Jean Paul Sartre´s Existential Philosophy Essay

1059 Words5 Pages
Jean Paul Sartre's Existential philosophy posits that is in man, and in man alone, that existence precedes essence. Simply put, Sartre means that man is first, and only subsequently to his “isness” does he become this or that. The implication in Sartre's philosophy is that man must create his own essence: it is in being thrown into the world through consciounsess intent, loving, struggling, experiencing and being in the world that man is alllowed to define itself. Yet, the definition always remains open ended: we cannot say that a human is definitively this or that before its death and indeed, it is the ultimate nothingness of death that being is defined. The concepts that Sartre examines in Being and Nothingness exist as part of a…show more content…
There is no pre-programmed destiny, no inherent meaning in our lives. Instead, meaning arises from the individual's impetus to will freely, to do what we choose in any given moment, and to then reflect upon those choices and the ways in which they alter reality and the lives of others. Being and Nothingness defines every individual as just that: a lone individual. The nature of our being is truly isolated from the nature of other beings and the world around us – while our actions and essence contain an implicit interconnectedness with the world, while meaning can only come from the existence of external phenomena, our true self is like an island surrounded by impenetrable nothingness – pregnant with the potential for possibility, but always empty in-itself.

There is no universal essence that can define every being, there is no divinely-inspired archetype for the human to aspire to (called the adam-kadmon in Hebrew mysticism), as the existence of such a blue-print for our essence would preclude freedom and bind us to an average, everyday homogeneity. Considerations of freedom and choice are the crux of existential philosophy, and being that Sartre is one of the primary philosophers of Existentialism, he examines both concepts with a critical eye in Being and Nothingness. Sartre states plainly that authentic choices are wholey and fully undetermined; if we choose and decide based merely upon the edicts of a religious code or some sort of secular ethical
Get Access