Jean Paul Sartre

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Jean Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) was one of several popularizers of the philosophy of existentialism. Sartre's version of existentialism (different in minor components from those of his contemporaries, and modern existentialists) taught (consistent with his atheism) that life has no external meaning at all and that the moral obligation of every person was to find or define subjective meaning of their own life (lest life be altogether meaningless).[1] Sartre did not solve the issue of the absence of objective meaning under an atheist worldview (see: Atheism and meaninglessness).[2]

The term 'existentialism' itself was popularized by many other individuals, but resisted by Sartre himself. Sartre was also a Communist, and was known to be in bed with the KGB,[3] although he himself viewed his motives and beliefs as closer to anarchism. He was also responsible for the claim that the executed Bolivian Marxist revolutionary/terrorist, Ernesto "Che" Guevara, was "the most complete human being of our time," as well as ensuring that French communist/terrorist and fellow member of Guevara's cadre, Régis Debray, was released from his prison sentence 27 years early (having earlier been sentenced to thirty years in prison).[3] In addition, he also gave advice to the Algerian Frantz Fanon during the Algerian War for Independence, and wrote in his preface to Fanon's 1961 book Les Damnes de la terre ("The Wretched of the Earth") that for a Black man ""to shoot down an European is to kill two birds with one stone, to destroy an oppressor and the man he oppresses at the same time.", which had been an update of Existentialism to include self-liberation through murder. He also implied that "for [Sartre], the essential problem is to reject the theory according to which the left ought not to answer violence with violence."[4] This also led him to be responsible for the various terrorist acts in Africa during the 1960s to the present, including the genocidal policies of Africans onto other Africans. Similarly, he also had an influence on the Cambodian Revolution and the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror, especially the crimes conducted by the Khmer Rouge's ruling class, the Angka Leu ("The Higher Organization), all of whom studied under Sartre as Communist Party members during the 1950s.

He also spent a lot of his time seducing several females into having sex with him, betraying Simone de Beauvoir constantly. Each time he got older, his females got younger in age. His practices were well known enough that Robert Francis, during a hostile criticism of Huis clos, wrote "We all know Monsieur Sartre. He is an odd philosophy teacher who has specialized in the study of his students' underwear."[5]

Sartre published a number of philosophical works including:

Sartre also wrote a number of works of fiction based on his philosophical ideas, these include:

In fact, Sartre’s writing was so well received that, in 1964, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, which he declined.[6]

Sartre fought in the French resistance in World War II for a brief period and worked on an underground French paper of the time. However, his activities were only very brief, and otherwise did his own actions during that time, including several plays. After France was Liberated, Sartre mentioned that France had been "more free" under Nazi control.

Towards the end of his life he expressed sympathy with the terrorists who kidnapped and killed Israelis during the 1972 Olympics, asserting that it was “perfectly scandalous” how the French press criticized the terrorism. He described terrorism as “a terrible weapon, but the oppressed poor have no others”.

He died on April 15, 1980 in Paris, France.


  1. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy[1]
  2. 3.0 3.1
  3. Interview in France-Observateur, 1 February 1962.
  4. Quoted in Cohen-Solal, p. 213
  5. List of Nobel Prize laureates for litrature[2]

See also

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