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Thomas C. Anderson, Sartre's Two Ethics: From Authenticity to Integral Humanity



distinction between being-in-itself which is "pure inertia" and being-for itself which is "pure spontaneity." This distinction oversimplifies the real ­ it "does not do justice to organic realities, which are both active and inert, nor to social and political communities and structures. . . ." (pp. 6, 7). The truth of this charge becomes evident asAnderson reviews all the well-known doctrines developed in Being and Nothingness: freedom as absolute spontaneity, its grounding in the self-nihilating act of pre-reflective self-consciousness, the connection between freedom and value, the inevitability of the desire to be God (causa sui or the ground of one's own being), and how this desire leads to the objectification of others and conflict in human relations. Anderson insightfully points out the strong Stoical element in Sartre's view of freedom, where freedom is seen as a choice in the face of facticity rather than control over that facticity itself. (p. 26). He discusses the few suggestions in Being and Nothingness concerning the possibility of a "radical conversion" that would lead to "an ethics of deliverance and salvation." These include the use of "pure reflection" (with the possible assistance of existential psychoanalysis) to achieve "comprehension" of one's own being



Continental Philosophy ReviewSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 1, 1998

DOI: 10.1023/A:1010009122949

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