Difference Between Absurdism and Existentialism; Absurdism vs Existentialism Compared and Differences Highlighted

Absurdism vs Existentialism

Existentialism is a philosophical movement that started in the 19th century as a result of revolt against the then dominant school of thoughts. Existentialists are philosophers who believe that the experiences of an individual form the basis of any meaning of life. Existence is at the core of existentialism that has many interpretations. There is another concept called Absurdism that confuses many students of philosophy because of its many similarities with existentialism. There are many who feel that they two are synonymous and should be treated interchangeably. However, the reality is that there are differences between existentialism and absurdism that make them two different philosophies.


Existentialism is a dominant school of thought in philosophy that revolves around the principle of existence. The first and one of the foremost proponents of existentialism is Jean Sartre. This is one philosophy that has been hard to explain or describe. In fact, existentialism is better understood rejecting certain other types of philosophies rather than treating it as a branch of philosophy.

The most important principle of existentialism is that existence precedes essence. This implies that, before anything else, an individual is a living being who is conscious and independently thinking. Essence in this principle refers to all those stereotypes and preconceived notions that we use to fit individuals in these casts. Existentialists believe that people make conscious decisions in their lives and realize the value and meaning of their lives. Thus, people act out of their own free will and, as opposed to the basic human nature, people are themselves responsible for their acts.


Absurdism is a school of thought that originated in the time of Jean Paul Sartre. In fact, many of the colleagues of Sartre gave rise to the Theater of Absurd. Thus, absurdism has always been associated with existentialism though it has its own place in the world of philosophy. As a separate school of thought, absurdism came into existence with the writings of those involved with European existentialism. In fact, the essay called The Myth of Sisyphus, written by Albert Camus, is credited as being the first authentic exposition in the school of absurdism that rejected some of the aspects of existentialism.

What is the difference between Absurdism and Existentialism?