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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

22 September 2015

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