Sartre, Jean-Paul

(1905–1980)
   The prolific, erudite Jean-Paul Sartre significantly influenced the spheres of 20th-century philosophy, politics and literature. The Parisian began his intellectual life at the select École Normale Supérieure, and in 1929 he graduated with a doctorate in philosophy. While serving as an army meteorologist in World War II, Sartre was captured by the Germans but released due to ill health in 1941. He was able to flee to Paris and become a key actor in the French Resistance, helping to found the ephemeral group Socialisme et Liberté. In the period following Allied victory, Sartre became increasingly politicized and by 1957 considered himself a Marxist. He was involved in the foundation of the Rassemblement Démocratique Révolutionnaire, a group which aimed to cross all political lines and appeal to the consciousness of every individual. Sartre advocated communism but never joined the French Communist Party (PCF). Nevertheless, he stayed close to the organization until 1968, finally breaking with it in that year after having become disillusioned with its pro-Soviet stance on events in Hungary in 1956, its role in the Algerian war of liberation, and what he perceived to be its betrayal of the Paris May Revolution (Sartre felt the PCF had aided the restabilizing of the ruling establishment at a time when it was suffering an acute crisis).
   Following this break Sartre associated with a number of minor Maoist “groupscules,” and edited the government-banned La Cause du Peuple journal. Throughout this time, he was a committed human rights and peace activist, condemning Soviet concentration camps, in his 1952 work The Communists and Peace and protesting vehemently against the Rosenberg executions. He also signed a manifesto opposing the Cold War, and attended the 1954 World Council for Peace meeting in Berlin. Sartre was unflinching in his criticisms of Soviet foreign policy, attacking the invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
   Sartre was concerned with marrying existentialist ideas of self-determinism with communist principles holding that socio-economic influences beyond individual control determine human existence, for example in his essay Between Existentialism and Marxism (1972). The existential theme of Sartre’s La Nausée (1938), in placing a stress on the power of unconscious things over living beings, echoed Karl Marx’s concept of commodity fetishism, the criticism of the hold commodities exert on humans. Sartre used his Search for a Method (1963) and Critique of Dialectical Reason (1976) to promote a popular, politically activist existentialism and assert that only dialectical, and not analytical, reason can be used to understand the project of human history. Every member of a society, despite the contradictions and vicissitudes throughout the progress of history, has total responsibility for the rest of mankind, and so the course of that history is ultimately rational. It is questionable whether the key existential tenets of free will, individuality and the meaninglessness of life can be reconciled with the determinism, collectivism and teleological strands of Marxism. For some the Critique of Dialectical Reason represents a critique of Marxism itself, but Sartre saw himself as engaged in a Marxist theoretical project drawing on Marx rather than the vulgarized ideology of later Marxists.

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sartre, Jean-Paul — Jean Paul Sartre [ʒɑ̃ˈpɔl saʀtʀ] (* 21. Juni 1905 in Paris; † 15. April 1980 ebenda; vollständiger Name Jean Paul Charles Aymard Sartre) war ein französischer Schriftsteller und Philosoph. Der politisch engagierte Verfasser zahlreicher Romane,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sartre, Jean-Paul — born June 21, 1905, Paris, France died April 15, 1980, Paris French philosopher, novelist, and playwright, the foremost exponent of existentialism. He studied at the Sorbonne, where he met Simone de Beauvoir, who became his lifelong companion and …   Universalium

  • Sartre, Jean-Paul — (1905 1980)    philosopher, writer, critic    The leading exponent of existentialism, Jean Paul Sartre was born in Paris to a liberal Protestant bourgeois family and was raised by his mother and grandfather, a relative of albert schweitzer. Early …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Sartre, Jean-Paul — (1905–80)    Philosopher.    Sartre was born in Paris. He was a nephew of Albert schweitzer. He was educated in Paris and Berlin and it was there that he discovered German philosophy, particularly the works of hegel, heidegger and Husserl. With… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Sartre, Jean-Paul — ► (1905 80) Escritor francés. Popularizó en forma peculiar la doctrina existencialista, a través de novelas (La náusea, 1938; Los caminos de la libertad, 1945 49) y dramas, en los que demuestra una gran habilidad en el manejo de los recursos… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Sartre,Jean Paul — Sar·tre (särʹtrə, särt), Jean Paul. 1905 1980. French writer and philosopher. A leading existentialist, he wrote literary works, such as the autobiographical novel Nausea (1938) and the play No Exit (1944), and philosophical volumes that include… …   Universalium

  • Sartre, Jean-Paul — (1905–1980) French philosopher, novelist, and dominant French intellectual of his time. Sartre was born in Paris and educated at the École Normale Supérieure. From 1933 he studied in Germany with Husserl and Heidegger . His first novel, La Nausée …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Sartre, Jean-Paul — (1905 80)    The leading philosopher of existentialism and in some ways the leading atheist of the twentieth century, Sartre did at least recognise that his atheism was just as much of a philosophical position as another s theism. In his earlier… …   Christian Philosophy

  • Sartre, Jean-Paul — See Existence (Philosophy of) 2 …   History of philosophy

  • Sartre, Jean-Paul — (1905 80) A French existentialist writer and philosopher who attempted to develop a humanist critique of and philosophical foundation for Marxism . His most accessible work of interest to the social sciences is The Problem of Method (1957) but… …   Dictionary of sociology

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