SARTRE SUMMARY

1. EXISTENCE PRECEDES ESSENCE. "Freedom is existence, and in it existence precedes essence." This means that what we do, how we act in our life, determines our apparent "qualities." It is not that someone tells the truth because she is honest, but rather she defines herself as honest by telling the truth again and again.
I am a professor in a way different than the way I am six feet tall, or the way a table is a table. The table simply is; I exist by defining myself in the world at each moment.

2. SUBJECT RATHER THAN OBJECT. Humans are not objects to be used by God or a government or corporation or society. Nor we to be "adjusted" or molded into roles --to be only a waiter or a conductor or a mother or worker. We must look deeper than our roles and find ourselves.

3. FREEDOM is the central and unique potentiality which constitutes us as human. Sartre rejects determinism, saying that it is our choice how we respond to determining tendencies.

4. CHOICE. I am my choices. I cannot not choose. If I do not choose, that is still a choice. If faced with inevitable circumstances, we still choose how we are in those circumstances.

5. RESPONSIBILITY. Each of us is responsible for everything we do. If we seek advice from others, we choose our advisor and have some idea of the course he or she will recommend. "I am responsible for my very desire of fleeing responsibilities."

6. PAST DETERMINANTS SELDOM TELL US THE CRUCIAL INFORMATION. We transform past determining tendencies through our choices. Explanations in terms of family, socioeconomic status, etc., do not tell us why a person makes the crucial choices we are most interested in.

7. OUR ACTS DEFINE US. "In life, a man commits himself, draws his own portrait, and there is nothing but that portrait." Our illusions and imaginings about ourselves, about what we could have been, are nothing but self-deception.

8. WE CONTINUALLY MAKE OURSELVES AS WE ARE. A "brave" person is simply someone who usually acts bravely. Each act contributes to defining us as we are, and at any moment we can begin to act differently and draw a different portrate of ourselves. There is always a possibility to change, to start making a different kind of choice.

9. OUR POWER TO CREATE OURSELVES. We have the power of transforming ourself indefinitely.

10. OUR REALITY AND OUR ENDS. Human reality "identifies and defines itself by the ends which it pursues", rather than by alleged "causes" in the past.

11. SUBJECTIVISM means the freedom of the individual subject, and that we cannot pass beyond subjectivity.

12. THE HUMAN CONDTION. Despite different roles and historical situations, we all have to be in the world, to labor and die there. These circumstances "are everywhere recognisable; and subjective because they are lived and are nothing if we do not live them.

13. CONDEMNED TO BE FREE. We are condemned because we did not create ourselves. We must choose and act from within whatever situation we find ourselves.

14. ABANDONMENT. "I am abandoned in the world... in the sense that I find myself suddenly alone and without help.

15. ANGUISH. "It is in anguish that we become conscious of our freedom. ...My being provokes anguish to the extent that I distrust myself and my own reactions in that situation."
1) We must make some choices knowing that the consequences will have profound effects on others (like a commander sending his troops into battle.)
2) In choosing for ourselves we choose for all humankind.

16. DESPAIR.
We limit ourselves to a reliance on that which is within our power, our capability to influence. There are other things very important to us over which we have no control.

17. BAD FAITH means to be guilty of regarding oneself not as a free person but as an object. In bad faith I am hiding the truth from myself. "I must know the truth very exactly in order to conceal it more carefully. (There seems to be some overlap in Sartre's conception of bad faith and his conception of self-deception.)
A person can live in bad faith which ...implies a constant and particular style of life.

18. "THE UNCONSCIOUS" IS NOT TRULY UNCONSCIOUS. At some level I am aware of, and I choose, what I will allow fully into my consciousness and what I will not. Thus I cannot use "the unconscious" as an excuse for my behavior. Even though I may not admit it to myself, I am aware and I am choosing.
Even in self-deception, I know I am the one deceiving myself, and Freud's so-called censor must be conscious to know what to repress.
Those who use "the unconscious" as exoneration of actions believe that our instincts, drives, and complexes make up a reality that simply is; that is neither true nor false in itself but simply real.

19. PASSION IS NO EXCUSE. "I was overwhelmed by strong feelings; I couldn't help myself" is a falsehood. Despite my feelings, I choose how to express them in action.

20. ONTOLOGY: The study of being, of what constitutes a person as a person, is the necessary basis for psychoanalysis.