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Flashcards in Existentialism Deck (20):


In May’s theory, any natural function that has the power to take over a person.



In philosophy, the unchangeable principles and laws that are believed to govern existence.



A philosophical movement that studies the meaning of existence.



In May’s theory, a dimension that undercuts conscious and unconscious, and underlies will and decision.



In May’s theory, narrative patterns that give significance to our existence.



Two opposites that seem to negate each other but cannot exist without each other. In May’s theory, two opposing things that are posited against and seem to negate each other yet cannot exist without each other. In Lazarus’s therapy, the use of contradictions.


Identify 2 major traditions that may combines

The psychoanalytic tradition in psychology and the existentialist movement in philosophy


Describe the philosophy of existentialism

Emphasizes existence rather than essence. It suggests that there is no truth or reality except as we participate in it. Knowledge is an act of doing.


Explain the existentialist approach to scientific methodology

Believe that the psychologist's preoccupation with lawfulness and predictability stands in our way of understanding the real person, and they urge greater breadth to our scientific methodology. They seek to study the structure of human existence and to look at the unity of the person prior to any split into subject and object.


Describe the central problem May believed we face

Is a feeling of powerlessness in the face of enormous problems


Explain how May conceived of anxiety, and tell how it is intensified in contemporary culture.

As the apprehension cued off by a threat to n essential value. It is intensified in contemporary culture by the interpersonal isolation and alienation that have come out of the way in which we view ourselves. Many of our present efforts to dispel anxiety actually end up increasing it.


Discuss the source of human dilemma according to May

Lies in the loss of the centre values in our society. A distinguishing mark of the human animal is that of creating values. The need today is to discover and affirm a new set of values


Identify 4 ontological assumptions May made concerning human beings, and explain how they can give us structural basis for a science of personality

(a) Living organisms are centred on themselves and seek to preserve that centre
(b) They can go from their centred-ness to participate with other people
(c) Sickness is a means of preserving one's being
(d) Human beings can engage in a level of self-consciousness that permit them to transcend the present and consider alternatives.
These assumptions precede our scientific activity and make it possible, but our analytic activity may in turn illuminate them


Discuss what is involved in rediscovering selfhood

Involved re-disovering our own feelings and desires and fighting against those things that prevent us from feeling and wanting. There are 4 stages of consciousness of the self: innocence, rebellion, ordinary consciousness of self, and creative consciousness of self.


Show how May confronted the paradoxes involved in each of the following goals of integration: love, intentionality, the daimonic, courage and creativity, power, freedom, and destiny

May discussed key issues in personality in ways that avoided abstraction and facilitated the confronting of paradoxes. Love, which used to be seen as the answer to human problems, has now become the problem. We are unable to love. We need to experience and rediscover care. May introduced the concept of intentionality to bridge the gap between subject and object to place the concept of the daimonic and insisted that we must come to terms with it. He emphasized our need to be courageous and creative. We also need to rediscover our power and express it in constructive ways. May pointed out how our freedom needs to be considered in light of our destiny.


Explain how May defined myth and why he believed we need mew myths

"Narrative patterns that give significance to our existence" He believed pseudomyths, such of that of Horatio Alger, are filling the vacuum created by the lack of genuine myths of people living today in the West. We need new myths to give our lives meaning, provide heroes, and suggest new possibilities. Two possible new myths that we need are equality between women and men, and a global community with no borders.


Describe the existentialist approach to psychotherapy

Seeks to understand the patients mode of being int he world. It is the context that distinguishes the existential approach rather than any specific technique. The psychotherapeutic devices of both Freud and gestalt psychotherapists have been used


Describe May's methods of assessment and research

May criticized contemporary psychological research for being impressed with data and uninterested in theory. We need continually to reexamine our presuppositions and raise ontological questions. Two specific research activities May engaged in were studies of unmarried mothers and the study of dream sequence.


Evaluate May's theory form the viewpoints of philosophy, science, and art

It's not a scientific theory of personality giving us a series of hypotheses that may be tested by an empirical procedure. Instead May suggested a philosophical picture of human nature that is coherent, relevant, comprehensive, and compelling.


Discuss some of the challenges presented to us by new technologies and social media

Social media may have the potential to change our feeling of powerlessness and help us explore new values.