Essay on Existentialism And Humanism : Sartre

1650 Words Dec 3rd, 2016 7 Pages
In Existentialism & Humanism (1948), Sartre states that man is completely free, and is entirely responsible for himself and mankind. According to Sartre, a man who tries to deny this freedom and ‘who takes refuge behind the excuse of his passions, or by inventing some deterministic doctrine, is a self-deceiver’ (p. 60) In this essay, I will discuss this claim. I will begin by explaining this idea of complete freedom and responsibility in more detail, and why the anguish it entails leads us to be self-deceivers. I will then move on to show why Sartre’s claim that man is responsible for all of mankind does not hold, before explaining why this is perhaps meant as a moral philosophy that Sartre wants us to adopt. Indeed, I will show that whilst we do not have as much responsibility as Sartre says, we still have freedom of choice, and our choices do affect mankind to some degree. Sartre’s argument is not without flaws, but his claim about self-deception still seems secure.
At first glance, it is not clear why we would try to avoid our freedom, but Sartre explains that the responsibility that comes with this freedom leads to anguish, and it is this anxiety that people want to avoid. We are completely responsible for ourselves, which means that I cannot blame anyone but myself for my choices or their outcome. Not only that, but Sartre also says that not only is man responsible for his own life and choices, he is also responsible for all of mankind: with every choice he makes, he is…

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