Is Existentialism Part of Humanism?


Jane Flores

Existentialism and humanism are two philosophical concepts that have been subject to much discussion and debate. While both these concepts deal with the human condition, they differ in their approach and focus. One of the main questions that arise is whether existentialism is a part of humanism or not.

What is Humanism?

Humanism is a philosophical perspective that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively. It posits that humans have the ability to determine their own destiny through rational thought and free will. Humanism emphasizes the importance of reason, empathy, and ethics in guiding human behavior.

What is Existentialism?

Existentialism, on the other hand, focuses on individual existence and freedom. It emphasizes that individuals have to create their own meaning in life as there is no inherent meaning in life. Existentialists believe that humans are free to make choices but also responsible for the consequences of those choices.

Is Existentialism a part of Humanism?

There is no straightforward answer to this question as there are different schools of thought within existentialism and humanism. However, some philosophers argue that existentialism can be considered a part of humanism.

One reason for this argument is that both existentialism and humanism share a common concern with the individual experience. Both philosophies acknowledge the importance of subjective experience in shaping our understanding of reality.

Moreover, both existentialists and humanists emphasize individual freedom and responsibility. They believe in the power of individuals to make choices that shape their lives.

However, there are also differences between these two philosophies. Humanists tend to take a more optimistic view of humanity’s potential for progress while existentialists focus on individual experiences such as anxiety, alienation, and despair.

In conclusion, while there are similarities between existentialist philosophy and humanist philosophy, it cannot be said definitively whether or not existentialist philosophy is a part of humanist philosophy. Both these philosophies emphasize the importance of individual experience and freedom, but they differ in their approach to these concepts. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide whether they align more with existentialist or humanist philosophy.