The Main Features Of Existentialism Vs. Sartre's Theory

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This paper attempts to discuss the main features of existentialist views as well as dissect Sartre's Theory into two parts, analysing its merits and consequent demerit. Existentialist views in my understanding is a difficult concept to define. From various philosophical theories read so far, existentialism focuses more on the existence of the human being in itself rather than the various material and non-material (idealistic) influences that is associated with man. One of the first very popular existentialist - Jean-Paul Sartre in his description referred to it as a fundamental doctrine commonly shared by most philosophers who collectively believe that in the existentialist world, "existence preceded essence". This means that the most important…show more content…
He defines his existence and that happens around him because man to a large extent is supposedly in control of his own destiny. What is the meaning of life's achievements if there is no existence? This question shines more light on the Jean-Paul Sartre's position when he wrote that "man starts a zero position, from nothing at all to something greater". Source: Existentialism is concerned with personality: Existentialists believed that a man's personality is directly linked to the level of freedom available to him. The concept of personality as it relates to man includes those characteristics such as the way he thinks, behaves, creates, explores etc. Existentialism is concerned with being: The term 'Being' is viewed differently by existentialists. To a layman, 'Being is a mere scientific term whereas some existentialist like Marcel, have categorized 'being' into two groups, one defined by science and the other defined by man's experience of his spiritual self. Meaning that there is a 'being' in physical representation (himself) and another being existing in another realm known as his…show more content…
Many philosophers criticized the theories of Sartre for its contradictory nature. Source: They argue that Sartre's theories are based on metaphysical views as opposed to his counter claim of same. Sartre's theory that "existence precedes essence" is one of the areas of his work that I admire and fully agree with. I say this with very solid personal conviction because man must first acknowledge his existence before he recognizes or appreciates other qualities that would bring meaning to his existence. On the flipside, Sartre's model on social reality is somewhat confusing; the constitution of a 'being' is a function of another individual, completely independent of what I expect or want. His theorized that if one is constituted as a man, it may be in resentment of another woman or if one is constituted as soldier it may be in readiness for a conflict with another nation. From some of the reasons given above, I strongly disagree with this theory of social reality because conflict will continue to prevail. Source:

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