Ambiguity Of Morality Analysis Essay

Ambiguity Of Morality Analysis Essay

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According to Beauvoir, human existence is ambiguous. This ambiguity is caused by a clash between one’s instinctual feeling of freedom and the forces of the external world which inhibit one’s ability to express this freedom absolutely. Beauvoir claims that attempting to reduce this ambiguity into contrived certainties, an effort in which philosophers have long engaged, would be an inauthentic way to live. On the other hand, embracing, or assuming the ambiguity of existence is an authentic way to live as well as the most effective way of living ethically. To accept the ambiguity of existence is to acknowledge that there is no absolute value, and that individuals are the source of all value. This view necessarily refutes the idea of God, but at the same time, Beauvoir makes clear that people should not, in realizing their ability to create meaning, strive to be something God-like. Beauvoir’s ethics of ambiguity require that people use their freedom responsibly, that is, with reference to other subjects as means and not just ends.
According to Arendt, the vita activa, or “active life”, is the primary condition of human existence. Arendt divides the vita activa into three conditions which correspond to three human activities. The first activity is labor, which refers strictly to the biological processes of a human; the condition of labor is life. The second activity is work, which is distinguished from labor as being physical stuff which is created by humans. The condition of work is worldliness, as in being of the physical world. The third activity is action, which refers to the interaction between humans, both living and dead; the condition of action is plurality. Arendt then connects these activities and their conditions to what sh...

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...rsubjectivity, writing that people can “be bound to each other...[and] their individual freedoms can forge laws valid for all” (Beauvoir 18).
I think that Beauvoir offers a more compelling account of human existence because she recognizes the individual’s perspective as being a fundamental part of it. Subjectivity should be recognized as a fact of human existence just as our mortality is considered a fact of human existence. We exist physically and mentally. Together, these realms merge to form our overall, cohesive perception of human existence. Furthermore, Beauvoir expands the realm of objective conditions. In Beauvoir’s account, the actions of a subject can be objective to other subjects, or subjects themselves can be viewed as objects; this view makes for a much more dynamic human existence, and it opens discussion about the way humans ought to view each other.

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