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1. Camus on the “indifference” of the world

1.Camus on the “indifference” of the world Throughout his writings, Camus uses expressions like “the primitive hostility of the world” (in The Myth of Sisyphus, p.20), or “the benign indifference of the universe” (in the last page of The Stranger). Explain what these expressions mean and the different roles they play in Camus’ overall philosophical outlook.

2.Heidegger on authenticity and death What does Heidegger mean by “being-towards-death”? What role does “beingtowards-death” play in his conception of human existence?

3.Sartre on freedom What does Sartre mean when he writes in Being and Nothingness: “the human being is its own nothingness”? Why is that particularly relevant for his conception of freedom?

4.Merleau-Ponty on embodied existence In the Phenomenology of Perception, Merleau-Ponty writes: “the body, in so far as it has ‘behaviour patterns’, is that strange object which uses its own parts as a general system of symbols for the world, and through which we can consequently ‘be at home in’ that world, ‘understand’ it, and find significance in it.” (Phenomenology of Perception, p.245)

5.De Beauvoir on the ethics of action In succinct terms, characterise De Beauvoir’s existentialist theory of human action. In order to do so, answer the following questions: What are the links De Beauvoir establishes between the existentialist concept of human existence and individual action? What are some of the main features of her conception of action deriving from these links?

The Existentialist philosophies of the Algeria author and philosopher Albert Camus have played a significant role in shaping the modern genre of philosophy. One of the most important concepts which recur in the majority of his works like “The Myth of Sisyphus”, “The Stranger”, “The Plague” and others is the theme of Existentialism. The majority of the works of Camus focus on the helpless of the modern man in the face of the hostile environment. Camus seems to be furthering the concept of “Immanent Will” which finds representation in the majority of the works of Thomas Hardy. For example, in the novel “The Stranger” he shows the plight of a man named Meursault who is pitted against a ruthless as well as a hostile universe. In “The Myth of Sisyphus” he tries to show the reality of human existence by means of the punishment which was given to Sisyphus (Camus, 2013). The Gods give Sisyphus the punishment of continuously taking a rock up a hill and let it roll down from the top of the hill and each time the rock rolls down the hill he is required to take it back again to the top of the hill and so on. Camus was of the opinion that this is the plight of the modern man as he is pitted against a hostile universe and also against a malevolent God who has no regard for His own creation (Camus, 2013). Similarly, the predicament of the modern man is the fact that he is continuously required to go on doing the same tasks in an endless repetitive fashion (Camus, 2012). In this regard the plight of the modern man can be compared to the plight of Sisyphus which he faced at the hand of the Gods. Therefore, it can be said that the majority of the works of Camus represents a world where there is a metaphysical tension or opposition between the expectations as well as the urge of the modern men to find meaning and truth and also to give a semblance of reality to their lives and the presence of a hostile and meaningless world in which they exist. It is this particular metaphysical opposition which finds representation in expressions like “the primitive hostility of the world”, “the benign indifference of the universe” in his literary works (Camus, 2012). The portrayal of this particular metaphysical opposition between the expectations of the human beings and the meaninglessness of the universe in which they dwell which has given an existential edge to the majority of Albert Camus.

2. Heidegger on authenticity and death

Martin Heidegger is often considered to be one of the stalwarts of 20th century German philosophy whose views and opinion have helped in a significant manner to shape the present day cannon of philosophy. His “being-towards-death” is an example of such an idea which has impacted the present day genre of philosophy in a significant manner. This particular concept of Heidegger gives an overview of the concept which he held and its elaboration to the wider humanity (Heidegger, 1996). Thus, Heidegger is of the viewpoint that death is an impending entity which cannot be overcome by the human beings. He furthermore, regards the factor of death as the end of the earthly existence of the human beings. In other words, it can be said that “being-towards-death” is a process by means of which they are guided by a certain foresight which helps them in turn to gain a critical as well as analytical perspective (Heidegger, 1996). This particular concept of Heidegger also gives an idea about the notion of time which he held. Thus, instead of viewing time as a linear entity comprising of the past, present and the future he views time as an ecstasy. The state of ecstasy often described as the phase wherein an individual is out of himself and is used by Heidegger to represent the place of a particular individual within his or her own generation or as part of history.

Heidegger considered the human beings to be having a limited existence on this earth and the concept under discussion here sheds a significant amount of light on this particular fact (Heidegger, 1996). Thus, it is seen that the concept of “being-towards-death” is being used by Heidegger to refer to the closeness of the individuals to the inevitable process of death.  The inevitability of the concept of death is represented by Heidegger in the words that “as soon as man comes to life, he is at once old enough to die” (Heidegger, 1996). Thus, he is of the opinion that the human beings cannot avoid or mitigate the fact of inevitability of death and one individual cannot take the death of a person away from him or her. Thus, Heidegger is of the viewpoint that whereas the concept of time is a temporal one the concept of death is a permanent one from which the individual human beings cannot escape and it is a necessary part of their earthly existence.

