Existentialism according to Sartre Who was Sartre?



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Existentialism according to Sartre

Who was Sartre?

Jean Paul Sartre was a French writer, philosopher and novelist. Sartre was born in Paris at June 21st ,1905. He studied at the prestigious Ecole Normale Superieure. He later taught philosophy in a lycee in Le Harve but moved on to Berlin to study at the French Institute when he published his work : The transcendence of the Ego.

During WWII, Sartre wrote his masterpiece The being and nothingness and it was published around 1943. In 1946 his work,Existentialism and Humanism was published also. Sartre died at the age of 74 in April 15,1980, and he is considered one of the biggest exponentials in contemporary existentialism.

Onof,Christian J. University College, London. Internet encyclopedia of philosophy: http://www.iep.utm.edu/sartre-ex/#H1

What do existentialism meant according to Sartre’s philosophy?

Well, it is impossible to cover all of Sartre’s ideas and points of view on a simple paragraph, however, it is coherent to think on explaining in a synthesis, what Sartre meant with Existentialism.

“…man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world – and defines himself afterwards. If man as the existentialist sees him is not definable, it is because to begin with he is nothing. He will not be anything until later, and then he will be what he makes of himself”

-Jean Paul Sartre

So the basis of Existentialism according to Sartre was the essence. First and foremost, one should be seen in order to exist. One must have something to begin with and something to create. One suffers an imminent lack of identity in order to fulfill the spaces of his existence and later on: exist.

One is not aware of his existence for what gives existence its essence is someone (something) else’s perception. We make things exist when perceiving them but things by themselves cannot exist. That is why: Man will not be anything until later, and then he will be what he makes of himself”

Warburton, Nick, Philosophy Now (Jul/Aug 2014) A student’s guide to Jean Paul Sartre’s Existentialism and humanism: https://philosophynow.org/issues/15/A_students_guide_to_Jean-Paul_Sartres_Existentialism_and_Humanism

Works and conclusion



As said before, Sartre is considered as one of the most important contemporary philosophers. His works and opus include : The being and nothingness (1943), Nausea (1938),Existentialism and Humanism (1946), Critique of dialectical and reason (1960),The age of reason (1945), etc ect. All of them function as perfect references and sources of information for anyone trying to understand this philosophy.

Flynn, Thomas, "Jean-Paul Sartre", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL =


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