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Connection between existentialism and idealism? Help.

  1. Nov 12, 2003 #1
    Does existentialism have to do with idealism? I mean, in the sense that nothing exists outside of the minds' awareness of it? Sort of like Berkeley's idea? Do they have anything to do with eachother?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 12, 2003 #2
    The central concern of Existentialism is questioning how, in a world without some ultimate meaning, an individual is going to find meaning. For one philosopher I admire (Albert Camus), this boiled down to the question; “Is there any reason not to commit suicide?”

    Basic Idealism (What is mental exists, and physical things manifest from the mind or from thought, etc.) seems quite a different thing to me. So the way I would answer you question is to say the two are distinct.
  4. Nov 17, 2003 #3
    Not "in the sense that nothing exists outside of the minds' awareness". Existentialism, at least the Sartre and Heidegger incarnations, was extremely inflluenced by the phenomenology of Husserl (they rejected many of Husserl's core assertions, but still). The only main similarity I can think of is that existentialism denied essence, meaning is infused through existence.. But that is not so much a similarity.... hmmmmm... Why do you ask? Existentialism was probably influenced by Idealism in many ways, but off the top of my head I can't name any ideas completely barrowed from it...
  5. Nov 17, 2003 #4


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    I can't imagine a greater conceptual distance than that between Berkely's tree, which was not there when nobody was looking, and Heigegger's chair, which was a dynamic bundle of thereness.
  6. Nov 18, 2003 #5
    zk, what exactly prompted the question, in the first place?
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