw6 final - MMW 6 Edmond Chang Existentialism: god has...

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MMW 6 – Edmond Chang 03:19 Existentialism : god has become obsolete Jean-Paul Sartre “Can a truly contemporary person not be an atheist ?” given the horrors seen in the 20 th century is it still even possible to believe that god exists. He was a very disillusioned man of faith, his conclusion is that god is not the ultimate reality of everyone’s life. We should not just follow an external code out of fear. He is saying that that should no longer be the source of morality, rather that it should be based on a personal code that we maintain through compassion. This is a reflection of the existentialist attitude towards religion (also with Elie Wiesel) Jean-Paul Sartre was the most articulate spokesperson for existentialism. Now humanity is in a state where we are condemned to be free He says that now in our existence we have no more excuses, we cannot turn to other sources of authority or influence, and say “that’s what made me do it”, can no longer defer to god, or ideology, or society and its system as an excuse for your actions. Cannot even turn to human nature and say “that’s just human nature”. Can only point to yourself for all your choices and actions. In that sense existence becomes one where excuses are no longer possible. Every individual is utterly responsible for the choice to act or not to act. Sometimes even when we choose not to act that is a choice with implications we have to be accountable for. This notion of personal accountability is what Jean-Paul Sartre is talking about, making each person accountable for choices and decisions. In this way it’s a very specific challenge to psycho analysis, particularly Freudian psycho analysis. Because for Freud everything can be explained by our innate passions. Those things are built into our DNA. Existentialism says that there is no such thing as a predisposed psychological constitution. Existentialists do not buy into that, instead they believe that our psyche is what we will it to be, each individual wills their psyche to be Existence precedes essence - we are thrust into existence from the moment of birth, and from that point on we create ourselves moment by moment, day by day. There is no such thing as a natural essence that shapes us. We are shaping ourselves from day to day. “there is no human nature, since there is no god to conceive it, not only is man what he conceives himself to be, but he is also what he wills himself ot be after this thrust towards existence” everything is about personal will and choice. Another existentialist says “man is the future of man” This philosophy provoked attacks from other traditions: particularly the Marxist tradition. Marxists would look at this and say that existentialism was preaching a passive way of dealing with life, that the philosophy is too self-indulgent, what about solidarity, and the collective will.
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Sartre says that for existentialism, individual subjectivity is only the starting point, it’s not the end, it’s just the starting point. If you start form individual subjectivity, then you
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This note was uploaded on 06/29/2011 for the course MMW 6 taught by Professor Chang during the Winter '08 term at UCSD.

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mmw6 final - MMW 6 Edmond Chang Existentialism: god has...

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