HomePHAVISMINDA Journalvol. 13 no. 1 (2014)

Being-for-Itself as Freedom: A Preliminary Inquiry on Sartre’s Philosophy of the Human Person

Asisclo Iii M. Abonado



In this paper, the researcher, using the qualitative-descriptive method, exposes the principles behind Sartre’s assertion of the human person as condemned by his own freedom and as a useless passion. At first, in Being and Nothingness, Sartre talks about essence and appearances as two aspects of Being. Essence is just a chain in the series of appearances. Meanwhile, Sartre also affirms the permanent possibility of non-being, Nothingness, which is the limitation of one’s inquiry on what exists.

Nothingness is that which exists outside what is existent (i.e., Being), and conversely, ‘Being is that which is outside of what is nothing. Indeed, Being and Nothingness as both existents imply the ‘evident and ‘non-evident’. Another point is that man is enmeshed into existence his absurd world of muddling events. Since this world makes no sense, he finds no universal principles or moral standards in it. Upon his realization, he encounters his dreadful freedom because, as Sartre affirms, it is absolute and radical.

In conclusion, Sartre’s effort of explaining the existence of human reality (Being-for-itself--human person) in some sense falls short, but is, in some respect, strong. It falls short primarily because Sartre provides the reader a definitive meaninglessness of his seemingly meaningful endeavors and toils in life. However, in Sartre’s writings, freedom and responsibility are considered as constructive attributes of the human person. But going deeper into the central reasons of the formulation of such concepts using critical thinking would direct any reader to discover the definitive meaninglessness--human reality’s Nothingness. Consequently, Sartre’s phenomenological ontology does not successfully exhaust the explanations concerning the Human Person (of human reality, if one were to employ Sartre’s Being-For-Itself).  Nevertheless, if one tries to look at Sartre’s philosophy in a critical way, one can clearly surmise that to be conscious of one’s choices in life is essential.