About Jean Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartres ( born June 21 1905, died April 15 1980 at age 74) was a French intellectual, best know for existentialism. However, he was also know as a playright and screenwriter, he was walso a political activist and he also did some literary criticism. He is now known as a leading figure in 20th century philosophy - examining subjects such as Existentialism and Marxism. His work is best know in the fields of Maxist-Leninist thought, Sociology, Critical Theory, and Literary Study. In so far as his personal life is concerned, he is best known for his open relationship with intellectual Simone De Beauvoir. Regarding accolades, he was offered the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1964 - he refused the honor. Some of the ideas he was best known for is the notion that 'existence precedes essence', the idea of 'bad faith' and nothingness.
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- About Sartre's life
- Sartre During WWII
- Old Age Legacy and Death
- Sartre's Conciousness of Self
- Notion of Knowing the Other
- Essence Before Existence
He was born in Paris, France, as the only child of Jean-Baptiste Sartre, who was a Naval Officer, and his wife Anne-Marie Schweitzer, who was a relation of Alber Schweitzer - a Nobel Prize Laureate himself. Sartre was introduced to classical liturature at an early age by his mother's, Anne-Marie's, father, who was a professor of German. When Sartre was 12, his mother remarried and they moved to Ra Rochelle, where Sartre endured bullying by his peers.
When he was teen, Sartre grew interested in philosophy when he read a essay by Henri Bergson called Immediate Data of Consciousness. He go his Ph.D in philosophy at École Normale Supérieure. It was here that Sartre began his friendship with Raymond Aron, which was turbulant throught it's durations.Sartre was influenced by many schools of thought ranging from modern philosophy such as Kant, Hegel, and Husserl but also other such as Kierkegaard and Heidegger. In 1929, at his university, encountered Simone de Beauvoir for the first time, who later became a noted intellectual and writer herself, most famous for her feminism. They were life long partners, although they were polyamorous; that is, intimate with multiple people. Sartre served in the French Army from 1929 - 1931. He argued later, in 1959, that all French citizens were responsible for the collective crimes during the Algerian Independance War.
Both Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir challenged the assumptions and the expectations of their privledged upbringings, which they thought as 'bourgeois'. The conflict between oppressive, spiritually destructive conformity - which was called 'bad faith'- and an "authentic" way of 'being' (as explained in being and nothingness) became the dominant theme of Sartre's early philosophical work.Sartre's introduction to his new philosophy was the publishing of 'Existentialism is a Humanism' in 1946, which originally presented as a lecture.
In 1939, Sartre was drafted into the French Military as a meteorologist.He was caught by German troops and spent 9 months as a POW. It was during this time of imprisonment, that he read Heidegger's Being and Time, which was later to become a major influencer on his own writing on the subject of phenomenological ontology. Because of bad health - he claimed that his bad eyesight and exotropia impacted his balance - Sartre was released in 1941. When he was given civilian status again, he got back his position as teacher at Lycée Pasteur.
After he came back to Paris 1941, he to part in the founding of the underground group 'Socialisme et Liberté' with other intellectuals including Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Toussaint Desanti Simone de Beauvoir, and several École Normale students. In August of that year, Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir went to the French Riviera looking to get the support of both André Gide as well as André Malraux. However, both Gide and Malraux felt unsure - this was likely the reason for disappointment and discouragement in some of Sartre's work. The group soon dissolved and Sartre decided to passively write instead of being involed in active resistance. He then wrote his book Being and Nothingness, also 'The Flies;, and the play 'No Exit'. None of these were censored by the Germans. They were also contributed to both legal and illegal literary magazines.
After August 1944, and afterthe Liberation of Paris, he wrote the contravertial 'Anti-Semite and Jew'. In this book he attempts to explain the cause of "hate" by analyzing antisemitism. Sartre contrbuted to 'Combat', a newspaper create by Albert Camus,another existentialist. Sartre and Simone Beauvoir stayed friends with Camus until about 1951, after Camus published his work called 'The Rebel'.
