Re: Sartre and Religion
- --- In Sartre@yahoogroups.com, "scarey1917" <scarey1917@y...> wrote:
>Hi scarey - good to hear from you again!
You write approvingly of the following statement:
<<<<I do not know why Sartre is assuming that being created or
is inconsistent with being free.>>>>>
The later Sartre (e.g. as reported in Beauvoir's 'Adeau S. Sarte')
found his early views on freedom preposterous and worked to identify
and describe the extent to which we are determined and the forces
that limit our freedom. However, he never changed his mind on the
subject of the non-existence of a creator.
When you quote Engels, I assume you are referring to his critique of
Aristotelian logic, which only allows for q or not q and has no place
for a developmental stage between q and not q. (A much quoted example
is that a man is either bald or not bald; dialectical logic allows
for what you call the middle ground - a developmental stage between
the two extremes.
I suspect however that Sartre's unflinching emphasis on total freedom
in B&N is more influenced by the historical circumstances behind the
genesis of the work than metaphysical thinking. At the time of
writing, france (and a large part of Europe) was under Nazi
occupation and Sartre worked on many fronts to emphasise human
freedom:e.g Philosophy - Being and Nothingness, literature - The
Flies, political activity - his resistance group Socialism and
- That's an interesting point you made. Sorry I haven't able to respond, I've been really busy lately. "Menal life" is pretty accurate, considering that "consciousness" is very vague when you hear about it. As far as Man being "naturally violent" I think this is inherently true. It's like most of us have to rely on the rules and laws of society keep us from "giving in", while others can draw that control within themselves. I don't know if that particular topic can inspire an interesting discussion, but I would like somebody who's well-versed in Sartre to respond to this while referencing some of his texts.
scarey1917 <scarey1917@...> wrote: "theoryphil2004" wrote:<<<<<<<So there is no inconsistency in being
created and being free. There is only an inconsistency between being
an inanimate object such as a paper-knife and being free...The other
criticism that might be levied at Sartre is to question whether his
rejection of human nature is warranted or not.>>>>>>>>>
And it gets even more complicated, Theoryphil. In the last paragraph
of E&HE Sartre states that "Existentialism is nothing else than an
attempt to draw all the consequences of a coherent atheistic
position." But then a few lines later he says: "Existentialism isn't
so atheistic that it wears itself out showing that God doesn't exist.
Rather, it declares that even if God did exist, that would change
nothing." So evidently even if the supreme artificer created us, we
are still stuck down here with our unsupportable total freedom,
including the freedom to tell God to go jump in the lake! We decide
the significane of God, just as we decide the ultimate significance
of things, situations, and ourselves.
And don't think that a view of human nature as a "given" or even the
acceptance of the "unconscious" mind would be a problem for Sartre's
theory of freedom, as long as such nature or mind were relegated to
the side of the Situation which the for-itself freely takes up, or
not. So for example one could argue from Sartre's point of view that
man is "naturally violent", but then go on to say that this "given"
receives existential significance within the project of the for-
itself (I decide to give in, or not, to these given tendencies).
In "Being and Nothingness" the ultimate problem is Sartre's total
identification of man with consciousness, which of course is the
influence of Descartes and modern philosophy. But consciousness is
only one aspect (a very interesting aspect!) of man's total being. As
Marx said, consciousness is the consciousness OF an objective being.
Lately I have prefered the term "mental life" rather
than "consciousness", since the former would take into account all
the various unconciousness functions that make up about 99% of brain
activity and which belong to the being of man.
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