with Existentialismus one designates generally senses the French philosophical current of the existential philosophy. Strictly speaking by this Paul Sartres becomes also currents from the literature (Kafka, Rilke, Benn) , theology (Bultmann) and that apart from the existential philosophy JeanPädagogik (Bollnow) understood.

The moreover one the term „of the Existentialismus is “the used than name for a general attitude of mind, which understands humans as existence in the sense of the existential philosophy (“humans are its existence. ”).

As general agents of the French Existentialismus are considered Albert Camus beside Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Gabriel Marcel.

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one of the most well-known existentialistischen expressions, which can be proven however in a general manner with Schelling, the statement Sartres is, „the existence goes the Essenz (the nature, and/or. the sense and contents of the Seins) ahead “, from the writing the Existentialismus is an human.

Thematically one ties here to the nature regulation (Essenz) of humans in philosophy. By the determination of humans as a biological nature, as reason natures, as a göttliches nature etc., humans before its existence keep first already a meaning, evenly biologically, reasonably,God-similarly. The Existentialismus criticizes this, the existence previous sense regulation and opposes it the existence: humans are not to be seized as humans, if not ever from his own individual existence one proceeds. Each nature regulation contains, so the criticism of the Existentialismus, always already an aspect of theory,not from a direct experience of the existence feeds themselves, but for the existence „subordinate “one forms.

From this also the focusing of the Existentialismus explains itself fear, death, liberty, responsibility and an acting on the topics as elementarily human experiences. Humans understand themselves only in experiencingits. Therefore the Existentialismus refers no longer to a göttliche or cosmological or quasigöttliche order, separates develops its theory from the particular. Thereby a religious basic attitude, even if this is intended frequently by the writings Sartres, faith becomes not rejected rathereven to vital experiencing.

In terms such as throwingness, self draft, liberty and self-determination point themselves the centring of the Existentialismus to the problem of the release of humans to its own possibilities. The necessity for this possibility to be, shows up in the experiences of absurdity, Disgust, fear, concern, death and boredom and point impressively that straight this subjective feeling determines the life of humans, requirements for objectivity out before the background of these experiences fade.

„The atheistische Existentialismus, for which I stand, is coherent. He explains that, if Godnot existed, there at least one nature is, with which the existence of the Essenz precedes, a nature, which exists, before it can be defined by any term, and that this nature humans or, as Heidegger says, which is human reality. Which means here that thoseExistence of the Essenz precedes? It meant that humans exist first, met, in the world emerges itself and thereafter defined.” (Jean Paul Sartre, “the Existenzialismus is an human”)

basic positions of the Existentialismus

Jean Paul Sartre

Sartres philosophical Hauptwerk thatIts and the nothing is considered at the same time also as the most important theoretical foundation of the Existentialismus. Here it points out that itself the human its (for itself), of the other one its, the things, animals, things etc. (On itself) by its purchase to the nothing differentiates.

Humans are its, „that not that are, which it is, and which is that, which it is not”.

When only nature, which can answer in the negative, does not have a purchase to that or non--more, which can lie, thus to say, what is not, that hasHumans thereby also the burden of the liberty and concomitantly the responsibility. The Hauptwerk points to impressive analyses of human situations, like upon the liberty in all purchases of the Seins of humans forces themselves, humans before this responsibility flees and like the concrete purchase on the other handto me only this responsibility and liberty points out. The prejudice that it concerns with the Existentialismus sartrescher coinage an egoistic individualism, thus cannot be kept upright. On the contrary: in his analyses the philosopher points out the fact that human life never when understood isolated lifewill can. The analyses necessary for it are probable, with restriction, the strongest philosophical arguments against any Solipsismus.

Methodically Sartre proceeds phenomenologically , by he the Existentiale such as liberty , fear, fear, love, shame as witnesses for the liberty, specified above, of theHumans asks. By these analyses it finally arrives also at the other one than me opposite-stepping liberty and points out that our liberty and responsibility have a ontologische correspondence. Thus Sartre can provide no moral demands, moral however is for it not not, buttheir correspondence in the responsibility becomes detached each particular from over-individual purchases and finds.

„However if really the existence of the Essenz precedes, then are humans responsible for what it is. Thus the first step of the Existentialismus, each humans is in possession its,which it is to bring and to let on it the complete responsibility for its existence rest. And if we say that humans are responsible for itself, then do not want we not to say that humans straight are responsible for its individuality evenly only,separate that it is responsible for all humans. ”

Now is however straight here frequently the objection, why humans act then immorally, and/or. their responsibility do not notice, if we are nevertheless free. Humans have a purchase after Sartre to the nothing evenly by the fact thatit in its own its structure anything is not, i.e. the sentence quoted above expresses that we ourselves can flee again and again before the responsibility: Sartre calls this ontologische structure of humans „mauvaise foi “, the insincerity or self lie. It describes, as we inthe self lie liars and deceiving in a person at the same time it are and point out why this obviously logically paradoxical one is to be reconstructed: Since we are to be determined obviously not clearly, how the analysis the mauvaise foi close puts, we transact a so-called again and again. Draft.

„Humansis to be been first a draft, which lives itself subjectively, instead of only one foam or a rot or a cauliflower; nothing exists to this draft in front, nothing is in the sky, and humans will be first, which he planned to be, not which itwill want to be. Because which we usually understand by wools, is a conscious decision, which follows for most among us, to which he made himself. I can want myself to attach a party, a book write, me marry, everything that am only telling making of oneursprünglicheren, more spontaneous choice than which one will calls”.

