Sartre and the Meaning of Human Existence Essay

Sartre and the Meaning of Human Existence Essay

Length: 849 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Where the Meaning of Human Existence is Located According to Sartre

The word philosophy comes from Greek and literally means "love of wisdom." The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines philosophy as "a critical study of fundamental beliefs and the grounds for them." Both explanations of philosophy are correct and concrete. The meaning of human existence has no such concrete answer, but in this paper we will examine where Sartre believes it to be.

Sartre's existentialism is a philosophy, which deals with man. It states that man is that which he makes of himself and that he has to make his own choices in a state of anguish. Man chooses in anguish, because he has no external guidelines to help him and must rely on his own morals and beliefs. Man chooses completely want he wants to do. His existence depends on this. And this is where I believe Sartre locates the meaning to mans' existence. According to Sartre mans' existence only takes on meaning through his actions.

The Sartrian existentialist finds it extremely troubling that God does not exist because with Him vanishes all hope of finding values in an intelligible heaven. "As Dostoevsky once said, "If God did not exist, then everything would be permitted."(pg 22) Sartre claims this to be the existentialist starting point. This is the reason that Sartre talks about anguish, because "one cannot find anything to depend upon either within or outside himself." It must necessarily follow that man is to be forlorn; he can't find anything to depend upon either internally or externally. He therefore lacks excuses. We cannot explain our actions in terms of or in reference to..."given and specific human nature." (pg 23)

This rules out of the possibility of predetermination. "...


... middle of paper ...


...ialism is that one must first make a choice and then act upon the commitment, according to the formula that Sartre provides us with. For the existentialist, hope is a passion that gets him nowhere. He must face life in his abandoned state, with courage and self-affirmation.

Sartre's existentialism is unique in its individualistic outlook, its detachment, its lack of reliance of an outer code to manage behavior, and its emphasis on man's self-reliance. Existentialism, as exemplified in the work of Sartre, deals with fundamental issues of life and how he finds mans' existence within the choices and actions that define him. Since Sartre believes that there is no transcendent this theory causes man to be alone. Man has only himself to fall back on. Man makes his own future through the actions that he makes. This is where man is defined, and his existence finds meaning.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Human Existence and Human Suffering

- All throughout our history, we humans have constantly evolved and developed to an extent where we can give an account to the world we live in. From Epicurus to Thomas Aquinas, from Aristotle -who taught one of the greatest kings namely Alexander the Great- to Sartre and Camus were all for the search of why we are on this planet. What drives us to live or perhaps to die, even if it is by one’s own hand. When arguing about the meaning of life, one has to take into account that every doctrine, thesis, antithesis, thought and emotion can only be explained and defined through the human perspective....   [tags: Human Existence]

Better Essays
1904 words (5.4 pages)

Essay on Existentialism, By Jean Paul Sartre

- Existentialism Comparison Essay Existentialism is a philosophy, which revolves around the beliefs humans create themselves. Every person has his own view on existentialism and displays it differently. An existentialist in search of his meaning of life to end meaningless existence. Jean-Paul Sartre in his story The Wall attempts to demonstrate the conditions due to which a protagonist loses himself and becomes an existential after a deposited psychological trauma, but afterwards finds his new meaning....   [tags: Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre, Meaning of life]

Better Essays
1871 words (5.3 pages)

Existentialism, By Jean Paul Sartre Essay

- “Existentialism in Humanism” is a speech given by Jean-Paul Sartre given in 1946. Existentialism is a philosophy that states the existence of the individual person determines their own development through the acts of free will. Basically, this means that a person is free to decide and manipulate the course their life will take. They can control their reactions to situations, and cause other actions to occur. The argument made by Sartre is essentially nature vs nurture. The point Sartre argues is that existence precedes essence....   [tags: Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism, Human, Religion]

Better Essays
1000 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Jean Of Jean Paul Sartre

