What Should Be Taught in Existentialism?


Vincent White

Existentialism is a philosophical movement that emphasizes individual freedom and choice. It is a complex and nuanced philosophy with many different interpretations and approaches. However, there are certain key ideas and concepts that are commonly associated with existentialism and should be taught in any comprehensive course on the subject.


One of the central themes of existentialism is the importance of authenticity. According to this philosophy, individuals must strive to be true to themselves and their own values, rather than conforming to external expectations or societal norms. This means embracing one’s own individuality, even if it goes against the grain.


Existentialism also emphasizes the importance of choice. Individuals must take responsibility for their own actions and decisions, rather than blaming others or relying on external factors such as fate or destiny. This means recognizing that every decision has consequences, both positive and negative, and being willing to accept those consequences.


Another key concept in existentialism is angst, which refers to a sense of uncertainty or anxiety about the meaning of life. This can arise from a variety of sources, including social pressures, personal experiences, or simply the inherent mystery of existence itself. Existentialists argue that this sense of angst can be a productive force, driving individuals to seek out meaning and purpose in their lives.


Existentialists also tend to focus heavily on the issue of death. They argue that acknowledging our mortality can help us appreciate the value of life more fully and make more meaningful choices. Additionally, they often view death as an essential part of life’s journey, rather than something to be feared or avoided.


Finally, existentialists emphasize the importance of freedom. They argue that individuals must be free to make their own choices and determine their own destiny without interference from external forces. This means rejecting the idea of predetermined fate or destiny and embracing the idea that we are all ultimately responsible for our own lives.

  • Conclusion:

In conclusion, any comprehensive course on existentialism should cover these key concepts and themes. By exploring ideas such as authenticity, choice, angst, death, and freedom, students can gain a deeper understanding of this complex and fascinating philosophy.

Additionally, by incorporating interactive activities and discussions into the curriculum, instructors can help students engage with these concepts on a more personal level and apply them to their own lives. Overall, existentialism is a rich and rewarding area of study that has much to offer those who are willing to dive in and embrace its challenging ideas.