Jean-Paul Sartre's Ethics Of Ambiguity

1391 Words6 Pages
How should one live? It is impossible to say that everyone should live according to the same philosophy. One such claim could never be adequately defended. Rather, each person must confront life’s vastly different circumstances. For instance, Frankl lived through the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp, where a modern day college student is faced with the challenges of dorm life. Undoubtedly, these two individual’s will have different perspectives on life. However, there are guiding principles that every person should abide by. In this paper I will analyze Jean-Paul Sartre’s Bad Faith and Simone de Beauvoir’s Ethics of Ambiguity. I will come to the conclusion that everyone should follow two important guidelines. First, one must avoid living…show more content…
According to Sartre there are many forms of Bad Faith. The most popular example is the story of the waiter. In this story the waiter is convinced that he must continue working because he needs money. Relegated to the job of a waiter, the man begins to talk and act differently. The man is doing his best impression of a waiter, to the extent of losing his true essence. Furthermore, the man convinces himself that his ultimate destiny in life is being a waiter. This decision feels ‘right’ to the man because he has convinced himself that he has no other choice than to work (Sartre, Being and Nothingness). This is the crux of Bad Faith. When committing an act in Bad Faith one always has freedom to choose something else. However, in Bad Faith, one keeps these alternate possibilities out of mind in order to avoid the realization that we are more free than we say we are (Sartre: On Bad Faith, Youtube video). While Bad Faith is not literally lying to yourself but rather the act of subconsciously suspending freedom of choice. Ultimately, Bad Faith feels right because it lets one off the hook for making tough decisions and taking responsibility for one’s life. Living in Bad Faith is inauthentic and self-deceiving, for that reason it must be avoided to live a meaningful…show more content…
Beauvoir lists several types of roles such as “infantile adults” and “serious man”. An “infantile adult” is somebody that obsesses over superficial issues and refuses to partake in matters associated with adulthood. A “serious man” takes their job title or family role too serious. Furthermore, a “serious man” places their job description above all else, often times at the expense of common sense. These roles, Beauvoir says, are used to circumvent the difficult decisions that come with freedom. Beauvoir emphasized that one must be an active participant in freedom. There will always be temptation to fall into roles. In order to remain consistent with yourself you must be constantly revolutionizing yourself. One must not “fall into a rut” or “rest on your laurels”, you must live in a state of permanent
Open Document