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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

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Sartre: love is a hazardous, painful struggle

2 minutes

Why Sartre believed that the person in love could never be free

Can romantic love ever be a shared joy? According to the 20th-century French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, for whom freedom was paramount, the answer must be ‘no’, since people want their partners to choose them freely, and this freedom leads to the possibility of falling out of love at any time. In Sartre’s view, this means love must always be fraught, a ceaseless conflict characterised either by masochism or sadism, as both lover and loved-one risk having their freedom compromised.

Video by BBC Radio 4

Script: Nigel Warburton

Animation: Andrew Park

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

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