Phenomenology of Freedom and Responsibility in Sartre’s Existentialist Ethics

Mindaugas Briedis


Freedom and responsibility in one way or another were discussed by all exorcists of non-perspective thinking, i.e., existentialists. However, the phenomenological roots of existentialist ethics still did not receive proper academic attention. In this article I explore J. P. Sartre’s conception of freedom and responsibility uncovering how phenomenological insights can be subordinated and sometimes guide intentions of existentialism. On the other hand, Sartre’s view delivers perfect opportunity to analyse conflation of phenomenological ontology and existentialist ethics. Although Sartre interprets key notions of Husserl and Heidegger primarily in phenomenological manner, the analysis leads away from classical phenomenology and opens up a new outlook at classical ethical dilemmas. Thirdly, the lack of clear ethical claims in phenomenology could be reduced by showing that the ethical potential of phenomenology was partly actualized in existentialism. Besides these primary goals the article opens up a possibility to critically compare the conception of Sartre’s phenomenological-existentialist ethics with other ethical and ontological perspectives, i.e., stoicism, Christianity, psychoanalysis, Marxism, Kant and etc.


Article in: English

Article published: 2009-09-15

Keyword(s): phenomenology; existentialism; freedom; responsibility; Sartre

DOI: 10.3846/1822-430X.2009.17.3.71-82

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Coactivity: Philosophy, Communication / Santalka: Filosofija, Komunikacija ISSN 2029-6320, eISSN 2029-6339
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