Election Day is November 3rd! Make sure your voice is heard

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980)

Philosophy
Summary

Anti-Semite and Jew

Summary Anti-Semite and Jew

Anti-Semite and Jew echoes many of the themes Sartre introduced in Being and Nothingness. The anti-Semite endeavors to be a being-in-itself—he wants to escape from freedom, to become an anti-Semite in the way a fireplace is a fireplace. Becoming an anti-Semite is choice, and though this choice emanates from freedom, it ultimately annihilates that freedom. Both the anti-Semite and the inauthentic Jew represent identity formations that come of “bad faith,” as identities symptomatic of the being-for-itself convincing itself it is no longer free, or no longer wants to be free, and is now a being-in-itself, an unconscious being that strives only to live up to the essence it has imagined for itself. In this, however, Sartre displays what some thought was a problematic anti-Semitic tendency, as he argued that the Jew, whether authentic or inauthentic, is alone in society in being eternally stuck in the present and alone in society in being wholly determined by his social context.