What does it mean to be me?

2 minutes

Sartre and the existential choice: ‘In fashioning myself, I fashion humanity’

What’s the essence of being human? According to the 20th-century French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, existence precedes essence. In other words, ‘I am what I do.’ This, thought Sartre, makes life an anguish-inducing experience as every one of our choices becomes a statement about what we think humanity should be. ‘Condemned to be free,’ each one of us must act as if the whole world is watching.

Video by BBC Radio 4

Script: Nigel Warburton

Animation: Andrew Park

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