The Main Tenets of Existentialism and How They Have Influenced the 20th Century

1. Introduction

Existentialism is a philosophy that relates to the existence of human beings in regard to how life means to them. The term was invented by Gabriel Marcel in 1943. It is a movement that has greatly influenced the 20th century. This paper will explore the main tenets of existentialism and how it has influenced the 20th century.

2. The Main Tenets of Existentialism

The main tenets of existentialism are freedom, responsibility, purpose, and humanism.

Freedom is the ability to make choices without external constraints. It is the freedom to be who you want to be. Responsibility is the acknowledgement that with freedom comes the responsibility for your own actions and their consequences. Purpose is the meaning and significance that you give to your life. Humanism is the belief that humans are capable of making their own choices and creating their own meaning in life.

3. How Existentialism Has Influenced the 20th Century

Existentialism has had a profound influence on the 20th century. It has influenced art, literature, philosophy, psychology, and even politics.

In art, existentialism has led to the development of abstract expressionism, which is a type of art that does not represent or depict anything in the physical world, but rather expresses the emotions and thoughts of the artist. In literature, existentialism has led to the development of stream-of-consciousness writing, which is a type of writing that follows the thoughts and emotions of the protagonist as they happen in real time. In philosophy, existentialism has led to the development of phenomenology, which is a type of philosophy that emphasizes subjective experience over objective reality. In psychology, existentialism has led to the development of person-centered therapy, which is a type of therapy that focuses on the individual’s subjective experience and personal growth rather than on diagnosing and treating mental disorders. In politics, existentialism has led to the development of democracy, which is a form of government in which power is vested in the people rather than in a single ruler.

4. Conclusion

Existentialism is aphilosophythat relates tothe existenceof human beingsin regardto how lifemeans to them.ThetermwasinventedbyGabriel Marcelin 1943.It is amovement thathasgreatly influencedthe 20th century.This paperhas exploredthe maintenetsof existentialismand how ithasinfluencedthe 20th century.


Existentialism is a philosophical movement that emphasizes individual freedom and choice, and the inherent meaninglessness of life.

Existentialism developed during the 20th century in response to the disconnection between traditional values and modernity. Key figures in existentialism include Jean-Paul Sartre, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Martin Heidegger.

Some of the key ideas associated with existentialism are nihilism, absurdism, and ontological insecurity.