Freedom fighter

The complete guide to France’s brainy hero“: a review of Thomas Flynn’s Sartre: A Philosophical Biography. “Most technical philosophers tend to look at the world as armchair scientists. They puzzle about time or knowledge, matter, numbers and chance. They ask how such things really are. Sartre, who also wrote bestselling fiction and plays, thought about the world as an off-duty novelist. He asked what the world was like for people. They were not detached physicists or passive observers. They lived, aided or obstructed by a material world, which included their bodies. For good or ill, they were thrown into contact with others. Sartre’s concern, in a phrase, was what it was like to be human. The topic sounded unmanageable. But its core elements were familiar enough: the mind, human values and human freedom. Sartre linked them together in big loose equations.”

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