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Jean-Paul Sartre’s Philosophy: Radical Freedom and Responsibility

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“We are left alone, without excuse. This is what I mean when I say that man is condemned to be free” (Sartre 32). Radical freedom and responsibility is the central notion of Jean-Paul Sartre’s philosophy. However, Sartre himself raises objections about his philosophy, but he overcomes these obvious objections. In this paper I will argue that man creates their own essence through their choices and that our values and choices are important because they allow man to be free and create their own existence. I will first do this by explaining Jean-Paul Sartre’s quote, then by thoroughly stating Sartre’s theory, and then by opposing objections raised against Sartre’s theory.

When Sartre says, “We are left alone, without excuse. That is what I mean to say that man is condemned to be free” (Sartre 32), he is speaking of man’s autonomous life; which is human independence and freedom to will one’s actions. Because God, according to Sartre, did not create man we are self-creating. Through human intelligence comes essence, the intrinsic nature or indispensible quality of something, but essence only comes after human existence. Creating ones own essence allows man to be free because we create what we are, rather then our identities being given to us. The only guidance man gets is from themselves because man is left alone in the universe, which in-turn makes man responsible. Man has no one telling him what to do, there may be laws but they are man made and because they man made no one has true control over man.

Existentialism is a philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining his or her own development through acts of the will. To Sartre, saying that som...

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...vious objections. In this paper argued that man creates their own essence through their choices and that our values and choices are important because they allow man to be free and create their own existence. I did this first by explaining Jean-Paul Sartre’s quote, then by thoroughly stating Sartre’s theory, and then by opposing objections raised against Sartre’s theory.

Works Cited

Dictionary.com | Free Online Dictionary for English Definitions. Web. 15 Apr. 2011. .

"Existentialism." Saint Anselm College : Saint Anselm College. Web. 15 Apr. 2011. .

Sartre, Jean-Paul, and Stephen Priest. Jean-Paul Sartre: Basic Writings. London: Routledge, 2001. Print.

"Jean-Paul Sartre." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 15 Apr. 2011. .
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