Existentialism - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics

This encyclopedia article consists of approximately 10 pages of information about Existentialism.
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Historical Development

In the nineteenth century, Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) first used the word existence to designate a deep individuality that escaped the grip of bourgeois society and religion, and rationalistic philosophy. Though Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) did not use the word, his radical analyses and demands for self-creation influenced later existentialist thinkers. Nineteenth-century Romanticism can be seen as proto-existentialist, and writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) and Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821–1881) (who both influenced Nietzsche) sought to redefine the self and called for new levels of choice and new social relations.

In part this was a response to industrial and social revolutions that shook traditional values. Writers were aghast at poverty and social dislocation amid the optimistic complacency of a society that seemed to offer no place to be fully human. The dislocations and wars of the twentieth century increased this tension, and the triumphs of technological...

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This section contains 2,876 words
(approx. 10 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Existentialism Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics
Existentialism from Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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