We are our Possibilities: From Sartre to Beauvoir to Løgstrup

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter develops a perspective on the phenomenology of freedom, emphasizing its dependence on a sense of relational possibilities involving other people. I draw upon and integrate themes in the works of three philosophers: Jean-Paul Sartre; Simone de Beauvoir; and Knud Ejler Løgstrup. In so doing, I propose that the experience of oneself as a free agent is not primarily a matter of how certain activities and thoughts are experienced—those that involve an elusive feeling or quale of choice or effort. Instead, it consists in a multi-faceted sense of the possible, which is inseparable from the overall structure of human experience and amenable to further analysis. Integral to it are a number of interrelated ways in which one’s own possibilities relate to the possibilities of others; I can be my possibilities only insofar as you are yours and we are ours. In particular, I suggest that the experience of freedom presupposes a basic form of interpersonal trust.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Companion to Contemporary Existentialism
EditorsKevin Aho, Megan Altman, Christian Pedersen
ISBN (Print)9781032162584
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details

Cite this