PHILOSOPHY Existentialism (Kierkegaard, Sartre, Heidegger)

upsc philosophy study material

PHILOSOPHY Existentialism (Kierkegaard, Sartre, Heidegger)


Our post is related to the UPSC exam! ( PHILOSOPHY OPTIONAL NOTES ) As you all know that every year more than 10 lakh candidates appear in the UPSC exam. Every year more than 10 lakh candidates will appear for the Civil Services Examination to be held at 2,569 centers in 72 cities of the country. There have been more in LOCKDOWN.


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PHILOSOPHY Existentialism (Kierkegaard, Sartre, Heidegger)

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PHILOSOPHY Existentialism (Kierkegaard, Sartre, Heidegger)


एक उम्मीदवार के अधिकारी बनने की संभावना 0.2% प्रतिशत है। लेकिन यह आंकड़े आपको अपने सपनों को प्राप्त करने से नहीं रोक सकते । आपको बस उचित मार्गदर्शन और अपनी पढ़ाई को व्यवस्थित करने का एक स्मार्ट तरीका चाहिए।
The probability of a candidate becoming an officer is 0.2% percent. But these figures cannot stop you from achieving your dreams. All you need is proper guidance and a smart way to organize your studies.


Exam Pattern & Syllabus

Qualifying Papers Marks
Paper-A One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution 300
Paper-B English 300
Papers to be Counted for Merit
Paper-I Essay 250
Paper-II General Studies-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society) 250
Paper-III General Studies-II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations) 250
Paper-IV Genera Studies-III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management) 250
Paper-V General Studies-IV (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude) 250
Paper-VI Optional Subject – Paper 1 250
Paper-VII Optional Subject – Paper 2 250
Sub Total (Written Test) 1750
Personality Test 275
Grand Total 2025

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How to Prepare Philosophy Optional for UPSC | Syllabus, Booklist, and Strategy for Philosophy Optional UPSC

Optional subjects are Paper VII and Paper VIII in the UPSC CS (Main) Examination. Each paper has a total of 250 points. As a result, the optional subject is worth 500 points in total. Because of its relevance and connection with other general studies and essay papers, philosophy is one of the most popular optional courses.

The biggest advantage of choosing philosophy is that a substantial portion of the syllabus is static, so you won’t have to worry about keeping up with current events for this optional subject. Aside from that, the syllabus is simple, and there are numerous tools for preparation.

Philosophy Syllabus For UPSC CSE (Mains) Examination

Paper I: Philosophy History and Problems

Plato and Aristotle Ideas; Substance; Form and Matter; Causation; Actuality and Potentiality
Rationalism (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz) Cartesian Method and Certain Knowledge; Substance; God; Mind-Body Dualism; Determinism and Freedom
Empiricism (Locke, Berkeley, Hume) Theory of Knowledge; Substance and Qualities; Self and God; Scepticism.
Kant Possibility of Synthetic a priori Judgments; Space and Time; Categories; Ideas of Reason; Antinomies; Critique of Proofs for the Existence of God
Hegel Dialectical Method; Absolute Idealism
Moore, Russell and Early Wittgenstein Defense of Commonsense; Refutation of Idealism; Logical Atomism; Logical Constructions; Incomplete Symbols; Picture Theory of Meaning; Saying and Showing
Logical Positivism Verification Theory of Meaning; Rejection of Metaphysics; Linguistic Theory of Necessary Propositions.
Later Wittgenstein Meaning and Use; Language- games; Critique of Private Language.
Phenomenology (Husserl) Method; Theory of Essences; Avoidance of Psychologism
Existentialism (Kierkegaard, Sartre, Heidegger) Existence and Essence; Choice, Responsibility and Authentic Existence; Being-in-the-world and Temporality
Quine and Strawson Critique of Empiricism; Theory of Basic Particulars and Persons
Carvaka Theory of Knowledge; Rejection of Transcendent Entities
Jainism Theory of Reality; Saptabhaòginaya; Bondage and Liberation
Schools of Buddhism Pratîtyasamutpada; Ksanikavada, Nairatmyavada
 Nyaya- Vaiúesika Theory of Categories; Theory of Appearance; Theory of Pramana; Self, Liberation; God; Proofs for the Existence of God; Theory of Causation; Atomistic Theory of Creation
Samkhya Prakrti; Purusa; Causation; Liberation
Yoga Citta; Cittavrtti; Klesas; Samadhi; Kaivalya.
Mimamsa Theory of Knowledge
Schools of Vedanta Brahman; Îúvara; Atman; Jiva; Jagat; Maya; Avidya; Adhyasa; Moksa; Aprthaksiddhi; Pancavidhabheda
Aurobindo Evolution, Involution; Integral Yoga.

