Essay about Jean-Paul Sartre - Problems with the Notion of Bad Faith

Essay about Jean-Paul Sartre - Problems with the Notion of Bad Faith

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Jean-Paul Sartre - Problems with the Notion of Bad Faith


In Being and Nothingness, Jean-Paul Sartre presents the notion of "bad
faith." Sartre is a source of some controversy, when considering this
concept the following questions arise. "Of what philosophical value is
this notion? Why should I attend to what one commentator rightly labels
Sartre's 'Teutonically metaphysical prose' (Stevenson, p. 253), in order
to drag out some meaning from a work so obviously influenced by Heidegger?
Is there anything to be gained from examining the philosophy of a thinker
who offers the statement 'human reality is what it is not and is not what
it is' as a grand philosophical truth claim about human ontology?" I
intend to contend that there is something of philosophical interest in the
notion of bad faith, primarily due to what Sartre is attempting to present
as being the constituents of human consciousness, and their relationship
to that which makes us human beings.

Jean-Paul Sartre is noted for his commitment to a radical view of human
freedom. His analysis of the human condition leads him to claim that,
since human beings do not possess an "essential nature" at birth, they
have to create their essence as individuals and they are "condemned to
freedom." As part of his investigation into "being-in-the-world, he
considers the notion of mauvaise foi or "bad faith", the denial of the
afore-mentioned freedom by its possessor. In this paper, I shall attempt
an investigation of the concept of bad faith, what it is, how it relates
to the rest of Sartre's phil...


... middle of paper ...


...ating Sartre's attitudes towards the constituents of human action, that which constitutes human being. Even though it may, in the final analysis, prove to be an unsatisfactory account of consciousness, it serves to illuminate some possible further lines of study, if only as a negative example.

Works Cited

Anderson, Thomas C. Sartre's Two Ethics: From Authenticity To Integral Humanism. Chicago & LaSalle, Illinois: Open Court, 1993.

Cumming, Robert Denoon, ed. The Philosophy Of Jean-Paul Sartre. New York: Vintage Books, 1965.

Oaklander, L. Nathan. Existentialist Philosophy: An Introduction. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1992.

Sartre, Jean-Paul. The Transcendence Of The Ego. New York: Hill & Wang, 1989.

Schlipp, Paul Arthur ed. The Philosophy Of Jean-Paul Sartre. The Library of Living Philosophers Vol. XVI, La Salle, Ill: Open Court 1981.

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