If a non-Objectivist layman is interested in philosophy of any kind, chances are it is Existentialism. Whereas other philosophical theories, both current and historical, are typically esoteric and abstruse, Existentialists discuss issues that clearly matter to daily life—issues like volition, the nature of the emotions, and autonomy. Many Existentialist positions seem similar to Objectivist ideas, such as the importance of volition and moral responsibility. And yet Existentialism has also been characterized as a doom-and-gloom philosophy, the worship of death.
This course will examine the roots of its appeal—and of its destructiveness. By carefully analyzing key Existentialist concepts, we will see how Existentialism hijacks the best within its student and hitches it to a life-destroying end.