Existentialism: A Collection of Online Resources and Key Quotes

Lennox Johnson Resources

This page aims to make learning about existentialism as easy as possible by bringing together the best online articles, podcasts, and videos on one page. To get started, simply choose one of the resources listed below, or browse a selection of key quotes on existentialism at the bottom of the page.

Encyclopedia Articles

This section features articles from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The SEP is probably the most comprehensive online philosophy resource. It features in-depth articles on a huge number of philosophical topics, however, it is aimed at an academic audience and may be too detailed and technical for beginners. The IEP is generally more beginner-friendly but is also considered to be less reliable. Wikipedia is also an option, but it is much less reliable than either of these.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Short Articles

This section features short articles written by professional philosophers and aimed at a general audience. These articles are ideal for anyone looking for a shorter or more beginner-friendly introduction to existentialism than the encyclopedia articles listed above.

Aeon

The Conversation

The Guardian

OUP Blog

Podcasts

This section features podcast episodes from leading philosophy podcasts. These are also aimed at a general audience and are a good option for beginners who prefer audio content.

Philosophy Bites

In Our Time

The Philosopher’s Zone

The Partially Examined Life

Short Videos (<30 mins)

This section features short videos aimed at beginners.

BBC

Academy of Ideas

Miscellaneous

Lectures/Longer Videos (>30 mins)

This section features longer videos and lectures. These tend to be less beginner-friendly and aimed at a more academic audience.

Course Syllabi

This section features a selection of university course syllabi. Browsing course syllabi can be a useful way to find reading recommendations.

Book Recommendations

This section features requests for book recommendations on philosophy forums. These can also be useful to browse when trying to find reading recommendations.

Books

There’s only so much you can learn using free online resources. This section features books that may be useful if you’re looking to learn more about existentialism. This list was created using the books featured in the course syllabi and forum recommendations above.

Courses

This section features online courses on existentialism.

Quotes

This section features a selection of key quotes relating to existentialism:

Blaise Pascal:

When I see the blindness and the wretchedness of man, when I regard the whole silent universe, and man without light, left to himself, and, as it were, lost in this corner of the universe, without knowing who has put him there, what he has come to do, what will become of him at death, and incapable of all knowledge, I become terrified, like a man who should be carried in his sleep to a dreadful desert island, and should awake without knowing where he is, and without means of escape. And thereupon I wonder how people in a condition so wretched do not fall into despair.

Pensées, sect. 11, 693


Søren Kierkegaard:

My either/or does not in the first instance denote the choice between good and evil; it denotes the choice whereby one chooses good and evil or excludes them. Here the question is under what determinants one would contemplate the whole of existence and would oneself live.

Either/Or


Fyodor Dostoevsky:

What man wants is simply independent choice, whatever that independence may cost and wherever it may lead.

– Notes from Underground, pt. 1, ch. 7


Friedrich Nietzsche:

What ever has value in the present world, has not it in itself, by its nature, nature is always worthless: but a value was once given to it, bestowed upon it and it was we who gave and bestowed!

The Gay Science, sect. 301


Jean-Paul Sartre:

What do we mean by saying that existence precedes essence? We mean that man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world – and defines himself afterwards. … There is no human nature, because there is no God to have a conception of it. … Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself.

Existentialism and Humanism


Man cannot will unless he has first understood that he can count on nothing but himself: that he is alone, left alone on earth in the middle of his infinite responsibilities, with neither help nor succour, with no other goal but the one he will set for himself, with no other destiny but the one he will forge on this earth.

A More Precise Characterization of Existentialism


Man is condemned to be free.

Existentialism and Humanism


Albert Camus:

Man stands face to face with the irrational. He feels within him his longing for happiness and for reason. The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world.

The Myth of Sisyphus


Simone de Beauvior:

One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman. No biological, psychological, or economic fate determines the figure that the human female presents in society; it is civilization as a whole that produces this creature, intermediate between male and eunuch, which is described feminine.

The Second Sex


The Daily Idea aims to make learning about philosophy as easy as possible by bringing together the best philosophy resources from across the internet. To get started, check out this organized collection of 400+ articles, podcasts, and videos on a wide range of philosophical topics.

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