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Re: [Sartre] Ethics

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  • anjo3jantz@aol.com
    Joe -- Love is a unifying presence in human life. When it comes to this, it doesn t matter if one believes in god. An atheist can experience love just as
    Message 1 of 8 , Mar 21 4:31 PM
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      Joe --

      Love is a unifying presence in human life. When it comes to this, it doesn't
      matter if one believes in god. An atheist can experience love just as
      strongly as a theist.

      Yes, it is possible to paint a picture of the cliche existentialist living
      his doomed, dreary, depressing existence in a gray/black world without
      meaning or purpose. But such a picture is inaccurate and unfair, and I'm
      surprised, Joe, that someone who knows as much about existentialism as you do
      would resort to such a thing.

      Similarly, Christianity may be misrepresented. Some people would say that
      Christianity has nothing to offer a happy man living in a natural,
      intelligible universe, because there would be no need for redemption.
      Christianity has a vested interest in human misery. Just as Christianity
      must destroy reason before it can introduce faith, so it must destroy
      happiness before it can introduce salvation. Christianity may be said to be
      anti-life, because it says we are all worthless sinners and that earthly
      pleasure is a sin, and that this life is merely a prelude to the Life to
      Come. It's easy to paint such a picture of Christianity, because these
      tenets are explicit in its teachings, yet, it would be grossly unfair,
      limiting and inadequate to define Christianity by these things, just as was
      your portrayal of existentialism.

      By the way, I too have stood on both sides of the fence.

      Regards,
      Andrew


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    • decker150
      To Andrew. Right, it was clear to me that your viewpoints are conflicted by your own double background; but it seems you have the upperhand on the former life
      Message 2 of 8 , Mar 22 8:40 AM
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        To Andrew. Right, it was clear to me that your viewpoints are
        conflicted by your own double background; but it seems you have the
        upperhand on the former life you lived.

        I am not a Christian apologist, so most of your references to
        Christianity-as-flawed go in one ear out the other.

        The picture I portrayed of existentialism is only borrowed from the
        master existentialist Sartre who should really be given the proper
        credit. I have only parroted his perspective as a characterization
        of what it can be for the atheist condition; they claim to suffer you
        know. Mayby that natural human love you have has freed you
        somewhat from the dark side of the existential
        condition, no?

        You speak of love in a way that Sartre might not have.

        Joe
      • anjo3jantz@aol.com
        Joe -- As I m sure you know, few of Sartre s literary and dramatic characters are intended to be living ideals. What he is exploring is how people who are in
        Message 3 of 8 , Mar 22 1:36 PM
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          Joe --
          As I'm sure you know, few of Sartre's literary and dramatic characters are
          intended to be living ideals. What he is exploring is how people who are in
          crisis situations respond, what sort of choices they make, and the
          implications of these choices. For it is in crisis situations that people
          are often forced to examine their own lives and make profound choices.

          Nowhere, to my knowledge, does Sartre say that because we live in a godless,
          indifferent universe that we should all be sitting around crying in our
          beers. Does he assert that to confront our own freedom provokes anxiety and
          dread? You bet, but this is part of the price he believes one pays to truly
          grasp freedom and authenticity, and in any case this is hardly unique to
          Sartre but is in fact shared by all the existentialists beginning with
          Kierkegaard.

          I'm curious: if you find Sartre's brand of existentialism so repugnant, why
          do you bother to read him, or participate in a Sartre discussion group?

          Regards,
          Andrew


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        • decker150
          I read Sartre and continue to read him because he attempts, like Heidegger to eliminate the transcendent from the structure of being. The idea they represent
          Message 4 of 8 , Mar 22 7:26 PM
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            I read Sartre and continue to read him because he attempts, like
            Heidegger to eliminate the transcendent from the structure of
            being. The idea they represent in my mind is an attempt to reduce
            the ontology to immanant concerns which is definable by the
            thereness of the immediate world. I appreciate the skill and the
            discipline involved in such an enterprise, but the dialectic has not
            suddenly ceased and we're all now just a bunch of guppies to be fed
            from their mouths. The thousand and thousands of years, the
            prevailing ontology has been the metaphysics that embraced the
            supernatural, the mystical and the claims of divine intervention.
            I'm not willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater and so
            easily dismiss that long tradition. The discipline stands on its
            own critical merits and I appreciate what they were able to do, just
            as they drew off Immanual Kant, Husserl, and all the other
            forerunners of existential thought. They both represent a meta-
            physics, which is what allows me to imagine that the humanities is
            still alive. I appreciate those within the humanities, atheist or
            theist; the artist, the poets, the philosophers, the music, the
            heart, the rhapsodic speech of living being, the openess to
            unimaginable possibilities, the joy of being and of having some
            direction in which to celebrate it, to have someone, somewhere to
            say 'thank you'. I don't see an anti life principle, but just an
            openess to the possibility of the impossible. To have something
            that great to love.

