Jean Paul Sartre presents existentialism as humanism. In his definition of existentialism, he asserts that a person exists prior his or her essence. This means that there is nothing to determine one’s character, way of life. An individual is responsible of defining her or his own essence in life (Sartre, 2007). He states that we give meaning to our lives by existing and by how we act. This means there is no fixed way a man is expected to be. Therefore, we are responsible of defining ourselves. According to Sartre (2007), the lack of predefined purpose that comes with absurd existence brings anguish of freedom. Yet, man has the choice to become what he or she wants and live his or her own life without any restriction. He condemned the idea of man living without freedom. There is no phenomenon that things have to be in a given specific way. People have to acknowledge that things can be done in various ways hence they can pursue the alternate options. There are people who believe that they are capable of doing one particular kind of work or even live in a particular place (Sartre, 2007). He termed such as people living in bad faith. In his view, man is capable and responsible of finding for himself ventures in the world based on his or her wish. There is nothing specific about man, thus as long as man exists he will decide to make for himself what he wishes. Therefore, men have no greater purpose, nothing fixed about them and there is nothing called human nature but rather men choose what they make themselves to be. This briefly answers the question, what type of existentialism does Jean Paul Sartre present?


Sartre, J.-P., Macomber, C., Cohen-Solal, A., Elkaïm-Sartre, A., Kulka, J., & Sartre, J.-P. (2007). Existentialism is a humanism =: L' Existentialisme est un humanisme. New Haven: Yale University Press.

321 Words  1 Pages

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