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Translation of Sartre's L'Etre et La Neant

  1. Feb 23, 2009 #1
    I just started reading a translation of Sartre's L'Etre et La Neant (Being and Nothingness). I have to read it in order to full analyse Huis Clos (No Exit) also by Sartre. It's all for a ridiculous senior paper in English (HS).

    Basically, from what I've read so far in Being and Nothingness, I really don't understand where Sartre's theory of existentialism differs from other philosophers' definitions.

    So can anyone help me with Sartre's belief or definition of existentialism?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 23, 2009 #2
    Re: Sartre...Really?

    Which philosophers are you comparing? There are some pretty big differences.

    If you just want quick answers, reading his "Existentialism Is a Humanism" is a much better place to start.
  4. Feb 23, 2009 #3
    Re: Sartre...Really?

    Sartre observed that we posess 'radical freedom', that is, we have many more choices availible to us then we normally consider. Sartre emphasized that not being aware of our many choices, or procrastinating a choice, would be "acting in bad faith."

    My favorite part is about nothingness in-itself, which Sartre describes with a short story about a man going to meet a friend at the tavern and taking a long walk down bar and passing face after face until arriving at the last seat at the end of the bar which was empty, no friend.

    I agree that reading Sartre in high school is ridiculous!
  5. Feb 24, 2009 #4
    Re: Sartre...Really?

    I read works by Sartre and Camus in HS (including Huis clos). They were boring.
  6. Feb 24, 2009 #5
    Re: Sartre...Really?

    I've read L'Etranger (The Stanger) and Huis Clos (No Exit) both in French. I've also read The Stranger in English. I don't find it that boring, but Being and Nothingness is sooooo long.
    Plus, my teacher has a degree is philosophy, so I really can't BS my way through this.

    To JoeDawg, I meant Sartre's definition or belief compared to the dictionary definition. My mistake.

    Thanks for the answers guys.
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