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Existential questions

  1. Feb 1, 2005 #1
    I just got out of class and I didn't get to ask a couple burning questions I had, maybe some of you can help me.

    1. If existentialists were concerned about leading a first-hand life, how did they deal with societal pressures and laws.

    2. Can we really live an authentic existential life. For example, if I have a problem, in the whole world of possibility say there are 4 solutions. However, in our narrow lives we can't know all possibilites so say I am only aware of 2. I pick one that I feel is best for me, however in reality of all solutions one of the two that I didn't know would have been best for me. So we can only live the best and most truthful life with the limited resources we have, but does that fufil the ideal existential life?
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  3. Feb 1, 2005 #2

    Tom Mattson

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    Don't tell me that our site Admin is posting homework questions without showing us how he started them! :eek:
  4. Feb 1, 2005 #3
    Haha these are questions I formed off the top of my head through the discussions we had in class. My class is awesome in that we don't get homework, it's all open discussion.
  5. Feb 1, 2005 #4

    Tom Mattson

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    OK, I'll start.

    This sounds like a historical question. Seems to me that you can answer it by looking up biographies of famous existentialists and see how they dealt with such things.

    That depends on how you define existentialism. I think that most (all?) existentialists do not hold to universals in ethical questions, and that it is the individual that determines what is right and wrong. So it seems to me that the existentialist ideal is to do the best you can with what you know. And "the best" is defined by the individual.
  6. Feb 1, 2005 #5


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    1. The answer is in Sartre's La Nausee and Huis Clos and in Camus' l'Etranger. The famous summary from Huis Clos: "Hell is other people".

    2. The assumption that there are four and only four solutions is essentialist. You PRETEND to be able to analyze life in this way but you can't. There is only the moment as you find it, and to be authentic you must challenge it from within.
  7. Feb 1, 2005 #6
    What the heck does that mean?
  8. Feb 1, 2005 #7
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