Existentialism and Dating

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At first glance, nothing immediately seems to connect the business of dating with the European philosophical movement of Existentialism. However, on closer inspection, the thoughts of Existential philosophers contain a number of insights that serve to illuminate aspects of the dating world.
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“Dating brings us close to a particular strand of philosophy that, the rest of the time, might not seem particularly relevant to our lives: existentialism. One of the movement’s major proponents – Jean-Paul Sartre – developed a set of ideas that help explain, and give dignity to, the anxiety, excitement and at points vertigo we may experience as we go through the dating ritual.
A key concept of Existentialism is expressed in Sartre’s somewhat obscure but useful phrase: “Being precedes essence”. What Sartre meant by ‘being’ are the bits of our life that we are free to choose for ourselves: how we live, what job we do, how we conceive of what happens to us. And by ‘essence’, he refers to things that lie outside our command: our biological nature, the flow of history, the position of the stars…”

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Produced in collaboration with:

Andrew Lees
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