Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type



Political Science

Major Professor

Robert A. Gorman

Committee Members

Vernon R. Tyrell, James O. Burnett


The primary problem of this study is to clarify Sartre's concept of praxis as a projective action of human consciousness which creates history and makes it intelligible. I focus on Sartre's attempt to combine an existential humanism with a theory of history as a progressive movement generated by individual actors, their social groups, and their environmental surroundings. Sartre's Critique provides the philosophical basis for understanding social institutions and behavior, and describes human action as a complex totality comprising free subjectivity and its unavoidable environment.

This inquiry focuses on the existential root of Sartre's theory of history and the problematic nature of his position. Although he allocates priority to an actor's consciousness and actions, his explanation, at times, is vague and unconvincing. While he emphasizes human freedom he inadvertly illustrates the enormous influence of a material world which is beyond our control.

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