Man: Existentiam of Jean Paul Sartre by dr. Chandra Rekha Sale -14%

Man: Existentialism of Jean Paul Sartre

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Man: Existentialism of Jean Paul Sartre
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The book is about the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre, who is the author of the famous existential dictum that "Existence precedes Essence". He explains a man ontologically as enclosed subjectivity, who finds himself alone in the world as he is not able to understand other subjectivities and is surrounded by objects. With an open and blank future, he realizes his absolute freedom and tries to explore his possibilities in relation to an outer alien world. With limitations of capabilities, man goes on to become the centre of this universe and the strongest individual. This man aspires to become God. In this way, every man aspires to become a god in the form of completeness. In the world of subjectivities where the earth becomes full of gods; in the material realization of possibilities, man's aspirations face scarcity, terror and objectification of subjectivity. Sartre is an atheist philosopher in the sense that man alone decides about his life as God never turns up on the scene, thus the philosopher says that Man is condemned to be free.


"Once the liberty has exploded in the soul of a man, the Gods can do nothing against that man. It is a matter for men to handle amongst themselves, and it is up to other men - and to them alone - to let him flee or to destroy him." -Jean-Paul Sartre

About the Author

Dr. Chandra Rekha, Ph, D. has taught as a research scholar in Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, Haryana and P.G. Govt. College, Sector 46, Chandigarh, Haryana.


Philosophy in general and existentialism in. particular, is not just an academic study but also a mode of thought and action. Existentialism is an attitude and outlook that emphasizes human existence that is, the distinctive qualities of individual persons rather than men in abstract or nature and the world in general. Any person who leads his life with a subjective approach to every matter of life and believes in the freedom and capacity of man to choose, decide and influence his own as well as the life of others by his decision is an existentialist. Faith in oneself is the main feature of an existentialist.

Existentialism is in favour of individual subjectivity, introspection and feeling. As it elaborates on the freedom of man to set the course of his life with his choice and responsibility, it brings down the importance of determinism and encourages action in human life.

The rise of Existentialism is attributed to the destruction and human desolation attending the two world wars and the anxieties that stem from the continuing unrest in both world and domestic social failures but it is also an expression of the psychological and moral tensions that hold the individual in their grip in any age in any society.

At the opposite end from logical positivism with its emphasis on sensory empiricism, objectivity, logic and science; existentialism has been a reaction in favour of individualism, subjectivity, introspection and feeling. It is a philosophy not of things but of human situations. Idealism is an objection to the liberal doctrines of optimism and progress. As a champion of the concrete against the abstract, of life as opposed to logic, of the non-intellectual and irrational in contrast to intellectualism and of freedom as against mechanism and determinism. The roots of existentialism are very deep, taking us back to the days of Socrates, St. Paul, St. Augustine and Pascal. But in modern times it is grounded in the psychology of Kierkegaard, the philosophy of Nietzsche and the method and ontology of the phenomenologist Husserl. There is no single existentialist position. The philosophy varies with its proponents, but there is a common fund of doctrine that identifies them, nevertheless and indicates quite clearly their relation to the classical philosophic tradition. Their major and differentiating, thesis is the metaphysical pronouncement that "existence is prior to essence"; while in the established tradition "essence is prior to existence". It means for existentialism:, that human nature is determined by the course of life, rather than life by human nature.

In its theistic form, existentialism has been an important factor in the Neo-orthodox awakening that has marked theology since the First World War. Its emphasis on the negative qualities of man, on human estrangement and the tragedy of human existence, have supported the dogma of ‘original sin’ and the entire structure of eschatological, theology, secular or more often called, atheistic. Existentialism has been popularized especially since the Second World War by numerous expressions in fiction, drama and poetry, particularly by its French partisans under the leadership of Jean-Paul Sartre. In its technical formulations, recent existentialism is largely a German product, its foremost representatives being Paul Tillich, Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger. Existentialism is not a school of thought but a branch of philosophy. In different times when different tried to free themselves from established dogmas, rituals, and rules and tried to assert the freedom of man to accept or reject anything, existentialism was born, It does not have set rules, as it is a way to look at something according to individual approach.


For time immemorial man has been a mystery to the man. Many great minds have tried to find out the answers to all the questions pertaining to this mystery. Men tried it on the bases of scientific discoveries, natural phenomena or on the bases of their creative minds in the shape of religions, but everywhere we find that the key to the talisman does not lie in the outer world but in the ‘inner depths of men. The Discovery of this depth leads to one discipline known as philosophy. It is a philosophy which rules every big or small effort as it evaluates every effort in the end and brings forth the results. Philosophy holds everything from the top. In short, we can say that philosophy is the beginning and the end of every kind of study and knowledge. Every person finds himself alone on this earth, despite all the relations, friends, surroundings and crowds of the world. There is no door to enter inside the mind of another person. This enclosed world of man is called the subjectivity of a man.

Existentialism is such a philosophical discipline which sorts out the mystery of man on the bases of this subjectivity and on the bases of all the concepts which come out of it. It has been blamed on the existentialists that their writings bear the mark of personal experience but this fact has been misunderstood. The right point of view would be that they find their results from within, from a man, and they have universal application because even after a long duration of time, every person feels in these philosophers’ work glimpses from their own secret subjectivity. This penetrating power of these philosophers’ intelligence makes existentialism a widely read philosophy. The choice of Jean-Paul Sartre for this book is influenced by the fact that his philosophy does not deal with a limited number of readers for typical philosophical topics but everyman will be benefitted as his philosophy presents a lifestyle, strength of mind and open horizon of unlimited possibilities. Jean-Paul Sartre is a proponent of modern existentialism who explained his theory on atheistic bases. But it was not just a point of view; we meet in his works a great logical mind, a widely read person and extraordinary intelligence. In short, we can say we find in him a great writer of the twentieth century.

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