The way to freedom in existential philosophy
Existentialism has come to be seen as championing human freedom. The yearning for freedom does indeed run throughout this tradition together with an anti-metaphysical sentiment which lends itself to the rejection of a determinism which views human beings as mechanisms. But it would be a mistake to think that an existentialist necessarily advocates the doctrine of free will. A distinction must be made between free will and the idea of freedom as it appears in the writings of the major existentialists.
Free will is to commonly understood to be a requirement for moral accountability. It is the metaphysics, or what Freidrich Nietzsche would call "the mythology" behind every act of blaming a huinan being. Out of the four major existentialists-Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, and Jean-Paul Sartre-Sartre is the only philosopher who seems to defend this metaphysics. "Existential Freedom," although compatible with the thesis of free will, does not necessitate it. Rather, it invites us to move beyond the guilt ridden ideas of responsibility associated with the moral subject, and embrace a grand responsibility for our future.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Knob, Benjamin B., "The way to freedom in existential philosophy" (2009). HIM 1990-2015. 831.