Existentialism Is a Humanism

by

Jean-Paul Sartre

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Existentialism Is a Humanism can help.

Abandonment Term Analysis

“Abandonment” is Sartre’s term describing the fact that people are “condemned to be free.” Without objective moral laws from God or another authoritative source, people cannot avoid moral responsibility for all their choices, including the choice to do nothing.

Abandonment Quotes in Existentialism Is a Humanism

The Existentialism Is a Humanism quotes below are all either spoken by Abandonment or refer to Abandonment. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Existence, Essence and the Human Condition Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Yale University Press edition of Existentialism Is a Humanism published in 2007.
Existentialism Is a Humanism Quotes

Dostoyevsky once wrote: “If God does not exist, everything is permissible.” This is the starting point of existentialism. Indeed, everything is permissible if God does not exist, and man is consequently abandoned, for he cannot find anything to rely on—neither within nor without.

Related Characters: Jean-Paul Sartre (speaker), The Christian Existentialists, God
Page Number: 28-9
Explanation and Analysis:

If someone were to ask me: “What if I want to be in bad faith?” I would reply, “There is no reason why you should not be, but I declare that you are, and that a strictly consistent attitude alone demonstrates good faith.” What is more, I am able to bring a moral judgment to bear. When I affirm that freedom, under any concrete circumstance, can have no other aim than itself, and once a man realizes, in his state of abandonment, that it is he who imposes values, he can will but one thing: freedom as the foundation of all values.

That does not mean that he wills it in the abstract; it simply means that the ultimate significance of the actions of men of good faith is the quest of freedom in itself.

Related Characters: Sartre’s Audience at the Club Maintenant (speaker)
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Existentialism Is a Humanism LitChart as a printable PDF.
Existentialism Is a Humanism PDF

Abandonment Term Timeline in Existentialism Is a Humanism

The timeline below shows where the term Abandonment appears in Existentialism Is a Humanism. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Existentialism Is a Humanism
Existence, Essence and the Human Condition Theme Icon
Radical Freedom, Choice, and Responsibility Theme Icon
...overcome this condition of subjectivity. Sartre says that he will next clarify three concepts: anguish, abandonment, and despair. (full context)
Abandonment and Atheism Theme Icon
Radical Freedom, Choice, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Existentialism and Its Critics Theme Icon
Sartre moves on to abandonment, by which he means simply the fact “that God does not exist, and that we... (full context)
Abandonment and Atheism Theme Icon
Radical Freedom, Choice, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Existentialism and Its Critics Theme Icon
...moral values that one has, in fact, freely chosen. Once people realize the fact of abandonment, Sartre suggests, there is only one path: recognizing “freedom as the foundation of all values.”... (full context)