An Insight Into Unamuno’s Existentialism and the Tragedy of Human Existence

Monday Lewis Igbafen


The thought of Miguel De Unamuno (1864-1936), a twentieth century Spanish philosopher, belongs to the genre of existentialism in the history of Western philosophy. The term ‘existentialism’ has diverse but reconcilable definitions or interpretations such that it can be broadly accepted to mean the philosophy of human existence. It is concerned with the interpretation and description of existential issues and problems of human existence that are concrete. Unamuno’s views on the contingent nature of man and his existence __ earthly experiences __ are mainly contained in The Tragic sense of Life. In the book, Unamuno construes man as a composite of two oscillating extremes or opposites of faith and doubt. An account of Unamuno’s thought shows that “just as man is a concrete matter-and-spirit, heart-and-intellect unit, so is he an indivisible unit of faith and doubt”. This paper is a critical engagement with Unamuno’s thought with a view to showing how its grapples with the notion of (human) tragedy.

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