A philosophy of life is any general attitude towards, or philosophical view of, the meaning of life or of the way life should be lived. The term is generally used in an informal sense, meaning a personal philosophy whose focus is resolving basic existential questions about the human condition rather than an academic philosophical endeavour.
The term also refers to a specific conception of philosophizing as a way of life, endorsed by the German Lebensphilosophie movement whose main representative is Wilhelm Dilthey and several other continental philosophers such as Henri Bergson and Pierre Hadot.
Main article: Human situation
The human situation appears to be a struggle between what is (existence) and what ought (essence) to be.
There are at least three prevailing theories on how to respond to the existential question.
There are two basic forms of existentialism:
Christian existentialism is best exemplified by St. Augustine, Blaise Pascal, Paul Tillich, and the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard. Religious existentialism holds that there are two levels of reality, essence, which is the ground of being, and existence. Religion is the ultimate concern in this view.
Main article: Atheistic existentialism
Atheistic existentialism is best exemplified by Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, and Jean-Paul Sartre. It holds that there is one level of reality, existence. In this view, each person constructs his own unique and temporary essence.