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RE: [Sartre] introduction

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  • awhit@sprynet.com
    I believe that in any given moment we do possess radical freedom; which is to say, in any given moment I can be a hero or a coward, altruistic or selfish. A
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 24, 2000
      I believe that in any given moment we do possess radical freedom; which is to say, in any
      given moment I can be a hero or a coward, altruistic or selfish. A person can even, in
      a moment's time (and in the heat of the moment), redeem, at least partially, a life time of cowardice by doing something brave. What Tommy Beavitt is, I think alluding to, is over a longer time frame. First of all, if I decide that I'm going to do a brave thing tomorrow I may well revert to my usual cowardice by the time tomorrow arrives. And, in a second sense, if I've been a cold,distant and unemotional person for my whole life it's going to be difficult (though in such a matter I don't think we can ever say impossible) for me to become a warm and caring person. And I think there's some truth in this, though it must be remembered that such a person has become so cold and distant because, in part, they've spent a whole lifetime choosing to be that way in the first place and may have, as such, willed away the tools they would need to be warm and caring. Also, just because it might be very difficult for such a person to become warm and caring per se (they may even lack the!
      social graces or behavorial repertoire to do so), this isn't to say that they can't become warmer and more caring.


      ----Original Message-----
      >From: "Russell, J. Michael" <jmrussell@...>
      >To: "'Sartre@egroups.com'" <Sartre@egroups.com>
      >Cc: "Russell, J. Michael" <jmrussell@...>
      >Subject: RE: [Sartre] introduction
      >Reply-To: Sartre@egroups.com
      >Date: Thursday, April 20, 2000 12:08 PM
      >Welcome, Tommy Beavitt.
      >While I think there is something to what you have asserted here, I would
      >want to earmark some points, some terms, for extra caution. We don't make
      >choices in a vacuum, and there are all sorts of factual limitations on what
      >we can do, including facts about our history. For all that, character isn't
      >a something with a literal shape or momentum, nor a matter of destiny. I
      >think Sartre retreated unnecessarily from his radical portrait of freedom,
      >in Being & Nothingness, to his efforts to give more weight to how we are
      >constituted by our (social) situation, in his later work. The philosophical
      >tools were there all along (in B&N) for providing a balance between allowing
      >that we are, indeed, in a world, and that at each moment we must take up our
      >circumstances and make something of them.
      >I have edited your original message:
      >-----Original Message-----
      >From: Tommy Beavitt [mailto:tommy@...]
      >Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2000 4:16 AM .....
      >Hi all you existentialists .....
      >If anyone would like to comment on the following statement (my thought for
      >the day) from a Sartrean perspective as a way of welcoming me to this list I
      >would be most honoured!
      >"It is wrong to suppose that a person's character is infinitely malleable
      >and capable of reconstituting itself to face any situation. In fact, certain
      >aspects of peoples' characters get locked in as they progress towards their
      >destiny, becoming mutually incompatible with other aspects that may be
      >necessary in order for the individual to reconstitute him or herself to face
      >a given situation."
      >Tommy Beavitt
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