Actually, Sartre was not a great proponent of free will; he admitted many
times in the 50s & 60s that he'd altered his views from his B&N period. We're
always restricted by custom & circumstance. (We can pretend we are not, but
then that's bad faith.)
He made the point about Flaubert. Flaubert's bourgeois upbringing left some
avenues closed to him. Flaubert could've been a mediocre country doctor, he
could've been a clergyman, & then he could've been, as Sartre said,
"Flaubert." Sartre also cited in his "Search for Method" the incident of the
black RAF airplane mechanic who stole a plane, flew across the English
Channel, & was arrested & court-martialed. In the RAF, a black man could
never be a pilot, & this was the man's only chance to fly a plane.
Although we can, as idealists, decry the social restrictions that preclude
people from fulfilling dreams, it is as Sartre might've said a brute reality
that such restrictions are made. Should we choose to ignore them & "break the
law," then we're stuck with the consequence of that action.
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