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60056Re: Problems with bad faith

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  • Mary
    Jul 12, 2013
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      Jim,

      I've been thinking about Charles Dickens' character William Dorrit. Even as a man deprived of his physical liberty, he still had the opportunity to exercise authenticity. Instead, he played to the hilt his role as Father of the Marshalsea, a significant gentleman who merely had fallen on bad times. While coyly soliciting 'testimonials' from visitors and ignoring the fact that his daughter Amy worked to support their entire family's needs in the debtors' prison, he demonstrated bad faith. He refused to face the anguish of nothingness which his situation conferred on him.

      I suppose self-deception can be justified for keeping one's sanity, but that doesn't change the fact that it's deception or that others will regard you as deluded. When Dorrit's fortune was reversed, and he tried to leave his past behind, he once again hid behind class and denied his faithful daughter the former affection she well deserved. It wasn't until he suffered the loss of ego brought on by physical affliction that he returned, however briefly, to the relationship with her which was the foundation of his existence. Self-deception denies your very being to the world of others.


      Mary
      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
      >
      > Mary,
      >
      > That's a good point. It seems only logical that I should regard myself in the same way that I regard others. So either I should say I am free and you (and everyone else) is free, or I should say I am not free and you (and the others) are not free also. Anything else is irrationality.
      >
      > To credit you with freedom is to show a fundamental respect for you, and conversely to deny that you are free is to disrespect you in a fundamental way.
      >
      > By coincidence, I have just finished reading Philip Pettit's book "A Theory of Freedom" in preparation for a reading group next week. He seems to make a similar point to you, in that my own freedom depends partly on how others in my community treat me. I can only be free if other people treat me as a free, rational person whose opinions and preferences should be given equal weight along with others.
      >
      > So to develop Sartre's point in the direction you have suggested, I should both fully acknowledge my own freedom and fully acknowledge your freedom: For my freedom depends on you, and your freedom depends on me.
      >
      > I'm still not convinced, though, that anguish is a necessary ingredient in the mix. Perhaps Sartre was writing at a time when social roles were more fixed – an environment where certain things were expected of you by your family and community. We have had the 60's since Sartre was writing, and people today (in the West) are less pressurized to take up expected roles than in the 40's and 50's when Sartre was writing his main works.
      >
      > So the thought of breaking out of one's expected social role was more of a big thing in Sartre's day than now – so it was more a source of anguish that it is today.
      >
      > Jim
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mary" <josephson45r@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Jim & eduard,
      > >
      > > In addition to the difficulty posed by assuming that every person experiences self-deception is the problem of what one believes about the freedom to choose. Even Beauvoir disagreed with Sartre's hard line towards freedom. She felt freedom was situational but agreed with him that my own freedom to choose is related to the freedom of others to do so. Perhaps the problem with accepting the possibility of self-deception is directly related to a denial or disinterest in the freedom of others.
      > >
      > > In other words, I might deny my own freedom because I don't care about anyone else's. On the other hand, perhaps only my freedom is of interest so there is no anguish. I do whatever I choose without regard to others. Freedom isn't an issue for the latter, so it isn't bad faith. Only the former is bad faith, because I probably still value my freedom but deny it because I've denied it to others. In the first there is a denial even of the anguish; in the second there is no question of freedom. It's a given.
      > >
      > > What would be an example of self-deception other than Sartre's? Am I free to choose? If not, then bad faith is a lousy concept. If nothingness is not, then so are freedom to choose and bad faith. I submit that to deny our own freedom and that of others, as well as to reject anguish, is to admit total defeat at the hands of the powerful who have only their own freedom in mind. If one's person's freedom depends on the loss of others' freedom, there is none for anybody; there is no freedom to talk about at all. There's merely Will.
      > >
      > > Mary
      > >
      >
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