AP English Literature
19 January 2018
Berdyaev vs. Sartre
Existentialism is the 20th century philosophy which questions existence and the way humans
take on their individual lives. Through free will each individual finds their true self and essence in
life. This philosophy was enlightened by philosophers also known as existentialists. Existentialists
believe that humans should not live within boundaries and that there shouldn’t be any rules that keep
you from living true to yourself.
Jean Paul Sartre and Nikolai Berdyaev were both existentialists from the 30s and 40s and
were both from France. Sartre was born in and Paris and Bedyaev was born in Clamart. Their ideas
on religion, politically, and the way life should be lived had their differences and similarities.
Sartre is known as the “father of existentialism” because of the influence he had on France’s
intellectual life with his ideas of freedom and free will. Sartre believed that everyone has a choice on
how to live their life and every act is a “free act”. Anyone that says they have no choice but to do
something is simply lying to themselves. Many people question whether it is possible to be truly
existentialist and believe in a God or follow a religion. Sartre does not believe in a God. He believes
that everything is permitted as long as God does not exist. He believes that love is “hazardous”
because a person that is in love does not love freely.
Berdyaev is another famous french existentialist. As most existentialists he was rebellious to
any authority. He was a christian existentialist and followed the christian religion. He believed that
in order to live a beautiful and complete life, man should have a connection with God. H believed
that God is creator of humans and humans purpose is to create life. He has a different viewpoint on
freedom. He believes that having to choose from something imposes its limitations. This means that
any choice you make does not depend on free will because you must choose between something.
Yes, you have the choice between the two but having that choice creates boundaries.
“PHILOSOPHER OF FREEDOM.” Philosopher of Freedom, vis-www.cs.umass.edu/~dima/
“Why Sartre believed that the person in love could never be free | Aeon Videos.” Aeon, Aeon,
“Existentialism.” AllAboutPhilosophy.org, www.allaboutphilosophy.org/existentialism.htm.
“To be is to be: Jean-Paul Sartre on existentialism and freedom.” YourStory.com, 21 June 2017,