Existentialism Is a Humanism

by

Jean-Paul Sartre

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Human Condition Term Analysis

Instead of seeking a constant human nature that could form the basis of human morality (like earlier atheists during the Enlightenment), Sartre rejects the notion of a universal human nature and instead focuses on the universal human condition, which simply means that each person has no choice but “to be in the world, to work in it, to live out his life in it among others, and, eventually, to die in it.”

Human Condition Quotes in Existentialism Is a Humanism

The Existentialism Is a Humanism quotes below are all either spoken by Human Condition or refer to Human Condition. 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

Man is indeed a project that has a subjective existence, rather unlike that of a patch of moss, a spreading fungus, or a cauliflower. Prior to that projection of the self, nothing exists, not even in divine intelligence, and man shall attain existence only when he is what he projects himself to be—not what he would like to be.

Related Characters: Jean-Paul Sartre (speaker)
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

Man is condemned to be free: condemned, because he did not create himself, yet nonetheless free, because once cast into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.

Related Characters: Jean-Paul Sartre (speaker)
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

Historical situations vary; a man may be born a slave in a pagan society or a feudal lord or a member of the proletariat. What never varies is the necessity for him to be in the world, to work in it, to live out his life in it among others, and, eventually, to die in it. These limitations are neither subjective nor objective; rather they have an objective as well as a subjective dimension: objective, because they affect everyone and are evident everywhere; subjective because they are experienced and are meaningless if man does not experience them—that is to say, if man does not freely determine himself and his existence in relation to them. And, as diverse as man’s projects may be, at least none of them seem wholly foreign to me since each presents itself as an attempt to surpass such limitations, to postpone, deny, or come to terms with them.

Related Characters: Sartre’s Audience at the Club Maintenant (speaker)
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:
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Human Condition Term Timeline in Existentialism Is a Humanism

The timeline below shows where the term Human Condition 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
...Sartre argues that existentialism’s “fundamental meaning” lies in the fact that people cannot overcome this condition of subjectivity. Sartre says that he will next clarify three concepts: anguish, abandonment, and despair. (full context)
Existence, Essence and the Human Condition Theme Icon
...not believe in a universal human nature, he argues that there is a universal human condition. This condition consists for every person of the “necessity for him to be in the... (full context)
Abandonment and Atheism Theme Icon
Radical Freedom, Choice, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Existentialism and Its Critics Theme Icon
...all values.” Because freedom is a self-explanatory fact that is essential to the universal human condition, people can validly pass judgment on those acting in bad faith. In fact, because everyone’s... (full context)
Existence, Essence and the Human Condition Theme Icon
Abandonment and Atheism Theme Icon
Existentialism and Its Critics Theme Icon
The second meaning of “humanism” is Sartre’s universal human condition, in which people act in the pursuit of goals and values outside themselves in order... (full context)
Existence, Essence and the Human Condition Theme Icon
Abandonment and Atheism Theme Icon
Radical Freedom, Choice, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Existentialism and Its Critics Theme Icon
...to think that believing in God would change anything or rescue anyone from the human condition. He closes by reasserting that “existentialism is optimistic” and his critics act in bad faith,... (full context)