What Is Sartre’s 1st Principle of Existentialism?


Diego Sanchez

Existentialism is a philosophical movement that emerged in the 20th century and focuses on the individual’s experience of existence. Jean-Paul Sartre, a prominent French philosopher, contributed significantly to this movement.

Sartre’s existentialist philosophy revolves around the idea that individuals are entirely free and responsible for their actions and decisions. According to Sartre, existence precedes essence – meaning that we exist first, and then we create our essence through our choices.

Sartre’s philosophy is based on three fundamental principles of existentialism. The first principle of existentialism is that “existence precedes essence.” This concept suggests that individuals are not born with predetermined natures or purposes but instead create their essence through their actions and choices.

To understand this principle better, let’s take an example of a chair. A chair has a specific purpose or essence – to provide support for sitting.

However, this is not the case with human beings. We are not born with a predetermined purpose or nature. Instead, we create our purpose or nature through our experiences and choices.

This principle also implies that human beings have complete freedom over their lives because they are not bound by any predetermined essence or nature.

Sartre believed that this freedom comes with immense responsibility since every decision we make creates a new reality for ourselves and others around us. We cannot deny our freedom by blaming external factors such as fate or circumstances because ultimately, we are responsible for our actions and decisions.

To summarize, Sartre’s 1st Principle of Existentialism asserts that individuals create their own essence through their actions and choices since existence precedes essence. This principle highlights the importance of individual freedom and responsibility in creating one’s own reality.

In conclusion, Sartre’s philosophy provides an insightful perspective on human existence by emphasizing individual freedom and responsibility. This first principle of existentialism reminds us of the power we hold in shaping our lives and encourages us to take responsibility for our actions and choices.