A philosophy webcomic about the inevitable anguish of living a brief life in an absurd world. Also Jokes

Transcendental French Freedom

As an aside the wikipedia page for "list of french stereotypes" was pretty disappointing, people really need to get in there and expand it, because I feel like there must be more there.

Sartre Perceives Not Pierre

Ten minutes later, when Pierre shows up: "Sartre, what are you doing?" Sartre: "You can't fool me, you aren't Pierre, you are a body-snatcher! What have you done with Pierre! I can percieve his absence in you!" Pierre: "Okay Sartre, how much did you take?"

Philosophically Arguing With the Ref

Still a better ref than the one in the actual game though, amirite England fans?

Why Do Philosophy?

The "philosophy is useless" people are funny because so far as they can tell, they see a problem with our current societies in that we are too introspective and critical of ideas, and we need to think less about stuff and just continue on the current path. Seems a bit off to me...

Existentialism at the Peephole

Description: Sartre is in a hallway looking through the keyhole of a door.
Sartre: "Ohhhh yeah, that's right baby... "

Sartre: "...mmm yeah, take it off..."

Sartre: "Sartre, what the hell are you doing?"
de Beauvoir, suddenly appearing: "Sartre, what the hell are you doing?
Sartre: "Ahh!"

Sartre: "Oh uh...just doing some serious existential philosophy, de Beauvoir."

de Beauvoir: "Really? Because it looked like you were spying into that keyhole."
de Beauvoir: "Sartre, come on, really?"
Sartre: "Yeah...totally..."

de Beauvoir: "So uh...can i try?"
Sartre: "Of course."

de Beauvoir, looking through the keyhole: "Oh yeah....that's some interesting...philosophy."

Description: both are now looking through the keyhole.
Sartre: "Ohhh baby, we are learning something deep about the human condition right now."
de Beauvoir: "This is very philosophical."
Why is it philosophical? They were looking at Rene Descartes taking a bath.

Fear and Loathing in French Phenomenology

Sartre: "shit it looks like I wrote a meandering novel about a 30 something guy filled with a kind of aimless existential angst, not again..."

Sartrean Freedom

Sartre: "No matter the circumstance, we are always free, because our very existence is freedom. "
de Beauvoir: "Really, no matter what?"

Sartre: "Yes! Our freedom is transcendent, so cannot be taken away. Only we ourselves can deny our freedom by trying to flee from it."

Description: scene where Sartre is being arrested.
de Beauvoir: "Yeah, but what if the government restricts your liberties?"
Sartre: "I would be more free than ever, for i would be given the choice whether to rebel!"

Description: scene where Sartre is in a prison camp.
de Beauvoir: "But what if you are a prisoner of war?"
Sartre: "I would still have the freedom to think and write!"

Description: Sartre is chained up in a dungeon.
de Beauvoir: "Okay, but what if you are in a dungeon, and you are hands and legs are shackled so you can't move at all?"
Sartre: "Even then! I would be free to interpret my condition."

de Beauvoir: "And how do you interpret your condition like this?"
Sartre: "It freakin' sucks."
"But I could have equally thought it was great. Fifty fifty really."

The Ethics of Ambiguity

Simone de Beauvoir: "So, as you know, Sartre, there are five types of people: losers, nihilists, adventurers, serious men, and existentialists."
Jean-Paul Sartre: "Of course, de Beauvoir everyone knows that."

de Beauvoir: "Well here's what I realized, they all suck except for the existentialists."
Sartre: "Well, yes, I thought that was obvious."
de Beauvoir: "But here's the thing, they don't just suck, they morally suck!"

Sartre: "Whoa, hold on, I thought it was impossible to reconcile morality with existentialism, because existentialism allows for the freedom to do anything, right?"

de Beauvoir: "Wrong. Let's break down why the other five types of people are morally wrong first."

de Beauvoir: "Losers are obviously wrong. They are just sub men who are incapable of asserting themselves. They flee from their freedom either in resentment or passive submission. This cannot be a morally authentic way of engaging in the world."
Image of loser: "I hate everything  but I'm not going to do anything about it."

de Beauvoir: "Next are nihilists. Obviously wrong. They believe their lives are meaningless so proceed to live meaningless lives. They are basically just losers who like being losers. Plus, if they are really nihilists they should really just kill themselves all the time."
Imagine of Nihilist: "Nothing matters, man. We are just floating on a space rock."

de Beauvoir: "Now the serious men of society who believe wholeheartedly in society's rules. At least they believe in something, but society is a pretty dumb thing to believe in. Be it religion, a company, or just the social rules. They cant make moral choices because they cant make real choices at all."
Image of serious man: "What's important in life is to build highways."
de Beauvoir: "Adventures. Badasses. Now they are better than losers, nihilists and serious men, obviously, because at least they are cool. But are they moral? No. No one cool is moral because when push comes to shove, they will always choose being cool over real authentic moral engagements. "
Image of adventurer: "Why climb the mountain? Because it is there."

de Beauvoir: "Now we get to the existentialists, since we've eliminated everyone else, they are the only ones that can be authentically free, on account of the fact that they've read our books."
Image of existentialist: "Wow, Simone de Beauvoir is right, I should live authentically."

