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

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  • eduardathome
    Jim, I say it as I see it. The example is for mauvais foi on the part of the waiter. Sartre also has the example of the public speaker. “The good speaker is
    Message 1 of 171 , Jul 10, 2013
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      Jim,

      I say it as I see it.

      The example is for mauvais foi on the part of the waiter. Sartre also has the example of the public speaker.

      “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.”

      In each case, the person is doing what they are supposed to be doing. Albeit the waiter is performing his role with more precision etc.. But there is nothing wrong with that. One could say that Bill Gates did things over the general norm as well. Was Bill Gates acting in mauvais foi?? Perhaps one might say that Barack Obama was acting in mauvais foi in climbing the political ladder to be President.

      The speaker is a particularly bad example. In any given day, there are probably 10,000 or more speakers [for conferences and such] in North America. Hartford Institute estimates there are roughly 350,000 religious congregations in the United States. Each has a speaker. So Sartre would say that at least 350,000 speakers in this category are in mauvais foi. That’s a lot of people.

      Sartre has to make assumptions about the waiter [the waiter is frightened by his extreme freedom] in order to make his conclusion work. But perhaps the waiter is relying upon this freedom by working better than average so that he can perhaps move up to the position of Maitre’d. Or perhaps he is looking forward to possibly owning his own restaurant and since he is known by his clients as exceptional, he might be able to bring them with him. Like a doctor opening up his own practice and bringing his list of patients with him.

      I can appreciate the idea of ultimate freedom. And perhaps there is such a thing as mauvais foi. But so far we do not have a good description for real people living real lives.

      eduard


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Jim
      Sent: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 8:06 AM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [existlist] Re: Sartre's "Ego"

      Eduard,

      It seems Sartre cannot win with you. Either he is saying something simple and obvious which we all know anyway or he is saying something complicated which cannot be understood.

      The Hazel Barnes quote which Mary has posted is relevant to Sartre's waiter example.

      Sartre is saying that the waiter is frightened by his extreme freedom – hence her talk of the vertigo we can feel when we realize that nothing holds up our lives and we can change direction at the drop of a hat.

      The waiter fails to deal with his freedom so he resorts to identifying himself with his past and his current role – as a waiter.

      Recall this is Sartre's own example to illustrate a point. He is not talking about some real character, nor is he saying all waiters are like this.

      Yes, Sartre has a different role – that of an author, but Sartre will not necessarily identify with his role – his being in-itself - as his mythical waiter does.

      Sartre's concern is to examine how we can deceive ourselves about the extent of our freedom. When we deceive ourselves, like Sartre's three mythical characters do, we fall into bad faith. But this is not inevitable, according to Sartre, we are capable of living with the vertigo of extreme freedom, and taking responsibility for our lives and our actions.

      Jim






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    • daveylee40
      It seems to me that we are limited to the qualities and capacities of humanness as supplied by the natural state of being human. Other than that, I personally
      Message 171 of 171 , Aug 25, 2013
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        It seems to me that we are limited to the qualities and capacities of humanness as supplied by the natural state of being human. Other than that, I personally cannot conceive of a fixed nature or essence.

