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( 21 June 1905 – 15 April 1980) was a French philosopher, playwright, novelist, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the key figures in the philosophy of existentialism and phenomenology, and one of the leading figures in 20th-century French philosophy and Marxism.
His work has also influenced sociology, critical theory, post-colonial theory, and literary studies, and continues to influence these disciplines.
Sartre has also been noted for his open relationship with the prominent feminist theorist Simone de Beauvoir. Together, Sartre and de Beauvoir challenged the cultural and social assumptions and expectations of their upbringings, which they considered bourgeois, in both lifestyle and thought. The conflict between oppressive, spiritually destructive conformity (mauvaise foi, literally, bad faith) and an authentic way of being became the dominant theme of Sartres early work, a theme embodied in his principal philosophical work Being and Nothingness (LÊtre et le Néant, 1943). Sartres introduction to his philosophy is his work Existentialism and Humanism (Lexistentialisme est un humanisme, 1946), originally presented as a lecture.
He was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature but refused it, saying that he always declined official honours and that a writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution.
Jean-Paul Sartre was born in Paris as the only child of Jean-Baptiste Sartre, an officer of the French Navy, and Anne-Marie Schweitzer. His mother was of Alsatian origin and the first cousin of Nobel Prize laureate Albert Schweitzer. (Her father, Charles Schweitzer, was the older brother of Albert Schweitzers father, Louis Théophile.) When Sartre was two years old, his father died of a fever overseas. Anne-Marie moved back to her parents house in Meudon, where she raised Sartre with help from her father, a teacher of German who taught Sartre mathematics and introduced him to classical literature at a very early age. When he was twelve, Sartres mother remarried, and the family moved to La Rochelle, where he was frequently bullied.
As a teenager in the 1920s, Sartre became attracted to philosophy upon reading Henri Bergsons essay Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness. He attended the Cours Hattemer, a private school in Paris. He studied and earned certificates in psychology, history of philosophy, logic, general philosophy, ethics and sociology, and physics, as well as his diplôme détudes supérieures (fr) (roughly equivalent to an MA thesis) in Paris at the École Normale Supérieure, an institution of higher education that was the alma mater for several prominent French thinkers and intellectuals. (His 1928 MA thesis under the title LImage dans la vie psychologique: rôle et nature [Image in Psychological Life: Role and Nature] was directed by Henri Delacroix.) It was at ENS that Sartre began his lifelong, sometimes fractious, friendship with Raymond Aron. Perhaps the most decisive influence on Sartres philosophical development was his weekly attendance at Alexandre Kojèves seminars, which continued for a number of years.
From his first years in the École Normale, Sartre was one of its fiercest pranksters. In 1927, his antimilitarist satirical cartoon in the revue of the school, coauthored with Georges Canguilhem, particularly upset the director Gustave Lanson. In the same year, with his comrades Nizan, Larroutis, Baillou and Herland, he organized a media prank following Charles Lindberghs successful New York–Paris flight; Sartre and Co. called newspapers and informed them that Lindbergh was going to be awarded an honorary École degree. Many newspapers, including Le Petit Parisien, announced the event on 25 May. Thousands, including journalists and curious spectators, showed up, unaware that what they were witnessing was a stunt involving a Lindbergh look-alike. The publics resultant outcry[need quotation to verify] forced Lanson to resign.
Sartre 1967 crop.jpg
Sartre in 1967
Born Jean-Paul-Charles-Aymard Sartre
21 June 1905
Died 15 April 1980 (aged 74)
Alma mater École Normale Supérieure (BA/MA)
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Continental philosophy, Existentialism, Phenomenology, Existential phenomenology, Hermeneutics, Western Marxism (early), Anarchism (late)
Metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, consciousness, self-consciousness, literature, political philosophy, ontology
Bad faith, existence precedes essence, nothingness, Hell is other people, situation, every positional consciousness of an object is a non-positional consciousness of itself,