Document: S.U. Zuidema, Modern Thinkers: Sartre, trans. Dirk Jellema (Nutley, NJ.: Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Co., 1978).
Excerpt: The philosophical thought of Jean-Paul Sartre concerns itself fundamentally with the nature of man. Sartre is interested above all in an accurate portrayal of man, and in the morality which results from such an accurate picture. Sartre’s view of man has as its central point his idea of human freedom. He sees this as a freedom which includes autonomy, self-creation, the creation of values, norms and laws; a freedom which can thus be characterized as man’s sovereign self-government and self-rule.
The problem which dominates Sartre’s thought, just as it dominates the thought of other existentialists such as Heidegger and Jaspers, is that of delineating the unique way in which man “is.” And this is all the more so because Sartre (like his teacher, Heidegger) regards the “being” of man as different from the “being” of everything non-human. He holds that human “being” (which he identifies with human consciousness) is characterized by this: that man’s “being” or mode of being, his existence, is always in question, is uncertain, is “in Frage.” The being of man is thus not so much a possession as a task; not so much a being as a coming; not so much a definition as a question; it is a constant surprise rather than a constant “nature,” an adventure rather than a datum.
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Modern Thinkers: Sartre – S.U. Zuidema.pdf