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An Existentialist is an idealistic person who identifies with existentialist beliefs.



  • (Bakewell, 2016) ⇒ Sarah Bakewell. (2016). “Think big, be free, have sex … 10 reasons to be an existentialist.” In: The Guardian
    • QUOTE: The existentialists asked the essential questions – and still have much to offer us today.
      • 1 Existentialists are philosophers of living
        • … Sartre and De Beauvoir tired of it and were more drawn to the 19th-century mavericks Friedrich Nietzsche and Søren Kierkegaard, with their philosophies of individual existence and “life”. They also discovered a new German method called “phenomenology”, which tried to start with immediate experience rather than abstract axioms.
      • 2 Existentialists really care about freedom ...
        • … Existentialists think that what makes humans different from all other beings is the fact that we can choose what to do. In fact, we must choose: the only thing we are not free to do is not to be free. Other entities have some predefined nature: a rock, a penknife or even a beetle just is what it is. But as a human, there is no blueprint for producing me. …
      • 3 (Some) existentialists have interesting sex lives
      • 4 Existentialists tackle painful realities
        • .. Today, we often approach this as a disorder in need of treatment, but the existentialists saw it as an essential part of human experience, and one particularly revealing of our situation in the world. … For Heidegger, we also run up against the horrifying realisation that, whatever I do, I will die one day. I am mortal, and this limitation is part of what I am. If I embrace the truth of this, I can achieve a superior form of what he cheerily calls “Being-towards-Death”. Sartre and De Beauvoir wrote about death too, but for them it cannot be embraced so positively. Death is an outrage that comes to us from outside our lives and wipes them out. What we can do, at least, is to resist the false consolations of belief in immortality. ...
      • 5 Existentialists try to be authentic
        • existentialists generally strive to be “authentic”. They take this to mean being less self-deceiving, more decisive, more committed, and more willing to take on responsibility for the world. Most of the time, we don’t do this very well. Why? For Heidegger, the fault lies with our bewitchment by a non-entity called das Man, often translated as “the they” ....
      • 6 Existentialists think it matters what we do (and may stay up all night arguing about it)
        • … Most existentialists were in favour of getting out into the world and making a difference, rather than being authentic all by themselves in a room. Sartre and De Beauvoir made a point of being “engaged” or “committed” in their political lives. It was not just talk: they campaigned for many causes, notably on the side of independence fighters during the Algerian war of 1954 to 1962. … After the A-bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Sartre wrote an essay pointing out how this changed everything. ..
      • 7 Existentialists are not conformists
        • … Existentialism inclines people to doubt and challenge almost everything – even if its own practitioners sometimes took a while to see this. …
      • 8 Existentialists can be fun to read
      • 9 Existentialists also write about unconventional subjects
      • 10 Existentialists think big
        • … the existentialists went directly for the biggest and most personal questions. What are we? What makes us different from other animals? What is freedom? How do we interact? How, if we don’t believe in God, can we still live meaningfully and purposefully? What world do we want to create for the future? What responsibilities do we have? What do we do? … They remind us that existence is difficult and that people behave appallingly, but at the same time they point out how vast our human possibilities are. …


  1. Ernst Breisach, Introduction to Modern Existentialism, New York (1962), p. 5.
  2. Walter Kaufmann, Existentialism: From Dostoyevesky to Sartre, New York (1956) p. 12.




  • Pour une morale de l'ambiguïté (1947) (English – The Ethics of Ambiguity) [nonfiction]