14.1 The Existential Tone

  • Define
  • Know the five themes that existentialists explore in their work.

14.2 Kierkegaard

  • Define fideism and explain why Kierkegaard’s view is thought to be an example of it.
  • Understand how, according to Kierkegaard, society is crushing individuality.
  • State Kierkegaard’s idea about the paradox of Christian belief and explain his view that an absurd belief is necessary for a leap of faith.
  • State and evaluate Kierkegaard’s claim that subjective truth can become objective truth.

14.3 Nietzsche

  • Understand Nietzsche’s doctrine of the will to power and explain how this phenomenon is supposed to manifest itself in philosophy and science.
  • Explain what Nietzsche means by his assertion that “God is dead.”
  • Critically evaluate three myths about Nietzsche.
  • Summarize Nietzsche’s distinction between master morality and slave morality.
  • Understand why Nietzsche maintains that slave morality is manifest in Christianity and belief in God.

14.4 Heidegger

  • Define phenomenology.
  • Summarize key events in Heidegger’s life and explain why he has been both admired and reviled by other philosophers.
  • Understand Heidegger’s notion of being.
  • Explain the three fundamental aspects of Dasein discussed by Heidegger.

14.5 Sartre

  • Explain Sartre’s notion of radical freedom and why he thinks we are entirely responsible for who we are.
  • Explain Sartre’s concept of “existence precedes essence.”
  • Understand why Sartre believes that our radical freedom is both a blessing and a curse.
  • Know Sartre’s views on God and human nature.
  • Explain why Sartre thinks human life is characterized by anguish and despair.

14.6 Camus

  • Define existential absurdity.
  • Understand why Camus thinks human existence is absurd.
  • Recount the myth of Sisyphus, and explain what it symbolizes for Camus.
  • Explain what Camus means by “there is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.”
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