Existentialism Institutional Affiliation
The term Existentialism means pertaining to existence. Philosophically, existentialism applies to a vision of the condition and existence of man, his place and function in the world, and his relationship or lack of relationship with God. Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stress freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions.
Existentialism ethics doctrine emphasizes difference between human existence and that of inanimate objects. Any kind of philosophic systems are all centered on the individual and his relationship to the universe. The notion is that humans exist first and then each individual spends a lifetime changing their essence and nature. Existentialism is concerned with finding self and the meaning of life through free will, choice and personal responsibility (Crumbaugh & Maholick, 1964).
Therapists often use existentialist philosophy as an explanation for anxiety. The assertion is that anxiety is manifested of an individual’s complete freedom to decide, and complete responsibility for the outcome of such decisions. Sartre (1960) once argued that Psychotherapists using an existentialist approach believe that a patient can harness his anxiety and use it constructively. Instead of suppressing anxiety, patients are advised to use it as grounds for change. By embracing anxiety as inevitable, a person can use it to achieve his full potential in life.
There are many difficulties with this account of existentialist ethics as the picture is unfortunately incomplete. Nevertheless, the elements of an ethical system are in place: an emphasis upon individual commitment; the evaluative concept of authenticity; a theory of responsibility, and an attempt to universalize moral values. Whether these elements constitute a full and satisfactory account of ethical behavior is unclear.
Crumbaugh, J. C., & Maholick, L. T. (1964). An experimental study in existentialism: The
psychometric approach to Frankl’s concept of noogenic neurosis. Journal of clinical psychology, 20(2), 200-207.
Sartre, J. P. (1960). Existentialism and humanism (p. 30). London: Methuen.