The Philosophy of Sartre

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Human creation is, indeed, free. Sartre, I exist and I am free, two proposals are rigorously synonymous and equivalent. This freedom we all experience anxiety in a true metaphysical sense reveals our total freedom, where seizure reflexive consciousness is dizzy before she and her infinite powers.

Sartre in Ten Minutes

All these analysis on the anxiety, freedom and bad faith refers to the mode of being of the existing human, this for-itself which is opposed in every respect to the in-itself:. Thus, the for-itself is a being that is characterized as a movement and project to be. This project concept is, indeed, central.

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So are we totally free and totally responsible: the responsibility is, in Sartre, the full support of his fate by the existing human nature that creates and creates the world. But in this invention and that this outpouring is the permanent freedom of the for-itself, I seem constantly under threat, one that arises from the presence and emergence of others in the world. That is, for me, others? Why did he matter to so many? For Sarah Bakewell, the answer lies in the peculiar appeal, and the timeliness, of the philosophy that he espoused: existentialism.

The book is a joy to read. Bakewell shows enormous skill in bringing to life not only the leading figures, but also the times and places in which they lived, their ideas and their works. There is an awful lot of research packed into it which extends far beyond the literary and philosophical writings of her chief protagonists. She deftly places those writings in their political, social and historical context, often by considering the films, books, fashions and trends that formed their cultural backdrop. This led to her taking a degree in philosophy at the University of Essex and then to an unfinished PhD thesis on Heidegger.

In the English-speaking countries the entire existentialist tradition was largely ignored by mainstream analytic philosophers, who preferred rigorous thinking about logic and language to wide-ranging, but occasionally woolly, reflections on being, freedom, politics and lived experience. Bakewell clearly feels that in the process of these developments, the life went out of Western philosophical thought.

To be is to be: Jean-Paul Sartre on existentialism and freedom

Actually, she wants to put the life back into the philosophy in two different ways. First, she wants to convey the excitement of existentialist thought, portraying it unlike the comparatively desiccated schools of thinking that succeeded it as an attempt to make sense, not of structures and signifiers, but of life. Second, she seeks to introduce existentialism through the lives of its leading exponents.

  1. The Philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre | Philosophy | SIU;
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  7. Thirty years later, I have come to the opposite conclusion. They were sitting in the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue du Montparnasse in Paris, drinking the house speciality — apricot cocktails.

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    Having one means having the other. For both Sartre and Williams, though not the same, there is one criterion that must be satisfied in order to determine action. And we can consider such a criterion an internalist concept of determination of human action. But here a significant difference must be emphasised. Wants and desires can count as internal for Sartre — not because they belong to a subjective motivational set, but only insofar as they remain present, always contemporary to the present of consciousness. Once they lose their place in the living present, they are neither lost for good, nor absolutely absent.

    Externality and internality are not defined based on having or not having a relation with desires and wants, but on their being or not being in the present living. Employing words and concepts more familiar to Sartre, the criterion consists of transcending or not transcending consciousness. For him, it is crucial to be able to perform two phenomenological tasks: firstly, to recognise when the present of a consciousness is transcended; and, secondly, to identify the consequences that follow from that transcendence, both from the point of view of knowledge and from the point of view of determining action.

    Here the philosopher exemplifies with a lived experience of displeasure or repulse directed towards someone. An experience that Sartre refuses to identify with, or even assume to be necessarily motivated by, a psychological state, such as a feeling of hate, or a psychological quality, such as being a spiteful person.

    Jean-Paul Sartre - Wikipedia

    For example, I can be aware of repulsion and anger towards Peter and, however, not be sure that I hate him. Indeed, adds Sartre, hatred is then a transcendent object that appears to me by the unreflected experience of disgust or repulsion Sartre , Psychological states — of which love and hate are examples — are objects that are transcendent to consciousness, revealing themselves both from an epistemic perspective, as fallible realities, and also from an existential perspective as inert realities, unable to make any determination in the life of consciousness.

    It was also necessary to reveal the crucially active aspect of emotions, which are not doomed to passive condition of expression. According to Sartre, emotions introduce an element of modulation to the meanings of how worldly objects present themselves to consciousness, softening, bypassing, or adapting to adversity. Sartre provides a very simple example of this plasticity: when perceiving that a bunch of grapes is not, after all, at hand, reachable, consciousness transforms its relationship with the world emotionally. The bunch of grapes becomes less attractive — now, it is just a bunch of unripe grapes.

    Another example: an emotion like joy is a foretaste of the fruition that the overcoming of distances and adversity will bring, and sadness translates an inhibited relationship to the world, thus inhibiting adversities that potentiate frustration. This plastic modulation changes not so much the world in its objective adversity, but the way we live it. As the past has no power over the present, it excludes mental causation, as it excludes any other form of determinism over shifting consciousness.

    For instance, an unconscious drive of consciousness. This teleologism establishes a not-yet-existent future as value and as meaning of all motives and mobiles of action. An enlightening example by Sartre:. On the contrary, there are several elements that point to a Sartrean deontological perspective. But not as Kant conceptualises it. Not as a rule, an imperative, that should be obeyed by the will.

    I will develop this hypothesis — namely, that there is a deontological ethic in Sartre, in spite of its irreducibility, even strangeness, to Kantian deontology. The rather famous example Sartre exposes in his conference Is Existentialism a Humanism? Shortly put, radical choices , deep rooted in reality, instead of categorical imperatives , or any other ethics based on obeying a rule. In the example, the conflict is between the values related to caring for an ill mother who needs her son to be close-by, and the values related to the freedom of peoples in a context of war that requires men to fight far away from their homes.

    This is a radical choice in the sense that it organises all other choices. Sole subjectivity has to choose in a singular concrete situation that, at the same time, is as if it were for all men. In the words of Sartre:. This universality obviously echoes Kantian categorical imperative.

    After all, Sartre, like Kant, aims at universality by declaring that by being responsible, actors are responsible for all men. But between the two perspectives there is a major difference, I would dare say a tremendous one. Kant restrains individual action to the ethically required imperative consideration of universality.

    Quite the opposite, for Sartre, universality is not a constraining condition but the co-extensive result — emerging from — of the radicality of singular choice. Paris: Gallimard, On peut la trouver dans Flaubert , par exemple. The idea, in summary, is that individuals reflect the universal features of their time and, conversely, that the universals of an age are realised concretely and singularly by individuals.

    Sartre , Summed up and for this reason universalised by his epoch, he in turn resumes it by reproducing himself in it as singularity.

    The Philosophy of Sartre The Philosophy of Sartre
    The Philosophy of Sartre The Philosophy of Sartre
    The Philosophy of Sartre The Philosophy of Sartre
    The Philosophy of Sartre The Philosophy of Sartre
    The Philosophy of Sartre The Philosophy of Sartre

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