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[eg-zi-sten-shuh-liz-uh m, ek-si-] /ˌɛg zɪˈstɛn ʃəˌlɪz əm, ˌɛk sɪ-/

noun, Philosophy.
a philosophical attitude associated especially with Heidegger, Jaspers, Marcel, and Sartre, and opposed to rationalism and empiricism, that stresses the individual’s unique position as a self-determining agent responsible for the authenticity of his or her choices.
a modern philosophical movement stressing the importance of personal experience and responsibility and the demands that they make on the individual, who is seen as a free agent in a deterministic and seemingly meaningless universe

1941, from German Existentialismus (1919), replacing Existentialforhold (1849), ultimately from Danish writer Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), who wrote (1846) of Existents-Forhold “condition of existence,” existentielle Pathos, etc. (see existential), and whose name means, literally, “churchyard.”

A movement in twentieth-century literature and philosophy, with some forerunners in earlier centuries. Existentialism stresses that people are entirely free and therefore responsible for what they make of themselves. With this responsibility comes a profound anguish or dread. Søren Kierkegaard and Feodor Dostoevsky in the nineteenth century, and Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Heidegger, and Albert Camus in the twentieth century, were existentialist writers.


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  • Existentially

    [eg-zi-sten-shuh l, ek-si-] /ˌɛg zɪˈstɛn ʃəl, ˌɛk sɪ-/ adjective 1. pertaining to . 2. of, relating to, or characteristic of : an existential hero. /ˌɛɡzɪˈstɛnʃəl/ adjective 1. of or relating to existence, esp human existence 2. (philosophy) pertaining to what exists, and is thus known by experience rather than reason; empirical as opposed to theoretical […]

  • Existential-psychology

    noun 1. psychology limited to the observation and description of existent data as the content of experience. 2. the psychological theories or doctrines of existentialism, especially those dealing with the situation of humankind in a universe seen as purposeless or irrational.

  • Existing light

    noun See ambient light

  • Existing

    [ig-zist] /ɪgˈzɪst/ verb (used without object) 1. to have actual being; be: The world exists, whether you like it or not. 2. to have life or animation; live. 3. to continue to be or live: Belief in magic still exists. 4. to have being in a specified place or under certain conditions; be found; occur: […]

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