Sartre, �Freedom and Responsibility�

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					     Sartre, “Freedom and
Thesis: each of us chooses the
 entire world, everything we are
 and do is the result of our
 choice, and thus we are each
 responsible for everything in the
        Some existentialist terms
for-itself: persons; beings who act according
  to choices that make them who they are;
  existentially free beings, those who choose
  their existence and thus determine their
Bad faith: fleeing decisions rather than
  making and acting on them in full
  consciousness that one is choosing the
  course of one’s life; inauthentic
facticity: a fact over which we have no
  control; e.g., that we were born.
      Sartre’s Argument
We humans make the world by
 making things, events, situations
 meaningful through our projects.
But how does this make
 everything mine, how is it that
 “everything which happens to
 me is mine”(780b)?
Whatever my community does I
 could “get out of” or withhold
 my endorsement from by either
 deserting the community or by
 committing suicide. By
 remaining I endorse what is
       Objection to Sartre
Had I lived in a time when I did not
 have to make this terrible choice
 (e.g., join the Resistance and
 sacrifice my family, or acquiesce
 with the Nazi regime), I would not
 have acted as I did.
Sartre’s response: I am not
 separable from the epoch in
 which I find myself.
“each person is an absolute upsurge at
 an absolute date and is perfectly
 unthinkable at another date. It is
 therefore a waste of time to ask what I
 should have been if this war had not
 broken out, for I have chosen myself
 as one of the possible meaning of the
 epoch with imperceptibly led to war....
 I am not distinct from this same
 epoch.” (781b)
   Sartre’s concept of freedom
Our freedom consists in the fact that
 we must choose what it means to
 exist and how we will continue to
 exist at every moment.
 1. Every situation is an opportunity
   that is either made use of or
 2. Hence, every situation forces us
   to choose what we will make of it.
3. In this sense we are free, but our
 freedom comes ultimately from
 the fact of our being as a for-itself,
 a being who is thrown into this
 situation of being forced to
 choose at every moment.
4. Hence, although we are free, we
 are also anguished -- we are
 always having to make difficult
 choices and never allowed to shift
 responsibility onto others.
     Critical Interpretation
• Sartre’s sense of freedom is, in
  effect, definitional.
• It does not entail that there are
  no forces on us which causally
  determine our choices. Thus,
  Sartre does not defeat

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