Review: Existentialism and Human Emotion by Jean-Paul Sartre

I can’t write a long review on this one, because I just don’t feel up to it. I’m not a philosopher but, that being said, Sartre (and the translator) certainly made existentialism, to an extent, accessible to me as someone rather unfamiliar with the concepts. I appreciated a lot of what Sartre says about creating one’s self and always being one’s self “in production,” as it were. “The Hole,” however, was pretty absurd. That man lives to fill himself (and that man seeks out woman because she is, essentially, a hole to be filled) was just weird. I also didn’t like what he said about taste buds not really existing, because what one tastes and defines as “good” or “bad” isn’t really based on how it tastes, but on what one has pre-determined one wants (or what one believes is good for him). Too far a stretch, I think – though the point he makes about one finding it inconceivable that another would not like the taste (or smell, feel, etc.) of something one likes is well taken and appreciated. But, all-in-all, the philosophy is interesting and I would like to learn more. I have a copy of Sartre’s Nausea and I definitely want to read it soon.

Publisher: Citadel, 2000
ISBN: 0806509023
Challenges: N/A
YTD: 35
Source: Owned Copy

3 Comments on “Review: Existentialism and Human Emotion by Jean-Paul Sartre

  1. >Satre's philosophy is a philosophy of the personal. Like Nietze he offers alternate ways to live. I think your essay rather good. Have you ever read Baudrillard, Foucault or Derrida? – much more contemporary 'modernist' philosophy – you might enjoy. You have an interesting and informative blog. I'll be sure to visit again.


  2. >Oh, did you know babies have no gag reflex? They have to learn what tastes bad from others. I used to eat cigarette ends and coal as a baby. I've heard many other such stories. I know a woman who eats ash from ashtrays – something you or I might find distasteful. Maybe Satre was on to something… …people often do have hole's to fill which might explain serial adultery or even drug addiction.


  3. >Thank you for your comments! I do agree, also, that each individual has goals/dreams/desires which, essentially, could be 'The Hole' that needs to be filled; I just found Sartre's explanation of it, and the almost black/white deliniation of it a bit hard to swallow.I have read a little Baudrillard, Foucault, and Derrida – as well as others; all were read in the context of my Litererary Theory & Criticism class in graduate school, though – so I got bits and pieces of their works. I don't think I've ever read an entire piece by any of them – but I plan to now! I also have a copy of Descartes Meditations on First Philosophy that I will be reading soon. And, as far as the taste buds go – I still do not believe one consciously chooses what tastes "good" or "bad" to him. If it were entirely learned, then every one would like exactly what his/her parents or "feeders" liked, since that would be "the good" and, in my experience, this doesn't seem to be the case. Also, I have definitely seen babies make the "WTF?!" faces when they eat something disagreeable. But, like I said, I can get on board with the theory to an extent – maybe there is a piece of time during development where the taste buds are actually numb to taste. I also completely agree that if, for instance, I love sushi, I cannot believe that anybody else might not enjoy it.


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