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Do You Think That Sartre Is Correct to Think That Human Subjects Are Radically Free?

Autor:   •  May 6, 2013  •  Essay  •  1,398 Words (6 Pages)  •  569 Views

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Do you think that Sartre is correct to think that human subjects are radically free? Give reasons to support your view.

Sartre’s theory of existentialism contended that human subjects are radically free. Existentialists, like Sartre, believed that existence preceded essence; the awareness of consciousness preceded the construction of human essence. It is in this sense that humans are first conscious of their existence and therefore are conscious to create their essence through choice and action. Thus, the existentialist paradigm is apparent in its humanistic perspective that human subjects are radically free. The human situation of radical freedom is highlighted by anxiety, despair and facticity and our awareness of it. Given this, it is possible to believe that human subjects are radically free due to their nature to transcend and become architects of their own fate in any given situation. However, the view that human subjects are radically free has also come under much criticism, many of which argue that there are limits to the conception of freedom. On closer inspection, it is interpreted that radical freedom is not about doing what you want and desire, but rather, is simply having the ability and awareness to choose.

Sartre rejects the deterministic idea of the external creation of the human essence. In Being and Nothingness, he describes that man is nothing but what he makes himself to be in which his actions is an annihilation of nothingness, where freedom is the requisite . Therefore, man uses his own discretion or free choice to make decisions where he is held responsible for the consequences of his actions. But in choosing man, Sartre also implies that he is also choosing for mankind and is inevitably responsible for all men, becoming a model for others . Many would question Sartre’s stance individual freedom; critics would simply claim that it is paradoxical. How can we be free to choose for ourselves if we are limited by the responsibility to mankind? As general examples, a person is restricted from doing this that will disturb his surroundings. Another is refrained from doing things due to the imposition of man-made laws and those who enforce it. Arguments like these that refute claims of freedom seem to be stemmed from the idea that our lives are dictated and controlled by a hierarchy of a higher power than the self.

These arguments are also indicative of short term gratifications of one directional interest. Part of being aware of the self is also being aware of the surroundings in which it exists, and the responsibility of the self is also inherent to the responsibilities of its surroundings because values of humankind come from within. The self is responsible for choosing its own nature, and in doing so chooses for mankind. One could see responsibility of the self and of mankind as a dualism of freedom, rather than responsibility being a cause-and-effect


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