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Sartre Existentialism

Autor:   •  November 14, 2018  •  Essay  •  704 Words (3 Pages)  •  394 Views

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        In Sartre’s Existentialism, ethics, values, and the meaning of one’s life is constantly being developed through the dynamic and constant experience of life itself. Sartre argues that no values are inherently a priori – rather, we ourselves choose our being and the values in which we live with throughout the progression of our existence. Assuming the lack of an existence of God, this subjectivity in values means that nothing can truly legitimize our conduct except ourselves and our consciousness of ourselves. However, through something Sartre calls intersubjectivity, we achieve this consciousness of ourselves and others through contact with others; our truths are tested through human interactions. Through this intersubjective and subjective process, we as humans define the universality of man.

        Sartre’s forefront argument claims that existence precedes essence, or that human subjectivity is the starting point for life. Man first exists, and then afterwards, defines himself as a man. He is nothing more and nothing less than what he chooses to make himself as – he will be what he plans to be, regardless of his facticity. This is different from objects such as a book or a paper-cutter. In the case of the object, essence precedes existence. A book is meant to be read, a paper-cutter cuts paper. These are made with specific purposes – their presence and purpose are determined almost entirely by their facticity. As objects, the book and the paper-cutter do not enjoy (or perhaps suffer through) the same subjectivity that man does. This provides man with a powerful sense of freedom in which they are free to define values and their life however they choose. A coward is a coward because he made himself a coward through his actions, not because he had “coward lungs” or a “coward brain”. Humans are beings who exist before they are defined by any sort of concept -  therefore, these beings, through their existence, define human reality. This monumental and total responsibility over themselves and their contribution to the human experience is defined by Sartre as anguish.


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