Existentialism

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Existentialism is a term applied to the work of a number of 19th and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences,[1][2] generally held that the focus of philosophical thought should be to deal with the conditions of existence of the individual person and his or her emotions, actions, responsibilities, and thoughts.[3][4] The early 19th century philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, posthumously regarded as the father of existentialism,[5][6] maintained that the individual is solely responsible for giving his or her own life meaning and for living that life passionately and sincerely,[7][8] in spite of many existential obstacles and distractions including despair, angst, absurdity, alienation, and boredom.[9]

Subsequent existentialist philosophers retain the emphasis on the individual, but differ, in varying degrees, on how one achieves and what constitutes a fulfilling life, what obstacles must be overcome, and what external and internal factors are involved, including the potential consequences of the existence[10][11] or non-existence of God.[12][13] Many existentialists have also regarded traditional systematic or academic philosophy, in both style and content, as too abstract and remote from concrete human experience.[14][15] Existentialism became fashionable in the post-World War years as a way to reassert the importance of human individuality and freedom.[16]

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