            It is the finite loving the infinite - a love for that unknown - Joe
          • Chris Bell
            Thank you for this. Though I see nothing dark or void or hopeless in atheism I can appreciate how a deist might and much like your other contributions to this
            Message 5 of 8 , Mar 22 7:28 PM
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              Thank you for this. Though I see nothing dark or void
              or hopeless in atheism I can appreciate how a deist
              might and much like your other contributions to this
              forum, you explained this clearly and concisely. I
              also appreciate that you state that 'through faith'
              you do no accept the conclusion that there is not
              divinity. One of the stumbling blocks most believers
              trip over is the idea that faith alone is a bad thing
              and that they need to find some rationale or
              justification for their beliefs, a stumbling block
              that any atheist can never get past, demanding that to
              be a logical, reasoning being demands a denial of the
              divine. While I personally have no beleif in God or
              gods, I don't think any less of individuals who choose
              to take that leap of faith and all I ask in return is
              the same respect for my beliefs, or lack thereof when
              it comes to the existance of whichever diety you've chosen.

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            • anjo3jantz@aol.com
              Just as a footnote to Tommy s excellent response on the ethical question: I disagree that Sartre, in Being and Nothingness , denies the possibility of an
              Message 6 of 8 , Jun 18, 2003
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                Just as a footnote to Tommy's excellent response on the ethical question:

                I disagree that Sartre, in "Being and Nothingness", denies the possibility
                of an ethical system. He does deny that such a system can be formulated by
                ontology alone, in and of itself, or that there are universal absolutes of
                morality provided by something outside human existence, i.e., God. Rather, he says,
                man is the unique source of values, and that these values are no less valid
                for having their origin in man. Freedom brings responsibility. At the end of B&
                N he raises a number of questions and then states: "All these questions...can
                find their reply only on the ethical plane. We shall devote to them a future
                work."

                Unfortunately, he never completed such a work, though in the late '40s he
                made extensive notes towards it. These notebooks were published posthumously by
                the University of Chicago Press -- a 500 page book. By his own admission he
                also prepared drafts for an ethics during the '60s, though this (which
                apparantly is also hundreds of pages) has not been published. Some of the other
                existentialists did, however, write books on ethics (see, for example, de Beauvoir's
                "Ethics of Ambiguity" and Hazel Barnes' "An Existential Ethics"). Heidegger
                also addresses ethics in "Being and Time", though it is more implicit than
                explicit.

                Regards,
                Andrew



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              • Tommy Beavitt
                ... Thanks for that. You are absolutely correct. Tommy -- Join us at Communicationalism, the attempt to find a basis for ethics in communication rather than
                Message 7 of 8 , Jun 18, 2003
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                  At 8:50 am -0400 18/6/03, anjo3jantz@... wrote:
                  >I disagree that Sartre, in "Being and Nothingness", denies the possibility
                  >of an ethical system. He does deny that such a system can be formulated by
                  >ontology alone, in and of itself, or that there are universal absolutes of
                  >morality provided by something outside human existence, i.e., God.
                  >Rather, he says,
                  >man is the unique source of values, and that these values are no less valid
                  >for having their origin in man. Freedom brings responsibility. At
                  >the end of B&
                  >N he raises a number of questions and then states: "All these questions...can
                  >find their reply only on the ethical plane. We shall devote to them a future
                  >work."

                  Thanks for that. You are absolutely correct.

                  Tommy
                  --
                  Join us at Communicationalism, the attempt to find a basis for ethics
                  in communication rather than survival
                  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/communicationalism/
                • Matthew Del Nevo
                  The problem with the ethical Sartreanis the lack of first principles signified by freedom. Sartre himself suffered this. He had a reaction to the situation
                  Message 8 of 8 , Jun 19, 2003
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                    The problem with the ethical Sartreanis the lack of first principles
                    signified by freedom. Sartre himself suffered this. He had a reaction to
                    the situation of his day and committed to this and that but there was
                    something arbitrary about it, this problem which dogged him, dogs his
                    written philosophy. Often he had to change sides or disassociate himself
                    with respect to humanitarianism, Communism, Stalinism, Maoism. But the
                    ethical Sartrean would not be a shiftless character, as witness Sartre and
                    de Beauvoir, neither of whom were that. He would be an intellectual and
                    this is particularly French because the
                    intellectual there, in a system which is stateist, in which culture is a
                    product of the state in that the state funds and protects it, stands out of
                    the state (while also a product of it) and with or against the people
                    (depending - this is where the ethics comes in). In Anglo-Saxon countries
                    this is not the
                    case and the intellectual hardly exists. We have the 'expert' which is
                    different, we have the academic which is different again, and we have the
                    populist blatantly capitalist media driving opinion. There is basically
                    not an intellectual culture in the New World or in England for that matter.
                    The
                    ethical Sartrean I think would have to be living in a Latin country or
                    perhaps South America.
                    Matthew

                    At 20:42 18/06/03 +0100, you wrote:
                    > At 8:50 am -0400 18/6/03, anjo3jantz@... wrote:
                    >>"" denies the possibility
                    >> He does deny that such a system can be formulated by
                    >>ontology alone, in and of itself, or that there are universal absolutes of
                    >>morality provided by something outside human existence, i.e., God.
                    >>Rather, he says,
                    >>man is the unique source of values, and that these values are no less valid
                    >>for having their origin in man. Freedom brings responsibility. At
                    >>&
                    >>"All these questions...can
                    >> We shall devote to them a future
                    >>"
                    >
                    > Thanks for that. You are absolutely correct.
                    >
                    > Tommy
                    > --
                    > Join us at Communicationalism, the attempt to find a basis for ethics
                    > in communication rather than survival
                    > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/communicationalism/
                    >
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