Existence comes before Essence

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Philosophy ・MLA ・2 Sources

The philosophy of existence, known as existentialism, best describes the meaning, value, and nature of human existence. An existentialist denotes a person who argues for the theory of existentialism. Jean-Paul Sartre was a French philosopher who believed in the existentialism principles pioneered by Soren Kierkegaard, Saint Augustine, and Blaise Pascal long before he was born (Mart 50). Sartre expressly said in the twentieth century that existence comes before essence. To date, this term has served as the main or central claim of scholars and researchers working within the existentialism paradigm. This paper focuses on the meaning of Sartre's phrase and its implications about the existence of human beings.
According to Existence and the Existent by Maritain (2015), the belief that all the things in the world have an already predetermined set of ideal characteristic which they are supposed to follow is referred to as essence. For instance, the primary objective of making a chair is for people to sit on. Besides, the chair should have a back and four legs. This case is not always true in the world since a chair can have three legs or no back after it is damaged. Therefore, it is evident that not everything will perfectly fit its essence. On the other hand, existence is defined as the actual details of a particular thing.
Analyzing the phrase existence precedes essence; there is no human nature in the world because God does not exist to conceive it in the existentialist world. The existentialists' fundamental idea is that human beings are not tied down to some predetermined characteristics or patterns that they must observe and fit (Mart 53). Due to the diversity of the human beings, people deal with the challenges in life differently and depending on the circumstances at hand. In this regard, the way people live on earth defines what they really are. It is from these observations that the essentialists formulated their ideas. Individuals have the absolute freedom which is unbounded. Therefore, the human beings develop their meaning and place some unique values on things in the world.

Works Cited

Maritain, Jacques. Existence and the Existent. Paulist Press, 2015.

Mart, Cagri Tugrul. "Existentialism in two plays of Jean-Paul Sartre." International Journal of English and Literature 3.3 (2012): 50-54.

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