Beauvoir And Existentialism Essay

Beauvoir And Existentialism Essay

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Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir were key figures in the philosophy of existentialism. Existentialism is defined as the philosophical theory that highlights individual existence, choice and freedom. It is the idea that human beings determine their own meaning in life, and venture to make rational decisions in spite of living in an illogical and unreasonable universe. Essentially, this principle calls into question human existence and the notion that individuals do not have a purpose in life. Like her lover Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir had a lot to say about existential conditions and the ethical dilemmas that we are faced with as we journey from life to death. Another philosopher that had a lot to say about a particular system of thought was Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher. In his case, Nietzsche spoke about “natural” ethics.
The Ethics of Ambiguity is the book that inaugurated Beauvoir’s philosophy on existentialism. This book is a response to the people who expressed an unfavorable opinion of this philosophical theory. In just three chapters, Beauvoir examines some fundamental existential conditions and presents an ethics which she calls “ethics of ambiguity.” Beauvoir explains how individuals have this sense of ambiguity within themselves which makes them question the meaning of their lives. Philosophers have tried to mask this ambiguous dimension of existence by trying to reduce the mind to the body, for instance (Tuncel). However, to have an ethical life, this sense of ambiguity must be accepted. Beauvoir explains this with her description of the development of man. In The Ethics of Ambiguity, there are several direct and indirect references to Sartre considering he also delivered a famous lecture titled Exis...


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...flicts arise. Utilitarians such as Bentham and Mill did not necessarily criticize the relations of bourgeois society which Marx did. For instance, Bentham and Mill supported private property and the division of labor. Furthermore, they reasoned that several aspects of bourgeois society were considered unchangeable; hence, they were not subject to criticism. For Marx, this only revealed the conservative nature of utilitarianism considering their tendency to maintain the status quo. Marx would likely call Mill a capitalist reformer. Meanwhile, Mill believed in libertarian capitalism.
Marx can be considered a realist seeing that he believes in the historic process. While he disagrees with some aspects of utilitarianism, he believes we’ll eventually overcome suffering which he considers inevitable for happiness. This notion approaches utilitarianism a bit but not fully.

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