Jean-Paul Sartre. By Dennis Stapleton. Sartre, the Father of Existentialism.
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Existentialism-A philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one's acts.
Sartre's introduction to his philosophy is his work Existentialism is a Humanism (1946).
Sartre finds the essence of human existence in freedom — in the duty of self-determination and the freedom of choice — and therefore spends much time describing the human tendency toward "bad faith," reflected in humanity's perverse attempts to deny its own responsibility and flee from the truth of its inescapable freedom.
In his philosophical view atheism is taken for granted; the "loss of God" is not mourned. Man is condemned to freedom, a freedom from all authority, which he may seek to evade, distort, and deny but which he will have to face if he is to become a moral being. The meaning of man's life is not established before his existence. Once the terrible freedom is acknowledged, man has to make this meaning himself, has to commit himself to a role in this world, has to commit his freedom. And this attempt to make oneself is futile without the "solidarity" of others.
Besides the obvious impact of Nausea, Sartre's major contribution to literature was the The Roads to Freedom trilogy which charts the progression of how World War II affected Sartre's ideas. In this way, Roads to Freedom presents a less theoretical and more practical approach to existentialism.
Jean and Beauvoir challenged the cultural and social assumptions and expectations of their upbringings.
Beauvoir wrote about him in her autobiography, The Prime of Life (tr. 1962).
She is best known for her two feminist books, The Second Sex and Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter.
In 1929, Beauvoir also became the youngest person ever to obtain the agrégation in philosophy. Sartre was first that year, but she was a close second.
After Sartre died, Beauvoir published his letters to her with edits to spare the feelings of some people in their circle who were still living. After Beauvoir's death, Sartre's adopted daughter and literary heir Arlette Elkaïm would not let many of Sartre's letters be published in unedited form.