VIDEO FOR EXISTENTIAL
WATCH NOW: What Does "Existential" Mean To You In 2019?
We asked these people what they thought the word "existential" means and why it's relevant in 2019. Does it have the same meaning for you?
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Origin of existential
OTHER WORDS FROM existential
Words nearby existential
What does existential mean?
Existential is an adjective meaning “relating to existence,” but what does that even mean? What does anything mean? What is our purpose in the universe? These are existential questions.
Existential is often used in relation to existentialism, a philosophical movement that suggests that existence (life, the universe, and everything) has no meaning except for the meaning that individuals create for themselves. Existential is also often used to describe a scenario in which someone or something’s very existence or being is threatened or in question, especially in phrases like existential threat.
Example: Though unlikely, an asteroid strike would be an existential threat to the planet.
Where does existential come from?
Existential is the adjective form of existence. Existential, existence, and exist all ultimately derive from the Latin verb ex(s)istere, meaning “to exist, appear, emerge.” The first records of existential in English come from the 1600s.
By the 1800s and 1900s, the use of existential had gained importance in philosophy of existentialism. Philosophers and writers like Sören Kierkegaard, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Heidegger, and Albert Camus tangled with questions of existence. People who subscribe to this philosophy are called existentialists. They often come to the conclusion that life has no meaning by itself, and that since humans have the freedom to make their own choices, they have the responsibility to do so and to give meaning to life. Of course, that’s a big responsibility, and existentialism often deals with the existential anxiety and fear that come with it, especially in the face of mortality—that fact that one day our existence will end.
Relatedly, but less philosophically and more practically, existential is applied to situations that threaten to wipe something out, such as a species, as in Poaching poses an existential threat to elephants. It is also used in cases where someone has big questions about who they are, as in After getting fired from my dream job, I’m having an existential crisis.
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What are some other forms related to existential?
What are some words that share a root or word element with existential?
What are some words that often get used in discussing existential?
How is existential used in real life?
Existential is frequently used in the context of the philosophy of existentialism. In everyday speech, it’s generally applied to situations in which something’s existence is at stake or when reflecting on deep human problems. It is often used to modify words like angst, threat, crisis, and question.
I say this as someone who respects your work, but this is too important to “get wrong”. Global warming is an existential threat and treating it as a partisan blood sport or game is dooming our chances of survival. Also, it’s verifiable fact that the cost of NOT acting is greater.
— Emma Dawson (@DawsonEJ) February 21, 2020
I voted on Monday in hopes of curbing existential anxiety. It didn't quite work. 😬
— Caitlin 🏳️🌈🖖 (@walshcaitlin) February 28, 2020
“So… what do you look for in a partner?”
— Moses Sumney (@MosesSumney) September 30, 2019
Try using existential!
Is existential used correctly in the following sentence?
This philosophy course is intended to tackle a lot of existential questions, like what it means to be human.
Example sentences from the Web for existential
I often find myself in the toy aisle, having an existential crisis.
Albert Camus used violence as a means of exploring meaning, or lack thereof, in his existential novels.Is ‘Satisfaction’ a Love Story That’s Too Real About Sex and Marriage?|David Masciotra|September 19, 2014|DAILY BEAST
No one wants to go through life in a state of moral and existential ambiguity.Thank Goodness We’ve Got A Plan! Let the War Begin!|Michael Carson|September 14, 2014|DAILY BEAST
I had no interest in exploring the philosophical or existential layers of a cartoon show.
Only people who have gone through genocide can fully comprehend such an existential threat.
They lead to a feeling of existential frustration: a person's will to find meaning is blocked.When You Don't Know Where to Turn|Steven J. Bartlett
This distinction of indication as existential and implication as conceptual or essential, I owe to Mr. Alfred Sidgwick.Essays in Experimental Logic|John Dewey
Meinong insists upon an existential judgment, a judgment that the object valued is real, as essential to value.Social Value|B. M. Anderson
Modal, impersonal, existential judgments are all accounted for.
One passes at will from existential connexions of things to logical relationship of terms.Creative Intelligence|John Dewey, Addison W. Moore, Harold Chapman Brown, George H. Mead, Boyd H. Bode, Henry Waldgrave, Stuart James, Hayden Tufts, Horace M. Kallen
British Dictionary definitions for existential
- an existential statement or formula
- short for existential quantifier