Existentialism is a philosophical movement that emerged in the 20th century. It is concerned with the nature of human existence and the individual’s freedom and choice. In this article, we will explore the simple definition of existentialism and its key concepts.

What is Existentialism?

Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes individual existence, freedom, and choice. It focuses on the individual’s experience of being in the world and their search for meaning and purpose in life.

Existentialists believe that individuals are unique beings with free will, who must create their own values in a world that has no inherent meaning. They reject the idea that there is a predetermined purpose to human existence or a fixed set of moral values.

The Key Concepts of Existentialism

There are several key concepts associated with existentialism:

1. Existence precedes essence

This means that individuals create their own essence through their actions and experiences. There is no predetermined human nature or purpose; individuals must create their own meaning in life.

2. Freedom and choice

Existentialists emphasize individual freedom and choice. They believe that individuals have complete responsibility for their lives and must make choices based on personal values rather than external factors such as social norms or religious beliefs.

3. Anxiety

Anxiety is a central theme in existentialist thought. It arises from our awareness of our own mortality and the uncertainty of our existence. According to existentialists, anxiety can be a positive force if it motivates individuals to live authentically and take responsibility for their lives.

4. Authenticity

Authenticity refers to living in accordance with one’s own values rather than conforming to external expectations or societal norms. Existentialists believe that authenticity is essential for living a meaningful life.


Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes individual freedom, choice, and responsibility. It rejects the idea of predetermined human nature or purpose and encourages individuals to create their own meaning in life. By embracing anxiety and living authentically, individuals can find purpose and fulfillment in a world without inherent meaning.