Consequences of Radical Freedom on the Way We Should Live Our Lives in Reference to Sartre – Literature review Example

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The paper “ Consequences of Radical Freedom on the Way We Should Live Our Lives in Reference to Sartre“ is a dramatic variant of literature review on philosophy. Sartre (1946) argues that there is no specific human nature universal to everybody since there is no God to provide the human nature and that the “ essence” of being human develops after an individual’ s existence. Accordingly, human beings must develop, define and make a decision regarding their nature by engaging themselves, their society as well as the natural world surrounding them. He further argues that each human being’ s nature depends on each specific individual; this radical freedom has an equivalent radical responsibility.

Therefore, a person can not blame their “ nature” for some behaviors due to the radical responsibility that comes with radical freedom. Whatever an individual is or does entirely depends on their own choice and obligations as well and hence as a human being one has no one to fault or praise apart from him/herself. Sartre (1946) also notes that human beings are members of societies and of the human race and even though there might not be a common human nature, there is a universal human condition; as human beings, we live within human society, facing similar sorts of decisions. Every time we make decisions regarding our actions and make commitments on how we should live our lives, we are also deciding our behavior and this commitment is valuable to human beings; this means that is spite of the fact that there is no objective authority directing us on how we should conduct ourselves, this is still something that others ought to decide and choose (Gutting 2001).

Therefore, apart from our choices affecting us, they also have an effect on other people. As a result, a person is not just responsible for him/her self, but also bears some responsibility for other people, for what they choose and their actions too. One would be deceiving himself to make a choice and at the same time with another person should not make a similar choice. As human beings, accepting some responsibility for other people after our lead is the sole option (Sartre 1946). According to Sartre, humans do not have the freedom of choice if they are free or not because they are basically free.

We can be free since our total individualism separates our real selves from deciding external influence because we have a choice of rebelling against external influence. Additionally, even if external influences determine the raw materials making up our experience, we have the freedom of putting these rudiments together in one piece; as human beings, we are expected to renew ourselves every moment and what we are free to make ourselves what we want.

The self in its subjectivity is radically free (Sartre 1946). Therefore, our freedom is synthesis freedom; freedom of pulling ourselves together into the form of the articulate whole that we wish ourselves to be. Although we do not determine the raw materials that make us, the decision of what one makes himself from the raw materials entirely depends on him. As human beings, the external world cannot determine what we become or how we act. The consequence of freedom is the requirement to pull ourselves together always out of the numerous diverse influences that affect us from the environment, our society as well as from our own bodies (Stewart 2011).

Thus, we have the responsibility of making ourselves, pulling ourselves together and making every effort to become what we want/desire.


Emmy, D., 2010, Everyday Mysteries: a Handbook of Existential Psychotherapy, Routledge, London.

Gordon, M., 2004, Basic Writings of Existentialism, Modern Library, New York.

Gutting, G., 2001, French Philosophy in the Twentieth Century, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Luper, S., 2000, Existing: An Introduction to Existential Thought, Mayfield, California.

Macann, C., 1993, Four Phenomenological Philosophers. Routledge, London.

Robert, S., 2005, Existentialism, Oxford University Press, New York.

Sartre, J.P, 1984, Being and Nothingness, Washington Square Press, New York.

Sartre, J.P, 1946, Existentialism Is a Humanism, World Publishing Company, New York.

Stewart, J., 2011, Kierkegaard, and Existentialism, Ashgate, England.

Webber, J., 2009, The Existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre, Routledge, Madison Ave, New York.

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