• Unit 7: Simone de Beauvoir

    A novelist, social critic, and philosopher, Simone de Beauvoir (1908–1986) extended Sartre's existentialism to the realm of the social and the political, developing an existentialist ethics and a feminist philosophy that would have a lasting influence on the feminist political movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Like existentialists before her, de Beauvoir emphasized the centrality of individual freedom to human existence. But unlike existentialists before her, she argued that individual freedom was possible only on the condition that others were free. In other words, equitable social relations are necessary for a meaningful freedom, according to de Beauvoir. In this unit, you will learn about de Beauvoir's existentialist ethics and her existential feminism.

    Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.

    • 7.1: de Beauvoir's Life with Sartre

    • 7.2: de Beauvoir's Existentialist Ethics

        • 7.2.1: The Importance of the Social Sphere

        • 7.2.2: The Ethics of Ambiguity

      • 7.3: de Beauvoir's Feminist Existentialism

          • 7.3.1: de Beauvoir as a Feminist Pioneer

          • 7.3.2: The Second Sex

          • 7.3.3: The "Feminine" Is a Social Construction

          • 7.3.4: de Beauvoir's Applied Existentialism

        • Unit 7 Assessment