Jean Paul Sartre – Existentialist
Peter T. Buffington

Jean Paul Sartre was a well known French philosopher who lived from 1905-1980.  His thought was influenced heavily by philosophers Heidigger and Husserl.  He became one of the early proponents of existentialism, which emphasizes among other things, the ultimacy of human freedom.  He considered himself an atheist existentialist (as opposed to a Christian existentialist) and eventually included Marxism and humanism in his philosophy.  One of his benchmark works, “Existence Precedes Essence,” explains his views that there is no cosmic designer.  He explores the possibility of “moral collapse” if, as he proposes, there is no essence to human nature.

This is a well-organized page on existential philosophy.  Included are essays on existentialism, general philosophy, and philosophical discourse.  The page also contains an introduction to the philosophy and writing of atheist existentialist Jean Paul Sartre.

2.)  Jean Paul Sartre   (
“Everything is permissible if God doesn’t exist.”  Quotes like this that capture the essence of the philosophies of Sartre is interspersed among summaries, random passages, essays, and reviews from and on Sartre.

3.)  Sartre: 'Existence precedes Essence'   (
Sartre’s essay “Existence Precedes Essence” provides insight into the thought life of Sartre.  The title is explained in detail – “if there is no cosmic designer, then there is no design or essence of human nature.”  Sartre explores the implication of such thought in this influential essay.

A straightforward, brief page that has the basics – what every good Sartre page should have: biography, related works, and a link to another Sartre page.

5.)   Jean-Paul Sartre   (
After a short background on Sartre’s life, this page provides an introduction to two philosophers that influenced Sartre – Husserl and Heidigger.  It also provides an outline for Sartre’s argument that “Existentialism is Humanism.”  He says that “we define ourselves” and reiterates that “existence precedes essence.”

An aesthetically pleasing page that is about half French and half English, this page delights with the purple and orange color.  The 250 or so word summary tells of Sartre’s life and his contribution to philosophic thought.  The page also has a biography and a collection of well done images.

7.)   Existentialism (
This page discusses major themes and explores definitions of existentialist terms such as: moral individualism, subjectivity, choice and commitment, dread and anxiety.  It also reviews major proponents of existentialism.  The page presents Sartre and comments on his conflation of Marxism, humanism, and existentialism.

8.)  Jean-Paul Sartre  (
The creator of this page thinks Sartre’s philosophical writing is “dull,” but enjoys his plays because they present his ideas with irony and humor.  He reviews six of Sartre’s plays, including Le Diable et le Bon Dieu.

9.)  Sartre vs. Nietzsche: Will To Power, Platonism, and Pessimism  (
This page presents an interesting article comparing philosophers Nietzche and Sartre.

This page looks at Sartre’s views on social issues, particularly focusing on his views of race relations.

Return to class readings page:  Kinesiology 493: Philosophy of Kinesiology