Existentialism and humanism are two philosophical concepts that have been widely discussed and debated for decades. While both these concepts deal with the nature of human existence, they approach it from different perspectives. In this article, we will explore how existentialism relates to humanism.

What is Existentialism?

Existentialism is a philosophical movement that emerged in the 20th century. It emphasizes individual freedom and choice, and the search for meaning in life. According to existentialists, individuals are responsible for creating their own values and meanings in life, as opposed to them being dictated by society or external factors.

One of the key ideas of existentialism is that humans are isolated beings who must create their own meaning in life. Therefore, existentialists believe that life has no inherent meaning and it is up to each individual to find their own purpose.

What is Humanism?

Humanism is a philosophical concept that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings. It asserts that humans have inherent worth and dignity, simply by virtue of being human. Humanists believe in reason, ethics, justice, and human rights.

One of the key ideas of humanism is that humans have the potential for greatness and can achieve it through education, self-improvement, and moral development. Humanists also believe in the power of community and social responsibility.

How do Existentialism and Humanism Relate?

While existentialism emphasizes individuality and personal responsibility, it also recognizes the importance of community and social relationships. Similarly, while humanism focuses on community values and social responsibility, it acknowledges the significance of individuality.

Both these concepts recognize the importance of personal agency in shaping one’s life. While existentialists emphasize personal choice in creating meaning in life, humanists focus on fulfilling one’s potential by contributing to society.

Furthermore, both these concepts acknowledge that humans are complex beings with multiple identities and experiences. Existentialism recognizes the complexity of human emotions and the importance of authenticity in self-expression. Humanism similarly emphasizes the importance of empathy and compassion in understanding other people’s experiences.


In conclusion, existentialism and humanism share many similarities despite approaching the concept of human existence from different angles. Both these concepts recognize the value of personal agency, community values, and empathy for others. By combining these two concepts, individuals can create a more holistic understanding of their own existence and their place in society.