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Sartre Simplified Essay Research Paper Jean Paul

Sartre Simplified Essay, Research Paper

Jean Paul Sartre was born in Paris, France on June 21, 1905. When Sartre was fifteen months old, his father died and Sartre was sick with enteritis. When Sartre was well again, his mother took him to live with his grandparents in Meudon. As a kid, Sartre was given everything and always was treated like a kid. Around 1909, Sartre suffered leucoma in his right eye. This left him half blind and wall eyed. Sartre was educated at the Ecole Normale Superieure. He took to writing, and was thought by everyone to end up a writer. At this time his mother remarried, and they moved to La Rochelle. In 1920, he moved back to Paris, and in June he passed the first part of the baccalaureate, and in 1922 he passed the second part. He wrote a thesis in 1927 but failed the exam, and in 1929 he not only passed the exam he placed first in it. At this time he was unofficially engaged with a grocer’s daughter. Then, he met Simone de Beauvoir, who had placed second on the exam. Their close relationship endured for more than a half of a century, until his death. They never did marry thought, saying that they had no need for the bourgeois formalities of marriage.

He started to take interest in philosophy at an early age at the school. A teacher at the Ecole named Henri Bergson who wrote Essai sur les donnes de la conscience left him in awe at philosophy. Sartre taught philosophy in various lycees in France. After this, Sartre went to the Institut Francais in Berlin to study Husserl s Phenomenology. This was:

1. Phenomenologists tend to oppose the acceptance of unobservable matters and grand systems erected in speculative thinking.

2. Phenomenologists tend to oppose naturalism (also called objectivism and positivism), which is the worldview growing from modern natural science and technology that has been spreading from Northern Europe since the Renaissance.

3. Positively speaking, phenomenologists tend to justify cognition (and some also evaluation and action) with reference to what Edmund Husserl called Evidenz, which is awareness of a matter itself as disclosed in the most clear, distinct, and adequate way for something of its kind.

4. Phenomenologists tend to believe that not only objects in the natural and cultural worlds, but also ideal objects, such as numbers, and even conscious life itself can be made evident and thus known.

5. Phenomenologists tend to hold that inquiry ought to focus upon what might be called “encountering” as it is directed at objects and, correlatively, upon “objects as they are encountered” (this terminology is not widely shared, but the emphasis on a dual problematics and the reflective approach it requires is).

6. Phenomenologists tend to recognize the role of description in universal, a priori, or “eidetic” terms as prior to explanation by means of causes, purposes, or grounds; and

7. Phenomenologists tend to debate whether or not what Husserl calls the transcendental phenomenological epoch and reduction is useful or even possible.

Husserl was the greatest influence of Sartre. In 1936, Sartre wrote Transcendental Ego at the Institut. Sartre said I wrote it actually under the direct influence of Husserl… When World War II broke out, he was drafted into the French Military. From 1940 to 1941 he was a German Prisoner of War. When he was released, he was very active in the French Resistance and started his own socialism and liberty resistance group. After the War, Sartre took up a teaching job at the lycee Condorcet, the lycee Henri IV, and the lycee at Havre. These teaching jobs were very short lived and after it he completely devoted his life to his writings, which totaled over thirty volumes. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, but refused saying to accept such an award would compromise his integrity as a writer. In 1962 he adopted Arlette Elkaim, a gifted musician. In 1970, Sartre accepted the nominal editorship for several leftist publications. In 1972, thinking that “every man is a political animal,” he started to edit a paper called Liberation.

In 1976, a film was made in Paris about him, and he accepted a doctorate form the Hebrew University. It was at this time that he claimed he was no longer a Marxist.

Sartre died on April 15, 1980, after a visit to Israel with his adopted daughter.

Sartre s philosophy was that of existentialism. He had combined works of Edmund Husserl, G. W. F. Hegel and Martin Heidegger, and Karl Marx. This theory relates philosophical theory to life, literature, psychology, and political action. Sartre s theory can be summed up into 20 categories:

1. EXISTENCE PRECEDES ESSENCE. “Freedom is existence, and in it existence precedes essence.” This means that what we do, how we act in our life, determines our apparent “qualities.” It is not that someone tells the truth because she is honest, but rather she defines herself as honest by telling the truth again and again.

