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Jean Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre was a French philosopher, playwright and novelist born in 1980. His work influenced critical theory, sociology, and literary studies.

Jean-Paul Sartre was born on 21 June 1905 in France. He was a novelist, philosopher, playwright, screenwriter, and biographer. He was also a chief figure of French philosophy and Marxism in the 20th century. Although he tried to refuse it initially, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1964. 

Several of his works attract people. One of the chief influential works is Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialist ethics, which people find mind-blowing. Sartre took an interest in the French political movements after the end of World War II. He started admiring the Soviet Union, but he was not a part of the French Communist Party. In his last years, he put his attention into L’Idiot de la Famille, an extensive study of French Novelist Gustave Flaubert, which remained unfinished. Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialism is his most famous work.

Sartre’s early life and writing 

Jean-Paul Sartre lost his father at a very young age. He was raised in his grandfather’s home. Sartre went to Lycée Henri-IV for schooling while in Paris, and after his mother remarried, he joined the secondary school (lycée) in La Rochelle. Later, he went to the reputed École Normale Supérieure for higher studies. Sartre published La Nausée (English: Nausea) during his time in Le Havre.

This philosophy novel narrates the feelings of disgust that Roquentin (the novel’s protagonist) goes through when confronted by the world of matter. He also took up the phenomenological method, which proposed an un-preconceived and detailed description of the consciousness experience phenomenon. 

Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialist ethics were based on his lecture given at Club Maintenant in Paris in 1945.

He also started a four-volume novel in 1945 titled Les Chemins de la liberté. Three more were written eventually – L’Âge de raison, Le Sursis, La Mort dans l’âme. According to Sartre, a writer should always attempt to show humans as they are. 

Political activities 

Sartre took an interest in the French political movement after the end of World War II. Although he didn’t join the French Communist Party, he openly admired the Soviet Union. Jean-Paul Sartre tried to glorify the Resistance after the war and insisted that the people resisting were the ones who enjoyed absolute freedom that didn’t exist before the war. However, he condemned the Soviet’s entry into Budapest in 1956 in the journal Les Temps Modernes.

Sartre started examining the Marxist dialectic and found that the Soviet form was not livable. He conceded that Marxism was ossified but also believed that it was the only philosophy for the current times. According to Jean-Paul Sartre, Marxism must learn to accept the different existential circumstances from one collection to another and respect each other’s freedom.

Jean Sartre’s take on existentialism

Sartre’s philosophy career initially focussed on the philosophy of existence, known as existentialism. Sartre’s early works are set apart by the development of classic phenomenology. Still, his views on methodology differed from Edmund Husserl’s (principal founder of phenomenology and one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century) interest in ethics and self-conception. These differences are the foundation of Sartre’s phenomenology of existence. 

Sartre started to develop an ontological account of what it means to be human. The main idea of this ontology was the radical freedom and groundlessness that indicates the human condition.

This ontology of Sartre’s is described in, Being and Nothingness, a masterpiece by Jean-Paul Sartre. He described the two types of reality that lie beyond our conscious experience – consciousness itself and the being of the object of consciousness. The object of consciousness exists in a non-relational and indep

A significant feature of consciousness is its negative power, which makes us experience nothingness. This power, the nothingness, also works within us, which creates a lack of self-identity. Therefore, the unity of the self is considered a work for itself and not as given.

The self needs projects to ground itself, which can be seen as facets of an individual’s basic project and driven by a desire for lying within the individual’s consciousness. The source of this project is an original choice that is spontaneous and that hangs on individual freedom. 


Sartre’s existentialism states that existence is preceded by essence. This implies that to give meaning to our lives, we must perform and exist in a certain way. According to Sartre, there is no definitive blueprint as to how a human should be, and there is no God to give us a purpose. The responsibility of defining ourselves is on us and not others. With no restrictions imposed on us, we get to decide who we really become and live the life we want to live. According to Sartre, we are defined by the choices we make.


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