Existence and Being: A Philosophical Appraisal

Sarim Abbas
Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh

This paper deals with a theme in philosophy of existence. The notion of loss of God, elucidated in the philosophies of atheism, materialism and naturalistic humanism, has put modern man into a dilemma on his own existence. Thus the questions concerning the meaning of human existence became a central theme in contemporary philosophy. Some philosophers like Heidegger disavowed their association with existentialism insisting that philosophy is primarily concerned with “being” rather than existence. Terminologies, related to existentialist themes, coined by Heidegger like contingency, insecurity, self-estrangement and dereliction of human existence gave a new meaning to temporality, historicity and authenticity. Equally significant is the interrelation between ‘being’ and ‘existence’, ‘being’ and ‘truth’, ‘being’ and ‘nothing’, and ‘being’ and ‘transcendence’.  

In the present age, philosophy must be able to provide a doctrine of universal significance as has been augmented by Edmund Husserl. In the quest for truth he claims to provide an unshakable foundation for a universal science. Philosophy, according to Husserl, is not so much a science of facts but a science of essences and philosophical knowledge is not knowledge of facts but knowledge of essences.