3. Sartre on freedom

Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1943 work “Being and Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology” (French: L'Être et le néant : Essai d'ontologie phénoménologique) also called by the name of “A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology” is generally considered to be one of the most influential works of the 20th century philosophy. This particular philosophical work of Sartre is generally considered to be an exploration into the existence of the human beings and states that the “existence precedes essence”. Thus, Sartre is of the opinion that the human beings by their very nature cannot achieve the state of Being, the achievement of which is the sole focus of the individuals in their brief earthy existence (Sartre, 2012). Sartre, furthermore states that the human beings are haunted by the concept of construct of completion for the literal achievement of the state of “a being that causes itself” and thus they take the help of various kinds of constructs like God and religion for the achievement of this particular state (Sartre, 2012). He further states that the world can be seen as a series of finite appearances which have been constructed by the individuals to give meaning to their lives. Therefore, he skeptically says that the human beings by virtue of their material existence find themselves being born in a body. It is in this particular context that he states “the human being is its own nothingness” (Sartre, 2012). Thus, he is of the opinion that the human beings by virtue of their birth in a material body do have an earthly existence and a physical being but that is not their true self and this is precisely the reason why he made the above mentioned comment.

The “Being and Nothingness” concept propounded by Sartre also gives a pertinent insight into the concept of freedom.  Sartre is of the opinion that just like the present can be seen as a series of finite appearances thus the future can be seen as a series finite choices which the individuals can make to give meaning as well as semblance to their lives (Sartre, 2012). It is here that the concept of freedom gains prominence within the domain of the philosophy of Sartre since his philosophical thoughts views each individual as having the capability or the freedom to significantly modify as well as change their future. Therefore, it would be apt to say that this particular concept of Sartre entails with itself sufficient grounds for the articulation of the concept of freedom.

4. Merleau-Ponty on embodied existence

Merleau-Ponty is famous for his philosophical thoughts and views about the nature of the human body. Thus, contrary to the general opinion of the biologists who viewed the human body as a combination of mechanisms like breathing, feeding, sleeping and other attributes he saw the human body as an embodiment of the symbolic factors (Merleau-Ponty, 2013). These symbolic factors as Merleau-Ponty saw it helped the individuals in their external communication and interactions with the external world or environment (Merleau-Ponty, 2013). Therefore, he articulates the need for the behavioral interpretation of the various activities and mechanisms of the human beings which would in turn help the individuals to understand in a much better manner the concept of the human body itself. Thus, it would be apt to say that just like Husserl he was trying to interpret the human body as per the “input-output, stimulus-reaction model” (Merleau-Ponty, 2013). Thus following the various precepts of this particular model he views the human body to be an embodiment which apart from the biological functions also has various kinds of symbolic functions. Thus, it is generally seen that this particular philosophy is generally used by the various theorists for the interpretation of the various feministic theories.

As already mentioned the philosopher under discussion here views the body as having dual functions, namely, the biological functions and the symbolic functions. For Merleau-Ponty, the symbolic aspect is what matters the most as it helps the concerned individual to have effective interactions with the outside or the eternal world (Merleau-Ponty, 2013). Thus, the philosopher is of the viewpoint that the body takes the help of the response based stimulus model and creates various kinds of symbols for the objects belonging to the outside world and it is through these symbols that the concerned individual interacts with the outside world.

This particular philosophy was completely radical in nature at the time of its articulation. The human beings since the traditional times have focused on the traditional or the biological functions of the human beings and rarely any philosopher or scholar have undertaken the task to interpret the manner in which the human beings interacted with the outside world (Merleau-Ponty, 2013). It is here that the importance of the concept of body articulated by Merleau-Ponty comes into prominence since instead of giving the age old definition of the human body he sees the human body as an embodiment of the symbols through which the concerned individual interacts with the outside world.

5. De Beauvoir on the ethics of action

Simone de Beauvoir was one of the most popular feministic critic as well as philosopher of the 20th century whose literary and philosophical works have contributed in a significant manner towards the cannon of modern philosophy and feministic theories. Much of the philosophical views of Simone de Beauvoir were influenced by Sartre, her own country man and it is a reflection of this particular fact that one of the most important thoughts which run through the majority of her philosophical works is the concept of “existence precedes essence” (De Beauvoir, 2017). Simone de Beauvoir was of the opinion that the human beings held a sufficient amount of freedom and it was up to them to make the kind of future which they wanted. Thus, it can be said that she was of the viewpoint that a particular man himself was responsible for the success or the failure which he has attained during the course of his life. She furthermore states that the human beings themselves were responsible for giving meaning or essence to their lives and in doing this she does not negate the role played by history or other factors which have contributed in a significant manner to shape the human destiny (De Beauvoir, 2017). Thus, it can be said that the philosophical cannon of Simone de Beauvoir takes into consideration not only the role of the human actions but at the same time the existential factors as well which have contributed in a significant manner to shape the lives of the human beings.

The primary focus of Simone de Beauvoir in the majority of her works related to the concept of ethics is on the aspect of human behavior or action and the role which they play in shaping the identity of the concerned individual (De Beauvoir, 2017). Thus, the majority of the works of Simone de Beauvoir states that the human beings are responsible for their actions and the success or the failure attained by a particular individual during the course of their lives depends on the kind of individual actions that they have taken during the course of their lives.

References

Camus, A. (2012). Resistance, rebellion, and death: Essays. Vintage.

Camus, A. (2013). The myth of Sisyphus. Penguin UK.

De Beauvoir, S. (1962). The ethics of ambiguity, tr. Citadel Press.

De Beauvoir, S. (2017). Une mort très douce. Routledge.

Heidegger, M. (1996). Being and time: A translation of Sein und Zeit. SUNY press.

Merleau-Ponty, M. (1964). Signs. Northwestern University Press.

Merleau-Ponty, M. (2013). Phenomenology of perception. Routledge.

Sartre, J. P. (2012). Being and nothingness. Open Road Media

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My Assignment Help (2019) Existentialist Questions And Answers: Camus, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, And De Beauvoir [Online]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/heidegger-on-authenticity-and-death
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