- 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.
Origin of existentialism
Examples from the Web for existentialist
In the grips of existentialist angst, investors decided to sell stocks and start stowing money under their mattresses.Stocks Tank as Wall Street Throws a Hissy Fit
November 7, 2012
“I consider myself an existentialist and an atheist, and I think that body is what we are,” Cronenberg told The Daily Beast.David Cronenberg on 'A Dangerous Method,' Robert Pattinson's Acting, and S&M With Keira Knightley
November 20, 2011
- 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
Word Origin and History for existentialist
1945, from French existentialiste, from existentialisme (1940); see existentialism. Related: Existentialistic.
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 Dostoyevsky in the nineteenth century, and Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Heidegger, and Albert Camus in the twentieth century, were existentialist writers.