Sartre: "Of course. But how does that make them moral?"
de Beauvoir: "Because we are the only ones to recognize that no system can deal with the concrete reality of life. "

de Beauvoir: "It turns out that all moral decisions are always ambiguous, and nothing can guide us in our answers."

Sartre: "Right, so if your answer to morality is that nothing can guide us, that's almost like having...no morality at all."

de Beauvoir: "Well, there are still some rules that can guide us, despite our absolute freedom."

Sartre: "Like what?"
de Beauvoir: "Like don't be a god damn loser, obviously. Pay attention!"
Oh also I forgot one more rule: overthrow the bourgeoisie and create worldwide communism.

Sartre Writes Nausea

Sartre: "Sex is gross. Sometimes when I'm having sex i think about ants, centipedes and ringworm crawling all over everything."
de Beauvoir: "Why are you telling me this?"

Sartre: "Uh, you know...for deep existential reasons. Because I alone realize the full extent of my freedom and stuff."

Sartre: "Also because insects are just so gross."

de Beauvoir: "So how's the novel coming? Are those your notes?"
Sartre: "Oh, uh yeah, great. It's going to totally reinvent literature."
de Beauvoir: "Let me see."

de Beauvoir: "Wait, is this it? You talking about how ants are gross? And...looking at a tree?"
Sartre: "Well they are gross. And trees are weird when you really look at them."
de Beauvoir: "Sartre, what the hell? No one is going to read this."

Sartre: "I have other stuff too!"
de Beauvoir: "Oh yeah, like what?"

Sartre: "I have this great idea about someone who is trying to write a book but having a hard actually sitting down and writing it."
de Beauvoir: "Can i see that part?"

Sartre: "This may shock you but i haven't so much written that part yet, i was busy looking at trees."
Telling people "write what you know" is how we ended up with 100 books about somewhat depressed, aimless 30 year old men who are struggling to write a novel.

Freedom and Battleship

"Of course I think I'm the only one who should be able to be a hypocrite, what's inauthentic about that?"

Simone Weil vs the Existentialists

Description: Sartre, de Beauvoir and Camus are sitting at a table drinking wine and having dinner, Simone Weil approaches.

de Beauvoir: "Hey Simone Weil, have some wine with us, we have some nice Camembert cheese and duck."
Weil: "Sorry, i can't now, de Beauvoir, i'm off to work at the auto factory."

Camus: "You work at a factory now? I thought you taught philosophy."
PERSON: "yes, Camus, six days a week."
Camus: "But...why?"

Weil: "If we say we believe in the liberating the working class, we must understand on a concrete level how they suffer! Intellectuals cannot pretend to know how to improve their lives without living them ourselves."

Weil: "Also i don't eat fancy cheese, because those suffering from hunger cannot afford such luxuries, so i deny myself them as well."

Weil: "I have to be off, I'm marching for increasing benefits to the unemployed before my shift."

be Beauvoir: "Wow, she really lives by her ideals, doesn't she?"
Camus: "Indeed, she is really the only great spirit of our times."

description: awkward pause.

Sartre: "Super annoying though, right?"
de Beauvoir: "Yes! I'm so glad you said that."
Camus: "Does she have to be ⁠ SO authentic all the time?"

Sartre: "Exactly, we have to be authentic about eating cheese now? Come on. there's a limit."
Camus: "Precisely. More wine?"
Satre: "Please."
Maybe we are authentic in our own way, alright? Maybe it is authentic to sacrifice nothing for your beliefs, okay?

Stupid Meaning of Life

Sartre: "Our existence precedes our essence. We find ourselves existing, and only after the fact can we define what we are. That means it is up to us what the meaning of our lives is."

Student 1: "So the meaning of our lives can be anything that we want?"
Sartre: "Exactly."
Student 1: "Even if it is something totally stupid?"
Sartre: "Uh...yeah i guess."

Student 1: "Cool! I'm going to dedicate my life to building the world's largest pumpkin pie!"
Student 2: "I'm going to put all my passion into complaining about video games that have too many female characters!"

