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

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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 …

3351 words

Citation: Elveton, Roy. "L'Être et le néant". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 October 2005 [, accessed 29 January 2023.]

11102 L'Être et le néant 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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