Jean Paul Sartre And Existentialism

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Existentialism is a Humanism, written by French philosopher Jean- Paul Sartre, was written in 1946 based on a lecture that Sartre gave at Club Maintenant in Paris in 1945. Existentialism is defined as “a philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of will” (Merriam- Webster Dictionary). In Existentialism is a Humanism, Sartre portrays existentialism as an essentially optimistic philosophy. He uses key existentialist terms such as anguish, abandonment, and despair to defend his view as well as provide examples that help us to analyze his claim. After doing so, we can conclude that Sartre’s claim is wrong and existentialism is more pessimistic, particularly through his understanding of human nature, where he sets up an understanding of life that is too restricted. In particular, I believe that life needs both passion and purpose and I will show how Sartre does not adequately account for passion and purpose. I will present and analyze Sartre’s three words, anguish, abandonment, and despair in support of this argument. To Sartre, existentialism means that existence precedes essence. Humans are born with no purpose and later figure it out, creating their own purpose of life. Sartre uses the example of the paper knife to clearly show us his views on existentialism, and how the example shows us how existence precedes essence. The paper knife was created by someone with an intended purpose before it is created, and its essence is known pre-creation. A human being is created and further develops a meaning after being created. “This object was produced by a craftsman who drew inspiration from a concept: he referred bot... ... middle of paper ... ... forgive. To believe that we make our own meaning in this life, individually, is not something that I believe in. God can help us through anguish, abandonment, and despair, and having faith is what leads us into the right relationship with us to allow him to do this. Sartre’s view is a truly pessimistic one, and his intention to make it an optimistic view was a failure to me as a reader. Our life has a pre-existent purpose, and through this our passion this is revealed. In his work, Sartre does not account for passion or purpose at all. He mainly accounts for individuality, and in this world no one is alone. All in all, Sartre uses the three terms, anguish, abandonment, and despair to support his argument that existentialism is an optimistic philosophy, but we have now seen that his argument is truly pessimistic and does not account for neither passion nor purpose.
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