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 the meaning of their own life (lest life be altogether meaningless).[1] The term 'existentialism' itself was popularized by many other individuals, but resisted by Sartre himself.

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.[2]

Sartre fought in the French resistance in World War II and worked on an underground French paper of the time.

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. List of Nobel Prize laureates for litrature[2]