Sartre: "No...you guys aren't getting it. It has to be your authentic, real desire on how to spend your brief time on earth."

Student 1: "We get it. That's just what we want to do."
Sartre: "No, come on, be serious..."
Student 1: "Hey, you SAID  it could be anything, and it is up to us!"
Student 2: "Yeah!"

Later, Sartre writing at his desk: "Existence precedes essence, but still built into our existence a little bit at least is that the meaning of our lives isn't something totally stupid..."
Hey! Kids! Stop doing the meaning of life wrong.

Braveheart's Speech

Description: William Wallace is giving his speech before a battle, like in the movie Braveheart.

William Wallace: "They may take our lives, but they’ll never take ... our freedom!"

Sartre: "He means because in a metaphysical sense, our freedom is transcendent, so even if we are enslaved by the English we will still at least have the freedom to interpret our condition."

Spinoza: "No, Sartre, he means they can't take our freedom because we never had it to begin with. The world is deterministic, and freedom is an illusion. There is nothing the English can do about that."

Marx: "No Spinoza! He doesn't care about metaphysics. He means they can't take our freedom because we peasants are enslaved by our own wealthy lords. We must unite with the global proletariat to throw off the ruling class of every nation in order to be free!"
Spinoza: "Not everything is about class warfare, Marx."

Sartre: "Um, excuse me, Mr. William Wallace, do you mean they can't take our freedom because it is metaphysically impossible, or because we are already oppressed?"

William Wallace: "I mean they can't take our freedom, because if they try we will stab them in the face with our swords. Understand?"

Sartre, looking around nervously as the battle begins: "Um, you guys...I'm starting to think this isn't the philosophy debate club."

Spinoza: "I told you we missed an exit!"
Marx: "you can take our lives, but you can never take our surplus labor value!"

What is Existentialism?

Sartre: "What is existentialism?"
Sartre: "It is the philosophy of freedom."
Sartre: "We are born into the world without any essence - we are uniquely able to self create what we are. We are absolutely free."
Person in crowed: "Wow, that sounds like a wonderful philosophy."
Sartre: "Oh also...did i mention how freedom manifests itself as a crushing anxiety, since every choice we are forced to make forever closes off all other possible lives we could have lived, as we helplessly hurdle towards death, which finally severs off our life's projects, rendering them meaningless as they disappear into the void?"
Sartre: "So it's more like you are condemned to be free."
Sartre: "Where are you guys going? It's still a wonderful philosophy, come on! You didn't even get to hear about the inescapable burden of knowing you alone are responsible for every choice you make."
Sartre: "It is a wonderful philosophy!"
Also there is no point to anything and then you die. But you are super free in the meantime, so...

Sartre Advises a Student

[description]: A student comes into Jean-Paul Sartre's office.

Student: "Sartre, please, I need your advice with a terrible dilemma."
Sartre: "What is it?"

Student: "My brother was killed in the war, and I wish terribly to join the army and avenge him. But I live alone with my mother, she lives only for me - if i were to leave her it would plunge her into despair."

Student: "How do i weigh my obligation to my mother, compared to my obligation to France?"

Student: "How can i go off to war, when my actions will serve a great cause, but my individual actions may disappear like water into sand and serve no purpose."

Student: "But how can i stay at home when others fight? Isn't the war more important? Which course is the right way to take?"

Student: "can you please advise me, what should i do?"
Sartre: "Yes: choose freely, for the choice is yours alone."

Student: "Uh...that's it? But that's nothing."
Sartre: "You are radically free to do either one."

Student: "But i already know i'm free. Just saying “you are free” isn't advice, it's just describing why it is a dilemma. I could get that from a fortune cookie!"

Sartre: "Sorry kid, office hours are over."
[sign on the wall]: Office hours: never bother me.

In Which Jean-Paul Sartre Attempts to Return Some Socks

"Can I speak with your manager?" "Okay, but the managers are only allowed to pretend to override corporate policy, when they are really just applying more specific corporate policy."

Punk Rock Philosophy

Exisentialism is the most punk rock philosophy, but Diogenes is the most punk rock philosopher.

Sartre and the Chestnut Tree

"Oh my god, de Beauvoir! I've just realized what I should do with my life! I should write novels!" "Sartre...you've already written like five novels..." "Oh yeah..."

The Look

Description: Merleau-Ponty and Sartre at sitting at a table, Sartre is looking at Merleau-Ponty. Sartre slowly gets closer and closer to Merleau-Ponty's face, staring more and more intensely.

Merleau-Ponty: "Okay!  Enough already, Sartre. I'm sorry for saying your philosophical concept of “The Look” was stupid."

