What Is Difference Between Existentialism and Phenomenology?


Diego Sanchez

Existentialism and Phenomenology are two philosophical schools that emerged in the 20th century. Both of these movements have had a significant impact on modern philosophy, psychology, and literature.

Although there are some similarities between these two schools of thought, they are fundamentally different in their approach. This article will discuss the main differences between Existentialism and Phenomenology.

What is Existentialism?

Existentialism is a philosophical movement that emphasizes individual freedom and choice. According to existentialists, human beings are free to make their own choices and create their own values in life. They reject the idea that there is any inherent meaning or purpose in life, arguing that individuals must create their own meaning through their actions.

Existentialists believe that life is inherently absurd and meaningless, which can cause anxiety and despair. However, they also believe that this realization can be liberating because it allows individuals to take responsibility for their own lives.

What is Phenomenology?

Phenomenology is a philosophical movement that emphasizes the study of subjective experience. According to phenomenologists, our understanding of the world comes from our perceptions and consciousness of it.

Phenomenologists reject the idea that we can know anything about reality beyond our subjective experience of it. They argue that our experiences of objects are shaped by our perceptions, emotions, memories, and cultural background.

Phenomenologists seek to understand the world as it appears to us rather than trying to uncover any objective reality behind it. They believe that by studying subjective experience, we can gain insights into human nature and consciousness.

The Differences Between Existentialism and Phenomenology

While both existentialism and phenomenology emphasize individual experience over objective reality, they differ in several fundamental ways:

1) Attitude Towards Meaning: Existentialists reject the idea of inherent meaning or purpose in life, while phenomenologists seek to understand subjective experience.

2) Focus on Freedom: Existentialists emphasize individual freedom and choice, while phenomenologists focus on the ways in which our experiences are shaped by our perceptions and cultural background.

3) Emphasis on Anxiety: Existentialists view anxiety as a fundamental aspect of human existence, while phenomenologists do not place as much emphasis on it.

4) Approach to Consciousness: Existentialists tend to focus on the relationship between consciousness and the external world, while phenomenologists emphasize the study of subjective experience.


In conclusion, Existentialism and Phenomenology are two distinct philosophical schools that offer different perspectives on human existence. While Existentialism emphasizes individual freedom and choice in a meaningless world, Phenomenology seeks to understand subjective experience. Both of these movements have had a significant impact on modern philosophy and continue to shape our understanding of human nature.