What Is the Metaphysics of Existentialism?


Jane Flores

Existentialism is a philosophical movement that originated in the 20th century. It is concerned with the meaning and purpose of human existence and the individual’s freedom to make choices that define their existence.

The metaphysics of existentialism is a branch of philosophy that explores the nature of reality and existence. In this article, we will delve into the metaphysical concepts that underlie existentialism.

Existence Precedes Essence

One of the fundamental concepts of existentialism is that existence precedes essence. This means that humans are not born with a predetermined essence or purpose, but rather they create their own essence through their choices and actions. This idea challenges traditional philosophical views, which suggest that humans have an inherent nature or essence.

The notion of existence preceding essence can be illustrated through an example. Consider a chair – it has a predetermined purpose, which is to provide support for someone who sits on it. In contrast, humans do not have a predetermined purpose – they must create their own purpose through their choices and actions.


Another key concept in the metaphysics of existentialism is authenticity. Authenticity refers to living in accordance with one’s own values and beliefs, rather than conforming to societal expectations or external pressures. According to existentialists, authenticity is crucial for individuals to live meaningful lives.

Living authentically requires individuals to be honest with themselves about their values and beliefs, as well as accepting responsibility for their choices and actions. This can be challenging, as it often involves going against societal norms or expectations.


Freedom is another important concept in existentialist metaphysics. According to existentialists, individuals have complete freedom to make choices that define their lives. However, this freedom also comes with responsibility – individuals must take responsibility for the consequences of their choices.

Freedom can be seen as both liberating and daunting – it provides individuals with the power to shape their own lives, but also requires them to take responsibility for their actions. This tension between freedom and responsibility is a central theme in existentialist philosophy.


In conclusion, the metaphysics of existentialism is concerned with exploring the nature of reality and existence. Key concepts in this branch of philosophy include the idea that existence precedes essence, authenticity, and freedom.

These concepts challenge traditional philosophical views and provide a framework for individuals to create their own meaning and purpose in life. By understanding these concepts, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the philosophy of existentialism and its relevance to our lives today.