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

Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter Sign up
Follow us on
Facebook
Like
Essay/
Consciousness & Altered States
Caves all the way down

Do psychedelics give access to a universal, mystical experience of reality, or is that just a culture-bound illusion?

Jules Evans

Essay/
Ethics
Life on the slippery Earth

Aztec moral philosophy has profound differences from the Greek tradition, not least its acceptance that nobody is perfect

Sebastian Purcell