        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mary" <josephson45r@...> wrote:
        >
        > No congratulations from Sartre unless I understand how I am being in-itself and being for-itself. Since I'm sufficiently satisfied with my grasp of Sartre's Bad Faith, I'm now going to spend some time with how Sartre explains what he considers the 'correct' view of in-itself for being human. What for Sartre is fixed as human essence other than existence, nothing, and freedom?
        >
        > Mary
        >
        > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduardathome <yeoman@> wrote:
        >
        > > Sartre could encounter the waiter whilst serving the table and ask "what are
        > > you??"
        > >
        > > "I'm a waiter"
        > >
        > > "Aha ... and obvious case of mauvais foi". "But, what are you besides a
        > > waiter??"
        > >
        > > "I'm a father of a family"
        > >
        > > "Still mauvais foi ... a sad case". "I mean, underneath, besides these
        > > particular roles??"
        > >
        > > "Of course, I am a human being".
        > >
        > > "Congratulations".
        > >
        > > eduard
        > >
        > > -----Original Message-----
        > > From: Mary
        > > Sent: Saturday, July 20, 2013 10:28 AM
        > > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        > > Subject: [existlist] Fixed nature
        > >
        > > We reject labels which identify us as essentially one particular thing. I am
        > > not my job, so whichever occupation I choose or find myself in and
        > > regardless of the education and training it requires, I am still not that
        > > position/role/job in-itself. It is this idea of having a fixed nature, a
        > > something in-itself, which Sartre opposes. We are being for-itself and
        > > either struggle or recoil at the thought of having the freedom of not having
        > > an identity (an in-itself) so we find ourselves in the 'project' or
        > > condition of bad faith. Sartre thinks our nature is to desire a fixed
        > > nature. But this is further complicated by the fact that others tend to
        > > label us as having a fixed nature.
        > >
        > > If I say you, eduard, are essentially a positivist or a reductionist or
        > > whatever, you reject this because you feel you are not that. If I say you
        > > are an electrical engineer, you're more likely to say this is true, but are
        > > you really only or strictly what your job entails? Aren't you first eduard,
        > > a human being who thinks and does many things besides his job? Aren't your
        > > ideas and ways of being constantly changing? To say that you perform your
        > > job/role as an electrical engineer means you are not strictly that block of
        > > identity. Even if you were to change careers, you wouldn't strictly be that
        > > new identity either. You would be free to be more than just that. Sartre
        > > means that all jobs are equal only in the sense that we still would not be
        > > identified strictly with what we do.
        > >
        > > To say I am not *that* means I am not merely a being in-itself. But it's
        > > more complicated, because if there weren't some facticity about being human,
        > > we wouldn't be able to negate it and be a being for-itself. We would merely
        > > be this block of identity. This is really what Sartre uses bad faith to
        > > explainâ€"the relationship between being in-itself and for-itself.
        > >
        > > Mary
        > >
        > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduardathome <yeoman@> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > Mary,
        > > >
        > > > I think that part of the difficulty may be that we are dealing with
        > > > 1930’s thought. The way I see it, Sartre is describing psychology as to
        > > > mental functioning and associated behaviour. But in the 1930’s there
        > > > was very little in the way of realising that we actually used our brains
        > > > to think, so Sartre and others had to resort to labels and phraseology
        > > > which might suffice.
        > > >
        > > > But since such phraseology is disconnected from reality, it easily leads
        > > > to convoluted statements such as, "If I am a cafe waiter, this can be only
        > > > in the mode of *not being* one." That statement makes no sense, and I
        > > > can well appreciate the need for 800 pages of reading to obtain some kind
        > > > of understanding. I don’t believe that such a statement would be made
        > > > by anyone today in the 21st century.
        > > >
        > > > I read the paragraph at least 4 times now and still cannot make any sense
        > > > of it. For example, â€Å"This is the result of the fact that while I must
        > > > *play at being* a cafe waiter in order to be one, still it would be in
        > > > vain for me to play at being a diplomat or a sailor, for I would not be
        > > > one”. I think that what Sartre is saying is that a â€Å"diplomat” is a
        > > > position that requires substantial training and something to which you are
        > > > assigned. You can’t just walk into the Ministry of State building and
        > > > start acting like a diplomat as one might act as a waiter when walking
        > > > into a restaurant. But if that is the case, then Sartre weakens his
        > > > argument for mauvais foi, since the diplomat could equally confuse himself
        > > > with his role.
        > > >
        > > > I agree with your understanding of bad faith. I asked at the office, what
        > > > was the meaning of â€Å"mauvais foi”. It comes down to misrepresenting
        > > > yourself to others, as for example to have a hidden agenda. Sartre seems
        > > > to be using the term as misrepresenting yourself to yourself. In regard
        > > > to the question of whether it is possible to misrepresent yourself to
        > > > yourself, I should think that it is entirely possible. There is nothing
        > > > in the rule book of brain thinking that one has to be entirely logical and
        > > > transparent.
        > > >
        > > > I think the example of the waiter is put in the wrong sense which
        > > > compounds the difficulty. The waiter is said to be too precise and
        > > > therefore he/she has mauvais foi. But it really should be expressed the
        > > > other way around, as waiters who have mauvais foi tend to act in too
        > > > precise a manner. Not all waiters who act precisely have mauvais foi.
        > > > Neither do all beau parleurs.
        > > >
        > > > eduard
        > >
        >
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