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Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one's acts.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A twentieth-century philosophical movement emphasizing the uniqueness of each human existence in freely making its self-defining choices.
  • n. The philosophical views of a particular thinker associated with the existentialist movement.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a philosophical theory or attitude having various interpretations, generally emphasising the existence of the individual as a unique agent with free will and responsibility for his or her own acts, though living in a universe devoid of any certain knowledge of right and wrong; from one's plight as a free agent with uncertain guidelines may arise feelings of anguish. Existentialism is concerned more with concrete existence rather than abstract theories of essences; is contrasted with rationalism and empiricism; and is associated with Kierkegaard, Heidegger and Sartre, as well as others.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (philosophy) a 20th-century philosophical movement chiefly in Europe; assumes that people are entirely free and thus responsible for what they make of themselves

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