Existentialism Is a Humanism


Jean-Paul Sartre

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Sartre conceives each individual as a “project” because everyone must actively work to build their identity through their actions and commitments throughout their life. The best analogy is a work of art: artists and human subjects start with no predetermined meaning or mission, but rather they develop meaning by creatively constructing a coherent project (a life or a work of art) that expresses that meaning. There is also the second sense of “project”—as a verb, not a noun—in which human life includes a projection of self. People are constantly imagining what they are and will become, and this projection forms each person’s image of their personal human project.

Human Project Quotes in Existentialism Is a Humanism

The Existentialism Is a Humanism quotes below are all either spoken by Human Project or refer to Human Project. 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:
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Human Project Term Timeline in Existentialism Is a Humanism

The timeline below shows where the term Human Project appears in Existentialism Is a Humanism. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Existentialism Is a Humanism
Radical Freedom, Choice, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Existentialism and Its Critics Theme Icon
...meaning of the individual self leads it to ignore the interconnections among people and their projects. The Chrstians’ accusations are, first, the suggestion that existentialism focuses disproportionately on the negative aspects... (full context)
Existence, Essence and the Human Condition Theme Icon
Radical Freedom, Choice, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Sartre turns to the concept of subjectivity and argues that a human subject is a “project”—both in the sense of a continuous undertaking, and in the sense that a person projects... (full context)
Existence, Essence and the Human Condition Theme Icon
...out his life in it among others, and, eventually, to die in it.” Every human project is a response to these universal conditions and, therefore, everyone can potentially be understood by... (full context)