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20 Cards in this Set

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What is the "modern worldview"--in terms of our sense of basic reality and our place in the universe?
Max Weber's phrase "disenchantment of the world" shows us that, for traditional or pre-modern societies, the world is regarded as a familiar home for humanity, a place where everything is filled with meaning, significance, and a confident level of certainty about humanity's place in the cosmos. However, the findings of modern science undermines this sense of pregiven certainty and displaces humanity from a privileged place in the universe. Science and logic tend to "objectify" the world, transforming our sense of things and of ourselves from a perspective of inherent value and significance to one of brute objects and impersonal forces shaping our experience of reality. Thanks to this new outlook, humans come to regard themselves as being merely one type of animal among others, caught in a vast web of evolution governed by chance and mechanism, precariously eeking out a living on a lone planet at the outer edge of one among billions of galaxies.
What is the "modern worldview"--in terms of our conception of ourselves as individual identities vis-a-vis modern society and the nation state?
Before the rise of the modern worldview, people generally found their identity in small, relatively cohesive communities, and within the network of more simple family and social relations. Beginning in the 16th century, society is now understood as a human creation, the result of some sort of social contract or consensus among unconnected individuals. We begin to lose the sense of inbuilt or internal relations determined in advance by nature or by God. Society is now regarded as having "a life of its own, but not a human life," and so it is experienced as something "other" to the individual, and opposing the individual's quest for fulfillment. (See Authenticity) The concept of the lone individual, caught in a constant struggle against an impersonal and dehumanizing society, gives rise to a sense of alienation and isolation.
How does the modern worldview give rise to existentialist thinking?
Descartes captures the loneliness and homelessness accompanying the modern outlook when he said, "the silence of these infinites spaces terrifies me." Existentialists start out from this feeling of homelessness, even though they are critical of the scientific outlook that fostered it. Existentialists seek to redefine human existence by emphasizing: 1) the unsettling nature of our being-in-the-world, where "anguish" or "dread" for the loss of God and moral absolutes, together with the contingent nature of our birth and our "being-toward-death", fosters an awareness of our persistent "nausea" or "anxiety" that results from an honest recognition that there are no fixed foundations for our beliefs; 2) that consequently, we must accept that fluid subjectivity--not fixed objectivity--is our starting point; 3) that to alieviate this predicament, we need to achieve an authentic consciousness of our psychology and our choices, and thereby transcend our given contexts (our facticity); 4) that this means we must take full responsibility for our beliefs and actions, and 5) that we otherwise exercise our inescapable freedom by creating ourselves anew, in light of our long-term commitments.
What is the existentialist ideal of "authenticity" and how do we achieve it?
Lionel Trilling argues that the modern sense of society as essentially alien to the individual leads to the profoundly modern ideal of "authenticity." Sartre also speaks of authenticity as a mode of countering "bad faith" and self-deception. Instead of denying our freedom to choose from a range of possibilities, or feigning sincerity by trying to live up to society's expectations for us ("being-for-others"), an authentic individual wants to achieve complete "being-for-itself." Simon de Beauvoir explains this as achieving lucid awareness of one's past actions, and what they add up to, but at the same time not viewing one's past as determining one's volition or outlook. Authentic people assume their freedom by consciously choosing to be actively engaged in their commitments--i.e., a refusal to be determined by our history or oppressive cultural norms. For more detail, read Charles Taylor's "Ethics of Authenticity" and Charles Guignon's "On Authenticity." (Both are great, but the latter text is especially helpful and enlightening--Mr. A.)
How do existentialists view human consciousness, as opposed to animal consciousness?
Following Hegel's insights into human consciousness, existentialists agree that, on the one hand, humans are natural organisms, with needs and desires not much different from other animals. On the other hand, human consciousness is qualitatively unique: we are capable of reflection and second-order desires, where other animals are not. Heidegger and Sartre capture this sense of transcendence by explaining how humans can investigate the nature of their "being." Not content with satisfying basic desires, humans care about what kind of beings they are (i.e., we can reflect on the worth of our desires). This creates a uniquely human awareness of a rift, or gap, between our actual and ideal selves. We are aware of ourselves as beings-in-time, never fully realized and always desiring. This heightens our self-consciousness, and can lead to all sorts of anxiety and neurosis. Answers vary among existentialists about how to handle these states, but the ideals of lucid self-awareness and intense commitment to meaning-giving projects point to common paths to achieve an authentic existence.
How do existentialists concieve of personal identity (i.e., the self)?
Existentialists suggest that, when we think of the self as an ongoing struggle rather than as a static thing, it is natural also to think of ourselves an an unfolding event or happening. What defines my identity as a person of a specific sort is not some enduring set of properties I have through time, but is instead the "event of becoming" in which I struggle to find a resolution to the tension that defines my situation in the world. As an ongoing happening, I am what I make of myself throughout the course of my life as a whole. This means our identities have a temporal structure. Given our self-consciousness and our goals, we are future-oriented, always caught up in our desires or our self-improving projects. Thus, we are always "outside ourselves", either consciously (in good faith) or unconsciously (in bad faith) defining our "essence" by first existing in a particular way. This contrasts with essentialist theories of human nature that posit inherent essences or qualities (e.g., sin) that prefigure our experience.
What is an I-Thou Relationship?
An I-Thou Relationship, according to Buber, is one of the two basic ways of being related to the world. In the I-Thou, we view the other (the Thou) not as an object, but as a free being, as opposed to an I-It relationship, where a person views another person as merely an object in the world.
For example, a person in love may experience an I-Thou relationship when the only thing in the world that matters to that person is their lover. This relationship could also occur with objects other than other humans.
What is 'facticity'?
Facticity is the set aspects of your identity. Facticity includes all of the parts of yourself that you cannot decide.
Existentialists claim that while we aren't free in deciding things like who are parents are, which is part of our facticity, we can make decisions about what kind of son/daughter we are.
Kierkegaard’s 3rd Stage / Religious Stage
In Kierkegaard’s theory of human psychological progression one moves from the aesthetic stage, to the ethical stage, and finally to the religious stage. Self-exploration and a personal relationship with God differentiate the religious stage from the ethical stage. Essentially, the actions taken in relation to other individuals should be the same in the religious stage as in the ethical stage but pursuits of the individual are more reflective and God oriented in the religious stage.
Define Sartre's concept of "existential nausea."
Featured in Sartre's first novel, "Nausea," this was the feeling that the protagonist, Roquentin, experienced after contemplating reality as pure, meaningless existence, in sharp contrast to the pure nothingness of the human condition. The idea of existential nausea is an early form of Sartre's concept of existential angst, anxiety resulting from the realization that we are responsible for creating our own values amidst a world devoid of meaning.
Explain Sartre's notion of "intentionality."
Sartre's interpretation of Husserl's intentionality involves only one way of seeing objects in the world. Sartre argues that intentionality is merely being conscious of something with the absence of differentiation and diversity. Everyone sees the same things in the same objective, scientific way. For example, anyone who came and looked at my book bag right now from the same spot would see exactly the same bag, without variation.
[NEEDS UPDATING: negation?]
What is "bad faith"?
"Bad faith" is a term used by Sartre, who believed that the definining aspect of a person is freedom. Along with freedom comes responsibility. An individual leading an authentic life is aware of and fully responsible for the choices he makes. Someone living in bad faith is unaware of that responsibility, or takes steps to deny that he is responsible.
What is Kierkegaard's problem of despair?
Kierkegaard belived that despair is a result of the tension between the finite and the infinite. Humans are afraid of dying but also afraid of living forever. He believed that everyone would die but also that everyone had an immortal self, or soul, that would live forever. To escape despair, Kierkegaard claimed, one must have total faith in God, by creating a personal commitment and a dedication to unending self-anaylsis. He thought, to obtain total faith in God was extremely difficult but also extremely important.
Describe Kierkegaard's diagnosis of boredom
One of the human psyche's three major problems, boredom, is when a person is not being mentally or physically stimulated. Kierkegaard says that relief from boredom is a temporary thing and distractions (like passion, a good play, or Bach) only provided momentary relief.

