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Teaching Philosophy

Volume 26, Issue 3, September 2003

Jonathan Schonsheck
Pages 219-246

On Teaching Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit

In an effort to meet the challenge of teaching philosophy to non-majors by both keeping their attention and maintaining philosophical integrity, this paper defends an interpretation of Jean-Paul Sartre’s “No Exit” and articulates a method for teaching key concepts in existentialism, e.g. freedom, bad faith, authenticity, etc. The paper offers a “case study” method of teaching “No Exit” by providing three interpretations of the play: a literal interpretation, a philosophical interpretation that is ultimately regarded untenable, and a third interpretation that is regarded as superior. Finally, drawing on an interview of Sartre, a three-part thesis is defended concerning the existentialist’s view on life, action, and freedom.

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