In his book What Is Literature?, Sartre says:

Here, I am thinking of Pascal, who relentlessly repeated that man was an irrational composite of metaphysics and history, his greatness unexplainable if he comes from the alluvium, his misery unexplainable if he is still as God made him; that in order to understand man, one had to go back to the simple basic fact of man's downfall.

Should one consider this as an existentialist reading of Pascal's Pensées?

  • 1
    I'm really curious what comes immediately before this excerpt :)
    – Joseph Weissman
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 19:56
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    @JosephWeissman You can read that here: , but it's not really relevant, it seems.
    – Ben
    Commented Jun 8, 2013 at 21:33
  • I'm not sure what you're asking here. Are you asking where the referenced ideas can be found in Pascal's corpus, and offering Pensées as a suggestion? Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 17:33
  • @Mr.Bultitude: to some extent yes; I was asking for an explanation of Sartres comment on Pascal; he's obviously referring to the Catholic metaphysics, and existentialism is another interpretation of this, for example Kierkegaard, who is seen as an early precursor to Existentialism. Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 16:50
  • Are you partly asking, then, if Sartre is mistaken about the presence of those ideas in Pascal? Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 17:53


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