I am a professor in a way different than the way I am six feet tall, or the way a table is a table. The table simply is; I exist by defining myself in the world at each moment.

2. SUBJECT RATHER THAN OBJECT. Humans are not objects to be used by God or a government or corporation or society. Nor we to be “adjusted” or molded into roles –to be only a waiter or a conductor or a mother or worker. We must look deeper than our roles and find ourselves.

3. FREEDOM is the central and unique potentiality which constitutes us as human. Sartre rejects determinism, saying that it is our choice how we respond to determining tendencies.

4. CHOICE. I am my choices. I cannot not choose. If I do not choose, that is still a choice. If faced with inevitable circumstances, we still choose how we are in those circumstances.

5. RESPONSIBILITY. Each of us is responsible for everything we do. If we seek advice from others, we choose our advisor and have some idea of the course he or she will recommend. “I am responsible for my very desire of fleeing responsibilities.”

6. PAST DETERMINANTS SELDOM TELL US THE CRUCIAL INFORMATION. We transform past determining tendencies through our choices. Explanations in terms of family, socioeconomic status, etc., do not tell us why a person makes the crucial choices we are most interested in.

7. OUR ACTS DEFINE US. “In life, a man commits himself, draws his own portrait, and there is nothing but that portrait.” Our illusions and imaginings about ourselves, about what we could have been, are nothing but self-deception.

8. WE CONTINUALLY MAKE OURSELVES AS WE ARE. A “brave” person is simply someone who usually acts bravely. Each act contributes to defining us as we are, and at any moment we can begin to act differently and draw a different portrate of ourselves. There is always a possibility to change, to start making a different kind of choice.

9. OUR POWER TO CREATE OURSELVES. We have the power of transforming ourself indefinitely.

10. OUR REALITY AND OUR ENDS. Human reality “identifies and defines itself by the ends which it pursues”, rather than by alleged “causes” in the past.

11. SUBJECTIVISM means the freedom of the individual subject, and that we cannot pass beyond subjectivity.

12. THE HUMAN CONDTION. Despite different roles and historical situations, we all have to be in the world, to labor and die there. These circumstances “are everywhere recognisable; and subjective because they are lived and are nothing if we do not live them.

13. CONDEMNED TO BE FREE. We are condemned because we did not create ourselves. We must choose and act from within whatever situation we find ourselves.

14. ABANDONMENT. “I am abandoned in the world… in the sense that I find myself suddenly alone and without help.

15. ANGUISH. “It is in anguish that we become conscious of our freedom. …My being provokes anguish to the extent that I distrust myself and my own reactions in that situation.”

1) We must make some choices knowing that the consequences will have profound effects on others (like a commander sending his troops into battle.)

2) In choosing for ourselves we choose for all humankind.


We limit ourselves to a reliance on that which is within our power, our capability to influence. There are other things very important to us over which we have no control.

17. BAD FAITH means to be guilty of regarding oneself not as a free person but as an object. In bad faith I am hiding the truth from myself. “I must know the truth very exactly in order to conceal it more carefully. (There seems to be some overlap in Sartre’s conception of bad faith and his conception of self-deception.)

A person can live in bad faith which …implies a constant and particular style of life.

18. “THE UNCONSCIOUS” IS NOT TRULY UNCONSCIOUS. At some level I am aware of, and I choose, what I will allow fully into my consciousness and what I will not. Thus I cannot use “the unconscious” as an excuse for my behavior. Even though I may not admit it to myself, I am aware and I am choosing.

Even in self-deception, I know I am the one deceiving myself, and Freud’s so-called censor must be conscious to know what to repress.

Those who use “the unconscious” as exoneration of actions believe that our instincts, drives, and complexes make up a reality that simply is; that is neither true nor false in itself but simply real.

19. PASSION IS NO EXCUSE. “I was overwhelmed by strong feelings; I couldn’t help myself” is a falsehood. Despite my feelings, I choose how to express them in action.

20. ONTOLOGY: The study of being, of what constitutes a person as a person, is the necessary basis for psychoanalysis.

Martin Heidegger was influenced by Jean Paul Sartre, he continued to dwell deeper into existentialism. Heidegger disected what Sartre said bit by bit.

Some of his books were Critique of Dialectical Reason (1960), Nausea (1938), The Age of Reason (1945) and Reprieve (1945).

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