- Philosophy has been around for a very long time, and there are many famous philosophers that have created theories that we now use today. During the early 1900’s a very famous philosopher was born that we know as Jean Paul Sartre. He was born in 1905, a year the wars broke out. Jean was the only child as the parents of Jean Babtiste Sartre and Anne Marie Schweitzer. His father was a very well known officer in the Navy. His father died while he was still a child. He then went and grew up with his grandfather....   [tags: Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism]

Better Essays
1845 words (5.3 pages)

Existentialism, By Jean Paul Sartre Essay

- In life humans have to make several different choices based on different circumstances, some decisions you make you regret and some you do not. Many kids parent encourage their kids to go to college for a better life but sometimes a child does not always listen to what their parents want, in the end hurting their parent’s feelings. In the Continental Ethics Reader Sartre describes four ways in which the student is forsaken. Focusing on the four different ways hoping to explain how one is forsaken, what does this mean for humanity and whether I agree or disagree with the four different ways....   [tags: Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre]

Better Essays
978 words (2.8 pages)

Existentialism, By Jean Paul Sartre Essay

- Existentialism Is a Humanism is philosophical writing by Jean-Paul Sartre and its goal is to defend his philosophical theory of existentialism against many reproaches put forward by many different critics. Sartre is a firm believer that we have no greater purpose, no pre-determined plans, no ultimate meaning. We have, in Sartre’s words, no human nature, since there is nothing outside of us in which would conceive of it for us. We are simply here, and it is up to us to define ourselves. As Sartre states, “Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself.” One of the main critiques of Sartre’s view is that it is overly pessimistic and gloomy....   [tags: Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre, Philosophy]

Better Essays
722 words (2.1 pages)

Sartre 's Moral Relativism And Existentialism Essay

- Jean-Paul Sartre was a notable French philosopher and writer of the 20th century whose literary works have strongly influenced the world of academia and spurred intellectual contest in the Modern era. In Sartre’s 1945 publication, “Existentialism and Humanism,” Sartre had argued extensively about the notion of abandonment – the notion that we live freely in this world without purpose, and his stance on atheistic existentialism. His main argument was that existence precedes essence so humans acquire meaning through lived experiences since humans are free to choose and decide for themselves....   [tags: Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ontology]

Better Essays
1258 words (3.6 pages)

The, Sartre, And Voltaire 's Views On The Self And The Stages Of Life Essay example

- One of the most common struggles that every person on this globe faces is figuring out who they are, finding their ‘self’. This is a stage that often occurs more than once in your lifetime and can sometimes last relatively long. It is not easy to find yourself and to create a life based around that self. Often times, the individuals that have the hardest time with discovering themselves are college students. When experiencing doubt and despair, one might look up to a guiding figure, such as a parent, professor, or mentor....   [tags: Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre]

Better Essays
709 words (2 pages)

Essay about Characters in Sartre's No Exit

- Characters in Sartre's No Exit     “No Exit,” by Jean-Paul Sartre, is a play that illustrates three people’s transitions from wanting to be alone in Hell to needing the omnipresent “other” constantly by their sides. As the story progresses, the characters’ identities become more and more permanent and unchangeable. Soon Inez, Garcin, and Estelle live in the hope that they will obtain the other’s acceptance. These three characters cannot accept their existentialist condition: they are alone in their emotions, thoughts and fears....   [tags: Jean-Paul Sartre No Exit Essays]

Better Essays
1602 words (4.6 pages)

Sartre's Philosophy Essays

- Sartre's Philosophy Sartre believed that one day man happened, or occurred, and after this anomalous event man’s life took meaning. With this theory, Sartre articulated the premise that “existence precedes essence”. Through this assumption, Sartre evolves further ideas in which a human can gain a greater understanding of human nature and responsibility.      In his theory stating that “existence precedes essence”, Sartre takes the belief that life has a meaning that far transcends our short and insignificant lives....   [tags: Philosophy Sartre Essays Papers]

Better Essays
999 words (2.9 pages)