After the war ended Sartre established what called in French ;Les Temps Modernes' or 'Modern Times', which was a quarterly literary and political review periodical, he began writing full time as resuming political activism. He referred to his own war experiences for his trilogy of novels called The Roads to Freedom
The first part of Sartre's intellectual career, was mostly defined by his book 'Being and Nothingness', publishedi in 1943, which gave way to a second time in which he was a activist and overall intellectual. His 1948 book 'Dirty Hands'particularlly, explored the difficulty of being and intellectual and staying politically active. He liked Marxism but he did not choose to join the Communist Party and he took a big role in being against French rule in the african country of Algeria. Sartre also had a Algerian mistress named Arlette Elkaïm. She oddly later became his adopted daughter, in 1965.
His big work after 1955 was 'Critique de la raison dialectique' which translates as 'Critique of Dialectical Reason' appeared in 1960, A second volume was published after he died. In this text, Sartre set out to give Marxism better intellectual defense than it got up until that time; he ended by saying that Marx's idea of 'class; as being a objective entity or kind of thing was fallacious. Sartre's emphasis on the humanist values that appear in Marx;s early writings led a intellectual brawl with a leading leftist French intellectual of this time named Louis Althusser, who asserted that the notions of young Marx were later superseded by the more "scientific" system of the later Marx's writing.
Sartre took a trip to Cuba in the 1960s and met with Fidel Castro and spoke with Che Guevara. After Guevara's death, Sartre declared him, "not only an intellectual but also the most complete human being of our age". Sartre also complimented 'Che' Guevara by stating that, "he [Che] lived his words, spoke his own actions and his story and the story of the world ran parallel....."
During a hunger strike in the year 1974, Sartre paid a visit to 'Red Army Faction' leader Andreas Baader at the Stammheim Prison and criticized the bad conditions there.
In 1964, an older Sartre turned his back on literature a short autobiography of his early life called (in French) Les mots, meaning translated as Words. I was a ironic counterballast to another intellectual, famous for In Search of Lost Time, Marcel Proust, who suddenly became popular. Literature, Sartre said, acted ultimately like a bourgeois substitute for what it means to have a 'real commitment' in the world. In October 1964, Sartre declined the Nobel Prize for Litureture. He was the first to do this.
Though his name was then very well know, just a the word existentialism was during the 1960s, Sartre remained a simple person with not many possessions, he was very active and committed to many causes until the time of his death.
Sartre died on April 15th in 1980, in Paris France, from and edema of his lung.When he dies a two hour march was held, with attendees between from 15,000 - 50,000.
For those seeking to understand the the ground of Jean Paul Sartre's existentialism it can be understood by the text "Transcendence of the Ego" in this book he claims the 'thing-in-itself' is infinite and that it is overflowing, however it is unknowable. Any attempt explain it is reflective consciousness. It follows from this that any attempt we make at gaining any kind of self-knowledge is what is called a construct which is doomed to fail no matter how often tried. Consciousness, according to Sartre, is the consciousness of the "itself" insofar, and only insofar as it is tje consciousness of a "transcendent object".
This same concept is true when trying to gain knowledge about what Sartre Calls the "Other", which are other people . The Other is a also what Sarte thinks of as a construct and a part of reflective consciousness. It is an volitional entity and one must be careful to know this more as a kind of warning than being a kind of ontological assertion. It should however be noted that here is a implication of solipsism (that nothing can be known). Sartre challanges using a type of ritual. Self consciousness according to him does need the Other to prove - otherwise stated as to display - its own very existence. the self has what he calls a 'masochistic desire' to be constrained orlimited - limited by a "reflective consciousness" of the 'other, otherwise said by 'another subject'. This is expressed metaphorically in his play called No Exit when he says that, 'Hell is other people.'
One of his main claims is that we are , just as part of being human, "condemned to be free.(being and nothingness). His theory relies on Sartre;s belief that there is no god, and is formed by use of example about a paper knife. Sartre says that if someone thinks of a paper knife, they would assume that god has plan for it, that it has an 'essence'. According to Sartre, human beings have no "essence" before their existence because no god exists. Therefore his famous quote goes: "existence precedes essence". This makes for the for the base of his claim that since no one can explain their actions nor their behaviour by referring to human nature, they are "necessarily" compeletely responsible for all of their actions. Sartres famous quote for this is that, "We are left alone, without excuse...".