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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume II, Issue XII, December 2018 | ISSN 2454–6186

An Analysis of the Nexus of Existentialism in Education

Elvis Omondi Kauka

IJRISS Call for paper

Department of Educational Foundations, University of Kabianga, Kenya

Abstract: This study sought to examine the bond between existentialism and Education. Two objectives, namely: To examine key concepts of Existentialism and their Educational referents, and to investigate educational implications of existentialism, informed the sub areas under investigation. Using Philosophical analysis the paper investigates the key principles of Existentialism like Anguish, Freedom and Responsibility, and proceeds to attempt to find the place of Existentialism in the aims of education, curriculum, roles of the teacher and the learner, learning environment and Methods of teaching. The study infers that existential locus in education lies in the promotion and uplifting of the individuality of the learner and the teacher, alongside promoting the subsequent freedom that facilitates communion between the learner and the teacher. Finally the study infers the connectivity between the aims of education and the curriculum.

Key words: Existentialism, Education, Freedom, Communion.


1.1 Back Ground of Study

The Term Existentialism was first used by the French Philosopher and Essayist, Jean Paul Sartre (1905 -1980) to describe his life. The term is derived from the ontological Concept of ‘Existence’ which literally means ‘to be there’. Its ontological complementary concept is ‘Essence’ which means ‘what a thing is’ or ‘the quiddity of that which is’. For instance that Socrates is, means that he has that which makes him to be what he is. As a school of Philosophy, Existentialism is “a theory about Existence” (Bailey, 1954). It dates back to the period of the First-World War-Europe. In normal metaphysical order, essence (what a thing is) precedes its Existence (that a thing is). Its definition determines its existence and not vice versa. However, in Existentialism, Existence precedes Essence; that is to say, a thing is what it is by virtue of its existence.