The History of Existentialism

Philosophical Existentialism: Thinkers and their Major Works

Existentialism is a philosophical approach to understanding human existence and experiences. It is based on the assumption that individuals are free and responsible for their own choices and actions. Hence, we are not victims of circumstance because we are what we have chosen to be. Most of its thinkers came out of continental Europe. The roots of existentialism started with the so called "Father of Existentialism", Søren Kierkegaard, who lived in the 19th Century. Existentialism's peak came in the 1940's with great thinkers such as Sartre, de Beauvoir, Camus and Merleau-Ponty all coming out with not only traditional philosophical essays, but also plays, novels, and short stories that all reflected the existential school of thought. While this timeline doesn't cover every existentialist and their work, it does focus on the most important and most influential existential philosophers and their primary existential works.

1813-05-05 00:00:00

Søren Kierkegaard

The "Father of Existentialism"

1821-11-11 07:42:13

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Russian Author

1843-02-20 04:10:55

Kierkegaard's "Either/Or" Published

"Either/Or" (Danish: Enten ‒ Eller) Published in Denmark

1843-10-16 12:25:29

Kierkegaard's "Fear and Trembling" Published

"Fear and Trembling" (Danish: Frygt og Bæven) Published in Denmark

1844-10-10 00:00:00

Friedrich Nietzsche

German Philosopher

1846-02-28 12:00:34

Kierkegaard's "Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments" Published

"Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Fragments" (Danish: Afsluttende uvidenskabelig Efterskrift til de philosophiske Smuler) Published in Denmark

1859-04-08 12:00:34

Edmund Husserl

Founder of Phenomenology

1864-07-30 16:49:53

Dostoyevsky's "Notes from Underground" Published

"Notes from Underground" (Russian: Записки из подполья, Zapiski iz podpol'ya) Published in Russia

1882-07-28 15:22:34

Nietzsche's "The Gay Science" Published

"The Gay Science" (German: Die fröhliche Wissenschaft) Published in Germany

1883-07-28 12:35:40

Nietzsche’s "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" Published

"Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None" (German: Also sprach Zarathustra: Ein Buch für Alle und Keinen) Published in Germany

1889-09-26 19:55:03

Martin Heidegger

German Philosopher

1900-07-28 02:44:30

Husserl's "Logical Investigations" Published

"Logical Investigations" (German:Logische Untersuchungen) Published in Germany

1905-06-21 13:17:53

Jean-Paul Sartre

French Philosopher, Novelist, and Playwright

1908-01-09 00:00:00

Simone de Beauvoir

French Philosopher and Novelist

1908-03-14 09:24:20

Maurice Merleau-Ponty

French Philosopher

1913-11-07 02:29:33

Albert Camus

French Author and Philosopher

1927-07-28 14:52:51

Heidegger's "Being and Time" Published

"Being and Time" (German: Sein und Zeit) Published in Germany

1938-07-28 02:14:23

Sartre's "Nausea" Published

"Nausea" (French: La Nausée) Published in France

1942-07-28 08:50:46

Camus's "Myth of Sisyphus" Published

"Myth of Sisyphus" (French: Le Mythe de Sisyphe) Published in France

1942-07-28 09:24:20

Camus's "The Stranger" Published

"The Stranger" (French: L’Étranger) Published in France

1943-07-28 15:42:22

Sartre's "No Exit" Premieres

Sartre's Play "No Exit" (French: Huis Clos) Premieres in France

1943-07-28 15:42:22

Sartre's "Being and Nothingness" Published

"Being and Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology" (French: L'Être et le néant : Essai d'ontologie phénoménologique) Published in France

1945-07-28 20:55:15

Merleau-Ponty's "Phenomenology of Perception" Published

"Phenomenology of Perception" (French: Phénoménologie de la perception) Published in France

1946-07-28 01:14:30

Sartre's "Existentialism is a Humanism" Published

"Existentialism is a Humanism" (French: L'existentialisme est un humanisme) Published in France; printed version of the lecture by the same name

1949-06-01 09:24:20

de Beauvoir's "The Second Sex" Published

"The Second Sex" (French: Le Deuxième Sexe) Published in France

1956-07-28 08:50:46

Camus's "The Fall" Published

"The Fall" (French: La Chute) Published in France

The History of Existentialism

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