Chapter Summary. In summary, it is evident that a good definition of existentialism is difficult to produce because existentialism is, by the nature of the movement, against narrow, hard-bound classification. Convinced that the Christian faith, as it was generally practiced, had lost its way, Kierkegaard was a fierce critic of religious dogma. Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813–1855) was a Danish Christian philosopher, theologian, and social critic, widely considered a founding figure in existentialism. Existentialism in its currently recognizable form was inspired by the 19th Century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, the German philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Karl Jaspers (1883 - 1969) and Edmund Husserl, and writers like the Russian Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821 - 1881) and the Czech Franz Kafka (1883 - 1924). Religious writing, the Introduction explains, should adopt the manner of a physician at a sickbed. CHAPTER 14 EXISTENTIALISM. Pseudonyms and existentialism. Since his time existential approaches to philosophy about life have grown very greatly in influence and also appeared in several forms influenced by numerous writers and thinkers. Summary Summary Summary Summary. I. Sören Kierkegaard (1813-1855) In outlining the six pillars of existentialism, Backhouse cements Kierkegaard’s legacy as the godfather of the philosophical movement. Kierkegaard’s philosophy often brings confusion, since he is attributed with the title of “the first existentialist,” yet he was also a Christian. Some people, Kierkegaard tells us in the Preface, might expect books on religious matters to be serious and scholarly. Adorno, on the other hand, in his Habilitationsschrift, later published as Kierkegaard: Construction of the Aesthetic, is critical of Kierkegaard’s politics, though Adorno’s indirect target was Heidegger and existentialism more generally. The origins of Existentialism Kierkegaard and Sartre Soren Kierkegaard was the first philosopher to actually consider that he wrote about Existentialism. Søren Kierkegaard carried out most of his work under different pseudonyms such as Victor Eremita, Johannes de Silentio, Anti-Climacus, Hilarius Bookbinder, or Vigilius Haufniensis. 14.1 The Existential Tone Søren Kierkegaard is said to have inaugurated modern existentialism in the early 19th century, while Jean-Paul Sartre is said to have been the last great existentialist thinker in the 20th century. For Kierkegaard, truth must be found on an individual basis through an inward existential journey that requires a leap of faith that logic simply cannot articulate. Søren Kierkegaard’s two heroes were Socrates and Jesus Christ. Søren Kierkegaard (1813—1855) Søren Kierkegaard is an outsider in the history of philosophy. We now turn to our two examples of existentialism. 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