Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980) was a prolific author who, in addition to a comparatively large output of philosophy, also wrote novels, plays, literary criticism and an autobiography. He studied at the École Normale Superieure in Paris, and like many French graduates he taught for a time in high school. In 1933 he went to Berlin, where he came under the influence of Husserl. During the early part of the second world war he read Heidegger’s Being and Time. His work was influenced by both these philosophers, and by Marx, and Nietzsche, and, negatively, by Freud. Sartre’s interest in abstract questions about objective reality is nearly always combined with puzzlings about human freedom and the nature of morality. This comes about because his theory of consciousness, according to which all human beings are “existentially” free to construct their own lives and personalities, clashes with his Marxism, leading to the following dilemma: How, if at all, can one choose between political commitment and existential freedom?


Abstract Question Prolific Author Unconscious Mind Pure Reflection Twentieth Century Philosopher 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jenny Teichman

There are no affiliations available

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