Sartre'S Essays

Sartre'S Essays-68
With nothing to restrict us, we have the choice to and lead the life we want to live.

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Sartre's theory of existentialism states that “existence precedes essence”, that is only by existing and acting a certain way do we give meaning to our lives.

According to him, there is no fixed design for how a human being should be and no God to give us a purpose.

He wanted us to acknowledge our freedom, to not be restricted by the popular definition of reality, and live life as we wished to live it.

And despite people uncovering several flaws in the way he presented his ideals, his ideals themselves are certainly worth considering.

As Simone de Beauvoir, Sartre’s lifelong companion records in her diary, , neither she nor Sartre relished the term (which was probably first coined by Gabriel Marcel in 1943 when he used it speaking of Sartre), but decided to go along with it: “In the end, we took the epithet that everyone used for us and used it for our own purposes”. Sartre explicitly addressed this question in his lecture, describing existentialism as “the least scandalous and the most austere” (p.26) of teachings, and one only really intended for technicians and philosophers.

He stated that the common denominator of the so called existentialists was their belief that for human beings “existence comes before essence” (p.26).

Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre is one of the most important philosophers of all time.

Despite his work garnering considerable flak over the years, his theories on existentialism and freedom cement his place among the most influential Western philosophers of the 20th-century and beyond.

Nevertheless , and to some of the fundamental questions about human existence which are the starting point for most people’s interest in philosophy at all.

It is common practice for teachers in the Anglo-American philosophical tradition to be scathing about Sartre’s philosophy, dismissing it as woolly, jargon-laden, derivative, wrong-headed and so on – in Bryan Magee’s recent TV series ‘The Great Philosophers’, for instance, Sartre’s philosophy was declared to be only of passing interest.


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