Sartre: "What's the matter, Ponty? You can't work without filtering your experience through the knowledge that you are an object in the world for another?"
Merleau-Ponty: "I said enough. You made your point."
Sartre: "think another hour or two and you'll really start to get how profound it is."
"Hey Sartre, have I ever explained to you my ideas about the phenomenology of punching people?"

Existentialism at the Beach

Also...I thought the sign was strictly prohibiting NOT doing those things.

Existential Chess

Okay, I promise this is the last time I'll do a "radical freedom" joke. Although when you think about it no promise that I make today can actually determine my future actions, on account of...well, you know.

The True Meaning of Life

"A tenure track position is the ultimate goal of human existence!"

It's Always Sunny in Paris 2

de Beauvoir: "Wait, weren't we supposed to be defeating the Nazis?" Camus: "Oh yeah, that's right. Oh well, I'm sure it will work itself out."

It's Always Sunny in Paris

Camus: "Wait, so if the meaning of life is arbitrary, maybe it can just be seducing as many girls as possible?" Sartre: "It isn't that arbitrary."

Door to Door Existentialism

Eh, I'll get around to finding some kind of meaning or purpose to my life after a few more episodes.

Existential Daycare

Of course, it was really a meta commentary on how art can never fully communicate the inward feelings of the artist.

Sartre's Muse

"Hey Sartre. Sartre. Why did the chicken have a self-nihilating nothingness that haunted the core of its being? To get to the other side!"

Jury Selection

If you've noticed any characters appearing and disappearing, it isn't because the artist is lazy, it is because an evil demon is deceiving you.

Sexy Vampires and Existential Philosophy

Yeah I mean, life is meaningless and all, but it turns out being a sexy vampire is kind of alright.

Philosopher under the bed

"Justified true belief isn't enough to account for knowledge, woooooo!"

Existential Hour

Heidegger used to host the show, but he was fired after some...off color remarks.


Although Sartre was obviously in bad faith when he said that Nietzsche has a terrible mustache, because come on.

Sartre's Waiter

"I don't know, it sort of seems like someone playacting at having radical freedom..."

Sartre: a Show About Nothingness 2

I'll bet you 500 dollars that you won't seduce a married woman just because you find it interesting.

Philosophy News Network: the Presidential Debates

Make sure to join us at eleven. Do your teenagers have a subjective, internal experience? The answer may be unknowable.

Despair Bears

"But you made Care Bears creepy and weird" No. Wrong. The Care Bears were always creepy and weird

Sartre: A Show About Nothingness

"Albert, this report you turned in. It's crap." "Or maybe it's just so brilliant you just don't understand it." "No, it's definitely crap" "Damn you Simone!"

Existential Office

Eventually they figured out that Kafka was actually fired years ago, but due to a glitch in the payroll system he kept getting paid. So they fixed the glitch.

Existential Birthday

Sartre stopped inviting Kierkegaard, because Kierkegaard kept giving him crosses and trying to get him to talk about the stages of despair.

Twelve Angry Philosophers

What? You didn't expect twelve philosophers to agree on something did you?

The Philosophy Superbowl

In many ways Wittgenstein is similar to Tom Brady, whose first Superbowl was also based on a mistake: the Tuck Rule. Also, they are both devastatingly handsome.

Candyland and the Nature of the Absurd

Sartre and Camus told everyone that their falling out was over politics, but really it was mostly over Sartre evoking "radical freedom" one too many times at game night

Fastest Gun in the Continent

I'm pretty sure if my computer had free will, it would use it 99% of the time to be a judgemental dick to me.

Philosophy Tech Support

Hello, customer complaints, this is Leibniz. Oh yeah? Well, this is the best of all possible customer support centers, so that can't be true

Authentic Man

"Also, your haircut makes you look like a douche" "Actually, that's kind of what I was going for" "Oh, well in that case you are good"

Existential Radio

Camus called back later, putting on a deep voice and bad German accent, pretending to be Heidegger, but Sartre had installed caller ID.

World Cup Philosophy: Germany vs France

For best results, the commentator should be read in the voice of Michael Palin

Dungeons & Dragons & Philosophers

About half the time spent on this comic was spent on figuring out how exactly Simone de Beauvoir's hair works, and it still ended up looking terrible. I make no apologies for Derrida's hair, however, for no artist alive can capture that glorious mane.

Sartre and Hobbes play Monopoly

Hume: Just because the rules have always said that people break out of jail when they roll a double in the past doesn't mean they do now. Check the inside of the box again.

The Problems of Philosophers

Support the comic on Patreon
Follow on RSS Follow on twitter Follow on facebook share with reddit share on twitter share with your friends on facebook