What does “human existence” consist of? This is the main question an existential humanism must answer.
“Human” is both a biological and historical concept, referring most commonly to the Homo sapiens species. Let us assert that the sub-notion of person comes closer to what is signifiable in truly psychological terms.
Psychologically, persons are thinking, feeling, behaving beings. They are motivated to carry out certain projects; they experience; they perceive and sense.
So much for the latterhalf of existential humanism. It was said in a previous blog post that existential refers simply to what exists in reality.
Existential humanism, then, denotes what people think, feel, act, are motivated by, experience, perceive, and sense in reality.
Last post, we defined existentialism as the epistemology of all that exists. By way of this, existentiality–“existential reality”–was also introduced.
What is existential reality?
This new term may strike the reader as being redundant. All that exists, it may be reasoned, is all that comprises reality. But this is only to conflate metaphysics (the study of reality) with ontology (which is concerned with being).
Existentiality should be thought of as a hybrid between these two philosophical pillars. It might be naive to think that all we know to exist exhausts reality; and, conversely, what is real need not be all that was or will be.
What could it be that makes existentialism and existentiality humanistic? Our focus will turn to this question, next.
In the preceding post, it was determined that existentialism’s prime focus should be on what it, itself means. Let us try a familiar method in reducing “existentialism” to its component parts: existential and -ism.
Any English term ending in -ism refers to its prefix as an ideology, or belief structure. Thus, existentialism refers to our epistemology concerning existence.
What, then, is existence? Existence is the set of all that exists. In reality, all that exists is denoted by existentiality. Existentiality (or, what I call “existentialreality”) will be the focus of Pt. III in this series.