On 'Existentialism Is Humanism' By Sartre

2532 words, 11 pages

Intro Sample...


Radical freedom means that man is free to choose anything. And because man is free he is fully responsible for his actions.

We should note that Sartre believes that man’s choices are not influenced by anything external or internal. He states: “…I can neither seek within myself for an authentic impulse to action, nor can I expect, from some ethic, formulae that will enable me to act” (EH pp. 364). According to Sartre one cannot seek the impulse to action within himself because one would have no feelings about any action before acting it. Nor can one seek impulse to action from an ethic formula (external) because such an ethic formula would have no value to you before you act, since your actions determine your values (you have to either accept or reject that value, and so are responsible for your choice). From this we can see that according to Sartre “radical freedom” means that there is no determinism, nothing can influence your decision.

I am sure that most people would agree that in order for any moral system to work two things are necessary: (1) Man has to be responsible for his own actions, and (2) there should be some universal standard against which these actions can be judged. So far we have established that man is a free agent and as such is responsible for all his actions, but we have also established that there are no universal moral values. Now this presents us with a problem: according to Sartre’s account of morality we are responsible for our actions but there are no universal moral values to judge these actions as either good or bad; man was not created according to a divine plan and therefore has no predefined purpose, no predetermined “proper” way to live his life. That is, man decides for himself how he should live his life and so, according to Sartre, man invents his moral values. But as we have previously stated morality should be base View More »

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