Besides being a nuisance, boredom (according to Kierkegaard) is a thing that a psychologically healthy human must find some way to avert. This means that humans must perpetually be is search of mental and physical stimulation.
Kierkegaard's Ethical Stage
The ethical stage is the second stage in life's way. It follows the aesthetic stage, and the individual primarily focuses on living for the good of society. It emphasizes altruism and different forms of pleasure that benefit society (like marriage). However, it can often lead to boredom.
What is existential authenticity?
Existential authenticity is the coming to terms with the fact that the consequences of one's actions are a direct result of one's own choices. In simple terms, it means being true to one's self and not blaming an external factor for the consequence of an action. An example of being truly authentic would be a situation in which a mistake is made due to the orders one is given. One does not unauthentically blame his or her superior, but instead realizes that he/she chose to follow those orders and the result was caused by his/her own choices.
What is an "I-It Relationship" ?
The basic relationship in which A objectifies B, so A is viewing B as something "to be used, expeirenced, described, categorized," etc.

An example of this is person A walking down the a crowded street, person B knocks into person A slightly, person A does not make much of this, and continues to walk. The relationship between person A to B is an "I-It Relationship."
In the philosophy of Satre, the aspect of human reality we experience when we feel ourselves stripped of our freedom. Other people view me as an object in their world, not as a pure freedom (a being for-itself). To them, I am really, say, a philosophy professor, and not my freedom to choose otherwise. When I am aware of myself as such an object in their world, I am aware of myself as a being for-others.
Being in-itself
Being in-itself is all of the “brute matter” in the world. Anything that is not a being for-itself has become a being in-itself. Even a being for-others is a being in-itself because it has become an object and has lost its personhood.
Examples of beings in-itself include slime molds, giraffes, lamp posts, and peeping Toms.
What is Exclusiveness?
Exclusiveness is an aspect of an I-Thou relationship, as defined by Martin Buber. When in an I-Thou experience or relationship, "a Thou excludes everything but the Thou. It fills the world, so to speak - it is not an It alongside other Its."

This is why when you are I-Thouing that cutie next to you in math class, you can't remember how to graph X^3, because they were exclusively filling your world and Mrs. Nygaard was not.