Paper II: Philosophy History and Problems

Socio-Political Philosophy Social and Political Ideals: Equality, Justice, Liberty.
Sovereignty: Austin, Bodin, Laski, Kautilya.
Individual and State: Rights; Duties and Accountability
Forms of Government: Monarchy; Theocracy and Democracy.
Political Ideologies: Anarchism; Marxism and Socialism
Humanism; Secularism; Multiculturalism.
Crime and Punishment: Corruption, Mass Violence, Genocide, Capital Punishment.
Development and Social Progress.
Gender Discrimination: Female Foeticide, Land, and Property Rights; Empowerment.
Caste Discrimination: Gandhi and Ambedkar
Philosophy of Religion Notions of God: Attributes; Relation to Man and the World. (Indian and Western).
Proofs for the Existence of God and their Critique (Indian and Western).
The Problem of Evil.
Soul: Immortality; Rebirth and Liberation.
Reason, Revelation, and Faith.
Religious Experience: Nature and Object (Indian and Western).
Religion without God.
Religion and Morality.
Religious Pluralism and the Problem of Absolute Truth.
Nature of Religious Language: Analogical and Symbolic; Cognitivist and Noncognitive.

How to study philosophy for UPSC?

What is the best strategy to prepare for Philosophy Optional?

Broadly, philosophy is divided into four parts namely Western Philosophy, Indian Philosophy, Social-political philosophy, and religious philosophy. Let’s look at the preparation strategy for each of these:

  • Both Western philosophy and Indian philosophy are covered in Paper 1 of the optional paper. You must attempt 5 out of the 8 questions on this paper, as well as 2 compulsory questions from each of these sub-sections. You can learn about Indian philosophy by reading Satishchandra Chatterjee’s An Introduction to Indian Philosophy and Yakub Masih’s A Critical History of Western Philosophy: Greek, Medieval, and Modern.
  • The core elements of paper-II of the optional subject of philosophy are social-political philosophy and religious philosophy. Refer to Hindu editorials as well as pieces from monthly periodicals like Yojana and Kurukshetra for preparing these. Hindu editorials frequently include discussion of fundamental philosophical issues.
  • Practice answer-writing: After you’ve gone over the above-mentioned topics thoroughly, try your hand at answer-writing. Use your notes to help you compose responses and have them reviewed by your mentors and experts.
  • Refer to toppers’ answer scripts: Look through toppers’ answer copies to obtain an idea of how your answers should be written and practise composing them.
  • Enroll in a test series: Enroll in a test series so that your answer copies can be assessed and you can receive feedback from experts and mentors.

Best Philosophy Optional Booklist for UPSC IAS Mains

  • An Introduction to Indian Philosophy by Satishchandra Chatterjee
  • A Critical History of Western Philosophy: Greek, Medieval and Modern by Yakub Masih
  • A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy by Chandradhar Sharma
  • Contemporary Indian Philosophy by Basant Kumar Lal
  • An Introduction to Political Theory by O.P. Gauba
  • Philosophy of Religion by John H Hick



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