Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy

Subject Categories

Theory and Philosophy


College of Liberal Arts



Thesis Adviser

Elenita dLR. Garcia

Defense Panel Member

Rolando M. Gripaldo
Gansham T. Mansukhani, Jr.
Napoleon M. Mabaquio
Carmelo P. Marollano


This paper is about Jean-Paul Sartres and Simone de Beauvoirs views about the relation between the self and the Other, in particular as they pertain to the phenomenon of romantic love. I base my analysis on the two thinkers autobiographies (Sartres Words and Beauvoirs four-volume memoirs) and selected works of fiction. I primarily make use of Paul Ricoeurs narrative theory, which essentially says that the meaning of life unfolds through the stories we tell. I argue that the above-mentioned existentialists constructed subversive narratives about the nature of love and the ineluctable freedom of the pour-soi. Their ideasas applied in their personal lives and in their novels, short stories, and playsare contrary to the assumptions underlying the traditional institutions of marriage and monogamy. I argue further that the existentialist view of love should be adopted to avoid unnecessary pain, frustration, and disappointment. In Being and nothingness, Sartre famously wrote that the pour-sois concrete relations with otherslove among themare doomed to fail. This is due to the nihilating activity of consciousness that tends to objectify another consciousness. Thus, as Sartre writes, conflict is the original meaning of being-for-others. Love is a strategy for recovering my freedom, which I have lost through the look of the Other: My original fall is the existence of other people. What love wants is to possess another freedom without it losing its characteristic as freedom, i.e. for another consciousness to will its own captivity. This desire is contradictory because the poursoi can not surrender its freedom or willfully become anothers possession. Love is doomed to fail from the start. Meanwhile, Simone de Beauvoir allows for the possibility of reciprocal relations between the self and the Other. In her Hegelian-inspired novel She came to stay, she avers that, as Hegel had written, Each conscience seeks the death of the other. The novel does end with murder. Nonetheless, through the relationships between some of the characters, Beauvoir shows that authentic love or genuine friendship is possible. This occurs when one subjectivity recognizes the existence of another and respects his or her freedom, without wanting to possess it. In this paper, I compare and contrast Sartre and Beauvoirs views, as well as investigate some scholars controversial claim that he stole her main ideas in She came to stay, elaborated on them, and restated them in philosophical jargon in Being and nothingness. After settling this question, I proceed with my analysis of their fictional narratives, identifying the recurring themes about the self-other relation. Since my framework is based on Ricoeurs idea of the narrative self, I contextualize these existentialist themes against the background of the two philosophers personal lives, as revealed in their autobiographies and two of their most authoritative biographies (Jean-Paul Sartre: Hated conscience of his century by John Gerassi and Simone de Beauvoir: A biography by Deirdre Bair).

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

216 leaves


Hermeneutics; Discourse analysis; Narrative

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