Rejection of Existentialism Essay example

Rejection of Existentialism Essay example

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In his defense of existentialism, Sartre first defines the unifying factor of existentialism, (for both atheist and deist alike), as the belief that existence precedes essence. To help illustrate his point he presents the example of a paper knife, an object that possess a set of qualities that enable it to carry out its purpose. He states that it would not have been created without a particular purpose, therefore its essence precedes its existence. (Sartre) Sartre rejects this idea when it comes to mankind and declares that humans in themselves have no nature and define themselves after coming into existence. This stems from his atheistic worldview, in which the rejection of a higher power leads him to accept the fact that humans are the “Creator”, the first to exist, and it is our job to give meaning to the rest of the world.
Sartre’s existentialist ideas are mostly closely tied to the theory of free will. If existence precedes essence, that is if there is no purpose to why we are here, this grants humans ultimate free will (and ultimate responsibility) to create themselves, the world and fill it with meaning. I disagree with Sartre’s claim that existence precedes essence, and furthermore that free will can still exist outside these boundaries.
My primary problem to existentialism stems from Sartre’s claim “We mean that man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world – and defines himself afterwards.” (Sartre) He argues that human existence came before all, that we came into being and then gave meaning to everything. This argument appears to oppose biological science, from an evolutionist and creationist standpoint.
Evolutionary science supports the claim that humans came into being over mill...


... middle of paper ...


...ally just since each person adds meaning to everything he or she chooses to do or believe. Existentialism states that each person’s life is in itself an example of how others should live but with an essence unique to every individual, such a standard is impossible to accept.
In my opinion, much of Sartre’s ideas stemmed from his atheism. With the absence of a divine creator, he concluded that humans in themselves must be the start of all things. He rejected the idea that God could coincide with free will. While existentialism does raise some important and relevant points, its core that existence precedes essence is not a valid one, nor does a different view eliminate the possibility of free will.



Works Cited


Satre, Jean Paul. “Existentialism is a Humanism”. April 30, 2011



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