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Re: [Sartre] what is an example of a sartrean?

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  • Tommy Beavitt
    ... These are good questions. However we will have to be careful here and refine what we mean by a Sartrean . I suspect that where you are coming from is an
    Message 1 of 4 , Jun 18, 2003
      >What would an ethical Sartrean Look like? How would such a
      >person act in everyday activities and situations? How would a
      >Sartrean act compared with a Utilitarian, Marxist, and or Kantian
      >response?

      These are good questions. However we will have to be careful here and
      refine what we mean by a "Sartrean". I suspect that where you are
      coming from is an existentialist Sartrean, ie. one who takes his or
      her lead from the position articulated by the young Sartre in Being
      and Nothingness. Sartre retreated from that position and his later
      thinking was more inspired by Marxism than anything else.

      Let's take Sartre's existentialist position though and compare it
      with the other ethical systems you mention. Being and Nothingness
      does not clearly articulate an ethical position - indeed, it quite
      explicitly states that such a thing is impossible. However, the
      well-thought-through definitions of bad faith and authenticity do
      lend themselves to an ethical analysis, if only in the negative. Once
      we have accepted that to act "as if" one's being is one's essence,
      ie. a being in-itself, is to be in bad faith, inauthentic; then we
      cannot possibly base any ethical system on an essentialist position.

      That is the easy bit. Now we have to see if we can base a system of
      ethics on authentic behaviour. This is problematic. Other ethical
      systems, Utilitarianism in particular, ground themselves in the world
      of the They, the constructed social reality within which every
      individual finds him or herself. Utilitarianism assumes a definition
      of the person as one capable of feeling pleasure and pain. The
      greatest happiness for the greatest number of people is the good for
      Bentham/Mill's utilitarianism, but it can be seen that they don't
      trouble themselves too much with the essentialist/existentialist
      question. I think that early Sartre would have to reject
      utilitarianism's definition of the person as an example of the
      essentialist fallacy, of bad faith. Existentialism would also have to
      reject utilitarianism's definition of happiness. If man is condemned
      to be free, to have to bear the angst and nausea of being contingent,
      then man's happiness quotient eludes us as a good which can be
      referred to. Existentialists would have to reject any kind of
      "happiness" based on an inauthentic view of the self.

      I think it is natural that Sartre attempted to resolve this question
      through a move towards Marxism. We can accept that social personality
      is constructed - and this acceptance keeps us in good faith - but
      this doesn't mean that the basic health of the society within which
      such a constructed personality is contextualised can't be the subject
      of an ethical system. Later Sartre identified the enemy of such a
      society to be the efforts of capitalists to subjugate the working
      class to their profit-maximisation interest and the social good,
      therefore, to be that which raised consciousness of the class
      struggle and provided a means by which the working class could resist
      capital's attempt to reduce them to a thing in-itself.

      However, I would critique this position as follows: by adopting a
      dogmatic Marxist position (and all interpretations of Marx tend
      towards dogmatism) one is reducing the working class to a thing
      in-itself, a social actor in the class struggle, just as
      inauthentically as capitalists do.

      I feel that the "back to Kant" rallying cry has the answer to the
      post-existentialist ethical quandary. Kant's deontological ethical
      system is consistent with existentialism. It states that a person
      should never be merely used but should be acted towards "in such a
      way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in
      the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the
      same time as an end" ( Gr BA66 f. = 429). This is consistent with
      saying that to act as if a person was a thing in-itself is to be in
      bad faith.

      I argue that deontological existentialism places the "good" in the
      quality of communication between Self and Other (communicationalism),
      each becoming increasingly aware of the being-for-itself status of
      his or her protagonist. As deontological existentialists we have to
      applaud any action that recognises the freedom of the Other and the
      consequent ability for the Other to constitute him or herself as he
      or she sees fit. This is still a good, even when it leads to
      "unhappiness". It is better, as a Sartrean, to be authentically
      miserable than inauthentically "happy".

      Tommy Beavitt
      --
      Join us at Communicationalism, the attempt to find a basis for ethics
      in communication rather than survival
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/communicationalism/
    • sputnik_sweetheart
      Leon: Hi. I m interested with your last post. What do you mean by analytic tradition ?what s wrong with it? I, too, is planning to shift my course at the
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 23, 2003
        Leon:

        Hi. I'm interested with your last post. What do you mean by "analytic tradition"?what's wrong with it?

        I, too, is planning to shift my course at the gradute school to philosophy. Well, can you guys give some advice on how to handle tha rudiments of the discipline (I'm 22 years old). I want to concentrate on phenomenology especially the writings of Heidegger, Hussrl, and Sartre.

        Thanks. Have a nice day, guys!

        mwah,

        ogiebraga





        �Though it was at my heart�s bidding that I chose the universe wherein I delight, I have at least the power of finding in it the many meanings I wish to find."-Jean Genet, The Thief�s Journal



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      • Leon McQuaid
        Well... first of all, never take anything I say as a golden rule. But, I go to a school that is kinda half analytic half Continental. Basically (very
        Message 3 of 4 , Jun 25, 2003
          Well... first of all, never take anything I say as a golden rule. But, I go
          to a school that is kinda half analytic half Continental. Basically (very
          basically) there are two current schools of philosophy going around today:
          The two I just mentioned. The philosophers of the continental school...
          like the ones you mentioned you would like to study, tend to deal with more
          broad matters concerning far reaching philosophies and more or less try to
          lead to a method of interpreting the world. Most these methods give a lot
          of credence to subjective interpretation and give little respect to rigorous
          logical (at least compared to analytic schools) and scientific 'truths'. It
          seems that in analytic thought, the virtues of truth preservation and the
          laws of logical inference are capable of giving a cohesive world outlook.

          The best example I could think of is the question "what is truth"
          Answer: The analytic 1: That which makes a true statement.
          "What makes a true statement?"
          Analytic1: that which can make a verifiably true or false statement.

          Analytic 2: Truth is a word witch stands in to summate a particular belief
          in the world.

          "What is truth?"
          Continental 1: Truth is a cultural fabrication.
          Continental 2: Truth is Being

          I think the biggest complaint about continental Phil. is that it can be seen
          as lofty and unrealistic. The reply ofcourse would be something like "The
          analytic tratdition is steeped in scientic ideology".

          Anyone have anything to correct or add?


          >From: sputnik_sweetheart <ogiebraga@...>
          >Reply-To: Sartre@yahoogroups.com
          >To: Sartre@yahoogroups.com
          >Subject: [Sartre] Leon and others
          >Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2003 20:49:06 -0700 (PDT)
          >
          >Leon:
          >
          >Hi. I'm interested with your last post. What do you mean by "analytic
          >tradition"?what's wrong with it?
          >
          >I, too, is planning to shift my course at the gradute school to philosophy.
          >Well, can you guys give some advice on how to handle tha rudiments of the
          >discipline (I'm 22 years old). I want to concentrate on phenomenology
          >especially the writings of Heidegger, Hussrl, and Sartre.
          >
          >Thanks. Have a nice day, guys!
          >
          >mwah,
          >
          >ogiebraga
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >�Though it was at my heart�s bidding that I chose the universe wherein I
          >delight, I have at least the power of finding in it the many meanings I
          >wish to find."-Jean Genet, The Thief�s Journal
          >
          >
          >
          >---------------------------------
          >Do you Yahoo!?
          >SBC Yahoo! DSL - Now only $29.95 per month!
          >
          >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >
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