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Jean-Paul Sartre - Essay Example

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Jean-Paul Sartre

This research will begin with the statement that the roots of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Existentialist-Marxist understandings are deeply embedded in the objects of freedom (analytically) and personal struggle (history/personal struggle).  It is not only impractical to separate Sartre from his time-period, it is impossible.  Dissolution of people’s identities both spiritually and historically was being realized through the tragedies of World War I and World War II.  Combining these significant destructions with new perspectives concerning Psychology (through Freud, Jung…), Philosophy found a seemingly different path explaining “who we are” and “what is our purpose” as humans.  Sartre was heavily influenced by literature and art and through this media suggested an approach to perceiving the world as it is; ugly, grotesque’, self-absorbed.  This movement towards a more realistic or negative view of life differed greatly from the “Hope” offered by Leibnitz, Aquinas and other ‘positivists’.  Accordingly, Sartre felt the backlash from “Hopeful-ists” resulting in Sartre’s “Existentialism Is a Humanism” lecture in Paris, France 1944. In “Existentialism Is a Humanism”, Sartre spells out what Existentialism actually is.  Sartre says there are two kinds of Existentialist “the Christians...and atheistic existentialists” the latter being the group Sartre belongs to.  ...
Perhaps Sartre’ wished to embolden and/or disarm his Christian detractors by enlisting Gabriel Marcel as a co-conspirator since Marcel, a converted Catholic, first “endorsed but later repudiated” (SEP) the Existentialist label. Adding a supremely ironic twist is Sartre first repudiating then endorsing the label of ‘Existentialism’ himself ( Sartre may have been reading Kant and his “Utilitarianism” by including Christianity as a default proponent; by utility. Sartre suggests the commonness of existentialists is the belief that “existence precedes essence.” This idea is novel in the scheme of Philosophy. Greek thought or philosophy from Plato suggested a “Realm of Forms” as the perfection of anything conceivable in perfect form. The ‘thing’ observed had a ‘perfectness’ illustrated in the “Realm of Forms” above and beyond the common illusionary perception of a living human being (Plato 68). Sartre defined reality as production of each individual perceiver’s understanding or capabilities without a definite ‘template’ or guide about what may or may not be true of the ‘thing’ perceived. This is Sartre’s ‘Freedom’ supposition: “Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself” (Sartre 5). Here, Sartre follows closely in the footsteps of Spinoza by exacting ‘God’ from the realm of reality and describing a ‘natural’ or humanistic understanding of reality. Freedom, to Sartre, is not a political or societal extension; although it can be. Freedom is breaking the chains of bondage from “determinism” of perhaps, Calvinistic Christianity and allowing man the complete dominion of his or her own ...Show more


The object of analysis for the purpose of this assignment is Jean-Paul Sartre’s Existentialist-Marxist. Sartre suggests the commonness of existentialists is the belief that “existence precedes essence.”  This idea is novel in the scheme of Philosophy. 

Author : kameronbreitenb
Jean-Paul Sartre essay example
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