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68Re: More Colours of the Rainbow

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  • T Brooks
    Aug 30, 1999
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      >I'm not sure which of Sartre's publications you mean. I've looked through
      >my bibliography, and wonder whether your refer to 'Esquisse d'une theorie
      >des emotions'?

      Yes, I refer, as I have said, to J-P Sartre. "Existentialism and Human
      Emotions." New York: Philosophical Library, 1957.

      >As to the comment you attribute to Sartre, wouldn't he be guilty of Bad
      >Faith if he believed that right and wrong even existed?

      "We always choose *the good*, and nothing can be *good* for us without
      being *good* for all ... [a]s a result, my action has involved all humanity
      [emphasis added]" (Sartre 1957: 17).

      >After all, to adopt such an attitude is to claim there are a set of
      > >absolute moral principles against which he can judge the actions of
      > >another person and his own. And yet in Existentialisme est un >humanisme
      >he said the following:
      >'The existentialist ... finds it extremely embarrassing that God >does not
      >exist, for there disappears with Him all possibility of >finding values in
      >an intelligible heaven. There can no longer be any >good a priori since
      >there is no infinite and perfect consciousness >to think it. It is no where
      >written that "the good" exists, that one >must be honest or must not lie,
      >since we are now on a plane where >there are only men.' (P33)
      >'...Even if my choice is determined by no a priori value whatever, it can
      >have nothing to do with caprice ... it is impossible for [a man]... not to
      >take full responsibility' (P48, Mairet translation)
      >It is this issue of taking responsibility for my choices which is taxing me
      >at the moment.
      >Charles Vermont
      >London, England

      Your points are fine, but with my comments above and what follows, you still
      can not simply do whatever you like:

      "[T]he subjectivity that we have thus arrived at, and which we have claimed
      to be truth, is not a strictly individual subjectivity, for we have
      demonstrated that one discovers in the *cogito* not only himself [sic], but
      others as well ... He realizes that he can not be anything ... unless others
      recognize it as such [gotta love those Hegelian overtones] [emphasis given]"
      (Sartre 1957: 37). In other words, man is not necessarily the measure of
      everything (to play with Protagoras). Sartre was not a strict atomist. He
      believed in the "intersubjectivity (p.38) of the person. (pp.40-48 give
      additional reasons as to why the person has certain constraints to

      Sure. Ultimately the person is free to do whatever s/he wants, but s/he may
      be wrong. We may make bad choices. And these can be identified by other

      I may well be wrong. If I am, please help me clarify my misunderstanding.

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