In its literary works this topic, draft and change of a basic draft the topic are made again and again.

Albert Camus

Albert Camus is a second important large representative of the French Existentialismus. In its 1942 appearedBook the myth of Sisyphos develops Camus the philosophy of the absurd one. As Existentialist understanding, and more in the tradition of the French moralists seeing, he does not seize himself the world however in similar way as Sartre as not on his part senseful, because by thatHumans only sense receiving. Thus in the long run the conviction expressed by Sartre applies also to Camus that the existence of the Essenz vorrausgehe. Thus however philosophical asking for Camus in the question only important for it, those about the suicide cumulates. The suicide is here asSolution, detachment meant from a senseless world: Why lives, if nevertheless all senseless is? If we trust neither into a God, nor into our reason to set can - remains which then as security? Nothing! For modern humans there is not this security. Here liesalso its refusal of the Existentialismus as system: a system suggests an order, which did not see Camus in such a way. Thus it drives the considerations of the Existentialismus on its point. Its answer lies in the constant revolt of humans. By humans the absurd relationship of humans andWorld recognizes, accepts themselves it as a nature, which is free. In the myth of Sisyphos this is described exemplary at the mentioned myth. As Sisyphos bears its punishment, however not from the burden of the eternal agony to shake itself does not leave, shows he accepts the size of themodern humans, who accept its absurd fate.

Existentialismus as Popkultur

in the 50's-years developed the plate picture of the melancholischen, usually black dressed young Existentialisten, which between jazz - cafe and university operated. Coined/shaped of a existentialistischen world view also the film is Noir.

criticism at the Existentialismus

of the Existentialismus, since he understood himself among other things as politically engaged, much criticism from all social ranges received. In particular by the catholic church, in addition, politician of different parties and naturally also by representatives of other philosophical directions.

The philosophicalCriticism is directed usually against a verabsolutierenden term of the existence and a too small differentiation of human ways of life, a too strong polarization and finally a solidification of the dichotomy of subject and object. Like that there was in particular different existence philosophers such as Heidegger or Merleau Ponty, itself against thoseDevelopment of philosophy Sartres expressed.

Interestingly enough the interest in the Existentialismus took as for the existential philosophy in the 2. Half 20. Century in the same measure off, in which social, ethical and political questions moved stronger into the foreground.



Jean Paul Sartre:

  • Exists, that is completely simple existence; the existing appear, can be found, but one cannot derive them
  • Because the dialectic Totalisierung must cover the actions, the passions, the work and the needs just like the economic categories, it must the action at the same time as the event in the historical complex arrange, it in relation to the direction of becoming define and in every detail the sensethe present determine.
  • If the existence precedes the nature, i.e., if the fact that we exist, does not relieve us from the necessity to only create us our nature by our acting then we are condemned thereby, as long as we live, to the liberty…
  • “Paradoxes of ours" it consists historical situation of the fact that “our liberty is today [...] only the free resolution to fight for the liberty”.
  • The marxism will degenerate to an inhuman anthropology, if it does not reintegriert humans as its basis
  • … there are no ways out to select. A way out, thatwird erfunden
  • Nicht die "Härte einer Situation und die von ihr auferlegten Leiden" sind Motive "dafür, dass man sich einen andern Zustand der Dinge denkt, bei dem es aller Welt besser ginge; on the contrary, from the day on, since one imagines another conditionit can a new light falls on our striving halls and suffering and decides we that they are intolerable.

authors Samuel






see also


  • Danto, Arthur C.: Sartre. Goettingen 1997, ISBN 3-88243-172-5
  • Hans Martin beautiful gentleman man: Sartre. Philosophy as way of life. Beck, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-406-51138-4
  • Cornelia blowing mountain and. Franz Josef Deiters (Hrsg.): Think/letters (in) of the crisis - Existentialismus and literature. Pc. Ingbert: Röhrig university publishing house, 2004. ISBN 3-86110-379-6
  • Robert C. Solomon (Hrsg.): Existentialism.2. Aufl. Oxford University press, New York and others2005, ISBN 0-19-517463-1 (collection of source texts)
  • Haim Gordon (Hrsg.): Dictionary OF existentialism. Fitzroy Dearborn, London and others 1999, ISBN 1-579-58167-6
  • William L. McBride (Hrsg.): Sartre and existentialism. Philosophy, politics, ethics, the psyche, literature, and aesthetics. So far 8 Bde. Country, New York, NY among other things 1997ff.
  • Helene Harth;Peoples Roloff (Hrsg.):Literary discourses of the Existentialismus. Stauffenburg, Tübingen 1986, ISBN 3-923721-55-2
  • William Antonius Maria Luijpen: Vital Phänomenologie. An introduction. Manz, Munich 1971, ISBN 3-7863-0135-2
  • driving brook, Helmut: Existential philosophy and ethics, Frankfurt A.M.: Vittorio monastery man, 1970.
  • Leo polling man: Sartre and Camus. Literature of the existence.Kohl hammer,Stuttgart and others 1967.
  • Nicola Abbagnano: Philosophy of the human conflict. An introduction in the Existentialismus. Rowohlt, Hamburg 1957.

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