Central Claim: EXISTENCE PRECEDES ESSENCE
We have no predetermined nature or essence
We are radically free to act
We create our own human nature through free choice
We create our values through free choices
Tradition View: Essence Precedes Existence
We have a given nature that determines what we are and what our ultimate purpose or value is.
We are analogous to artifacts, made with a preexisting idea or concept of what we will be and what we will
be good for.
Our nature and our value come from the outside.
Essence ▯ act of making or creating ▯ Existence
Existentialism: Existence Precedes Essence
There is no God; there is no “Meaning of Life”
There is no external source of value
We have no predetermined essence or nature
We create out own essence by our free actions
Existence ▯ act of free selfcreation ▯ Essence
The Human Condition:
We find ourselves in a world not of our own making and indifferent to our concerns.
We are thrown into a world we don’t control and didn’t choose.
Nothing outside of us can determine what we are and what we are good for. We must do it ourselves, from the inside.
Living inBad Faith
Attempt to live as if you aren’t free
Attempt to live as if you are determined by your nature
There is no external source of value.
We are responsible for choosing our nature and values.
We must face the awesome responsibility of choosing human nature and values for all men.
Options are restricted, but we are free to put these elements together into a unified whole.
We are condemned to be free.
For Sartre, the human condition is:
Forlornness at the loss of external values or determinants of our nature; realization that there is no God.
Anguish at the awareness of our own freedom, and the responsibility to create human nature ourselves.
Despair of selfreliance and our lack of control over circumstances.
“Life has no meaning a priori… It is up to you to give it