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60055Re: [existlist] Re: Sartre's "Ego"

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  • eduardathome
    Jul 11, 2013
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      Jim,

      The “speaker” example is in ....

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Being_and_Nothingness

      But let’s consider Sartre’s example of the waiter ....
      Sartre cites a café waiter, whose movements and conversation are a little too "waiter-esque". His voice oozes with an eagerness to please; he carries food rigidly and ostentatiously; "his movement is quick and forward, a little too precise, a little too rapid".[3] His exaggerated behaviour illustrates that he is play acting as a waiter, as an object in the world: an automaton whose essence is to be a waiter. But that he is obviously acting belies that he is aware that he is not (merely) a waiter, but is rather consciously deceiving himself.[4]
      If there is bad faith, then the bad is the harm that one does to oneself. In a sense, it is a matter of deceiving oneself.

      So what does Sartre do in this example. He first makes his observation of the waiter’s behaviour ... the exaggerated behaviour. Then he makes an assumption ... that the waiter is acting as an object in the world: an automaton whose essence is to be a waiter. And since this is a definition of bad faith, Sartre can conclude ... voila, this waiter is acting in bad faith. Sartre’s assumption proves true.

      It is as if the examples were about people who are secretly crooks. Sartre could make the premise that people who have exaggerated behaviours are crooks. So he looks around and notices the waiter whose movements that are a little too “waiter-esque”. Voila, this is an example of a waiter who is a crook. The waiter example is a bad example because Sartre a priori defines the waiter as having bad faith in order to give an example of bad faith.

      And yes, he is saying that all waiters who have exaggerated behaviour and are a bit too waiter-esque are manifesting bad faith. The basis of his assumption is specifically because of exaggerated behaviour. Sartre doesn’t separate out this particular waiter from the other thousands of waiters who might have similar behaviour. In the example of the speaker there is even less to distinguish this speaker from say the 350,000 other good [I presume] speakers of church congregations in the US. It is just that he/she is a good speaker and playing at being a speaker that concludes bad faith.
      The good speaker is the one who plays at speaking because he cannot be speaking. This literally means that, like the café waiter, the speaker is not his condition or social categorization, but is a speaker consumed by bad faith.
      You state, “It isn't the role a person takes up which is associated with bad faith, it is rather the attitude the person has to their role”. But that is precisely my objection to the example. It is Sartre himself who gives the mauvais attitude to the waiter. Just as he prescribes an attitude to good speakers and women on first dates.

      It might be worth while to discuss why bad faith is bad. So what if the waiter is acting out the role of a waiter?? It certainly seems to upset Sartre, but how is it bad for the waiter?? So what if he is acting as an automaton whose essence is to be a waiter??

      eduard

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Jim
      Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2013 1:51 AM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [existlist] Re: Sartre's "Ego"

      Eduard,

      Thank you for your post.

      I am not aware of what Sartre says about somebody delivering a speech, but I would be surprised if he is saying that everybody who delivers a speech is manifesting bad faith.

      As I read him he is not saying every waiter manifests bad faith, or every homosexual, or even everybody who is ambitious for success. It isn't the role a person takes up which is associated with bad faith, it is rather the attitude the person has to their role.

      I think, as Mary says, Sartre is saying everyone of us suffers anguish because we struggle to cope with the vertigo of extreme freedom. McCulloch criticises Sartre on this point as it doesn't seem that everybody is continually experiencing anguish about their freedom.

      Jim




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