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Re: Problems with bad faith

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  • Mary
    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
    Message 1 of 171 , Jul 12, 2013

      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.

      --- 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
      > >
    • 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 12:38 PM
        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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