Jean-Paul Sartre: L'Être et le néant [Being and Nothingness]

(3351 words)
  • Roy Elveton (Carleton College )

Sartre's L' être et le néant, a monumental work of twentieth-century philosophy, offers a sustained analysis of human existence. We begin the discussion of this text with a consideration of the primary philosophical sources that influenced Sartre's theory of human existence and freedom.


Being and Nothingness draws upon the dialectical method of G. W. F. Hegel, the phenomenological philosophy of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger's Being and Time (1927). The very title Being and Nothingness recalls a central motif in Hegel's philosophy: Hegel argued that antithetically related concepts, such as being and nothingness, self and other, individual agency …

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Elveton, Roy. "L'Être et le néant". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 October 2005
[, accessed 05 July 2015.]