Soren Kierkegaard Richard Xie

Soren Kierkegaard was born in 1813 and died in 1855. He grew up in Copenhagen, capital of Denmark, and attended University of Copenhagen, in which he received a doctoral degree in theology in 1841. He was regarded as the father of existentialism, and his philosophy became very influential after WWI.
Existentialism was not a word used by Kierkegaard. In his theory he stressed the importance of subjectivity, which resonates with some themes of existentialism. He stresses the concept of an individual using the biblical story of Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac. He contends that the crowd, or the objective facts, is untrue, and if one follows the universal standard one loses his individuality. Instead, one should find and accept one's own, subjective law of doing things (Crowell).
Leap of Faith is another original and important idea from Kierkegaard. While acknowledging that the existence of God cannot be empirically proven, Kierkegaard argues that one should not over-reflect or over-think about whether God exists and take a "leap" to the conclusion that he does. Like Abraham sacrificing his son to a voice he believes to be God, so should other Christians (Crowell)
Existentialism became popular before and after World War I. As people came out of the war wary and disappointed, they began questioning life. Existentialism spread among the "lost generation" for its idea of life being meaningless echoed with them. Existentialism also stresses people should live subjectively, without the help of popular laws, ethnic rules and beliefs. This is still important as existentialism also emphasizes that humans are best when fighting against their nature, which resonates with the idea of open mindset and is popular to this day ("Existentialism").
Kirkegaard wrote many novels, essays, and articles. All in Danish, they were translated to major European languages by the turn of the 20th century. Being the first existentialist, Kierkegaard published his work in a romanticist atmosphere, of which he despised and sought to change.

Works cited

Crowell, Steven. "Existentialism." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University, 23 Aug. 2004. Web. 26 Mar. 2017.

"Existentialism." N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2017.

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