• Marius
    12
    True, many people do not appear especially anguished, but we maintain that they are merely hiding their anguish or trying not to face it. Certainly, many believe that their actions involve no one but themselves, and were we to ask them, “But what if everyone acted that way?” they would shrug their shoulders and reply, “But everyone does not act that way.”

    I have absolutely no clue what Sartre means with the word “that” in the question. Does “this” mean the belief that their actions involve no one but themselves? So then it would be
    “But what if everyone acted in a manner that their actions involved no one else except themselves?”

    I really want to take the most out of this small transcript of his speech...

  • tim wood
    1.6k
    Certainly, many believe that their actions involve no one but themselves,
    As I read it, the many are fooling themselves. The "that way" refers simply to the self-denial practiced by "many people." And when challenged, they deflect and minimize. The point being, if I may read beyond the text, that "many people" are inauthentic and dishonest with themselves.
  • Marius
    12

    You are absolutely right: and he proceeds to mention how a bad faith can be cause for such evasion. The thing is however, that I have no idea in what direction Sartre is going when he refutes their ideas.
    Previous to the text I quoted (some background):
    Existentialists like to say that man is in anguish. This is what they mean: a man who commits himself, and who realizes that he is not only the individual that he chooses to be, but also a legislator choosing at the same time what humanity as a whole should be, cannot help but be aware of his own full and profound responsibility.

    The way I understand anguish from this piece is the realization of will and being part of a bigger picture than they can think - being a "legislator" as in a part of the whole in the definition of mankind. Still I have yet to understand...
  • bloodninja
    306
    For me it's been a long time since I read Sartre, but I recall something about the Kantian categorical imperative... From memory he is basically ripping off Kant's idea whilst talking about existentialism, which was the "fashion" of the day.
  • Marius
    12

    No one of your favorite philosophers is Heidegger! How did Heidegger go about the moral philosophy compared to Sartre's rip off of Kant?
  • bloodninja
    306
    Well in his early philosophy he doesn't explicitly discuss morality. Rightly or wrongly I think he thinks morality is basically inauthentic conformism. In his later philosophy which I haven't delved into yet, he apparently talks about dwelling. And interestingly there have been a number of other philosophers who have tried to derive an ethics of some sort from his discussions of dwelling. Having said that, there is a sense in which early Heidegger's authentic dasein (in Being and Time) is an ontological ideal in a similar sense to which Aristotle's virtue of practical wisdom, the highest virtue, is an ethical ideal. They are obviously not saying the same thing however. Hubert Dreyfus often discusses these similarities in his commentaries on Heidegger.
  • Bitter Crank
    7k


    many people do not appear especially anguished, but we maintain that they are merely hiding their anguish or trying not to face it. — J. P. Sartre

    So, how do "we" know that people are pretty much all anguished, even though they don't look like it? "Oh, you are happy? You must be in denial."

    Maybe what Sartre has to say here is hogwash?
  • DiegoT
    314
    Sartre befriended and helped to bring international support to Cuban revolutionaries while they were torturing and killing homosexuals and non-communists in detention camps, and spent happy times with a terrorist leader called Ché Guevara, the man who said "I confess I like to kill". They also approved of Soviet regime in Russia. Ugly frog Sartre took virginity from teen girls that her feminist wife brought to him from her school, until she was banned from teaching. Sartre was a fraud, a hypocrite, and a pederast. What can we learn from this terrible man? I´d rather read Homer Simpson´s quotes. Also, his philosophical ideas are just bullshit; they are poor interpretations of Hegel, and generalizations about human nature derived from thinking about her cold-gazed psychopath soul-mate Simone and their life together.
  • Marius
    12

    Another thing we learnt from what you said is that his actions were the result of his free will. You can curse Hitler, Sartre and the Devil, but whatever damage you think they have done is done. So far, even his own philosophy "justifies" what he did according to you. Please elaborate on how his philosophical ideas are bullshit! Not defending him but just want to get closer to Truth if there is such a thing :)
  • Marius
    12
    how do "we" know that people are pretty much all anguished, even though they don't look like it?Bitter Crank

    It is a claim that Sartre makes, along with other existentialists (explains the "we"), when speaking of anguish.
    "Oh, you are happy? You must be in denial."

    Maybe what Sartre has to say here is hogwash?
    Bitter Crank

    Surely not when he pushes this claim afterwards. See, anguish is not an emotion that you can plaster a specific face on. It is just a realization that one is free, and that we contribute to the definition of mankind. And to mention the guy above, Sartre was surely happy when he was getting it on ;) although still in anguish.
  • bloodninja
    306
    Do you think everyone poor and bourgeois is free? How about people with serious illnesses, mental retardation, mental illness, inbreeding, slaves, etc? Are there degrees of existential freedom?

    If you are interested in an antidote to Sartre's radical freedom, research Heidegger's concept of "thrownness".
  • Marius
    12
    Do you think everyone poor and bourgeois is free? How about people with serious illnesses, mental retardation, inbreeding, slaves, etc? Are there degrees of existential freedom?bloodninja

    Surely such things do limit one's ability to freely decide who they want to be.
    And thanks for the info, I'll most likely read Heidegger after this transcript because I see the clear inspiration etc from him to Sartre.
  • RosettaStoned
    21
    ...anguish is not an emotion that you can plaster a specific face on
    Perhaps, but that does not mean that there are other ways of identifying when someone is in such a state. I have been victim of "anguish", and after a while, people start to see through the cracks of my shell. Such as acting different, being touchy, et cetera. So while it may not be a breeze, there definitely is a way to define anguish in other people.
  • Terrapin Station
    6k
    True, many people do not appear especially anguished, but we maintain that they are merely hiding their anguish or trying not to face it. Certainly, many believe that their actions involve no one but themselves, and were we to ask them, “But what if everyone acted that way?” they would shrug their shoulders and reply, “But everyone does not act that way.”

    I have absolutely no clue what Sartre means with the word “that” in the question. Does “this” mean the belief that their actions involve no one but themselves? So then it would be
    “But what if everyone acted in a manner that their actions involved no one else except themselves?”

    I really want to take the most out of this small transcript of his speech...
    Marius

    "Act that way" --whatever way that Sartre finds dubious as a moral action, because of the categorical imperative. He's not specifying the action in question because he wants it to function as a variable where it can refer to any morally dubious action. He's pointing out that the "excuse" for the action in question is basically that the person can get away with whatever it is because not everyone acts that way.
  • Mattiesse
    20
    Maybe it means that humans are the only ones that can look at themselves and think and question there own actions, looks, where they are, who they are, how they feel, what they can hear, what they see and just able to have all senses at the exact same time say “I am here, this is me” and just realise there own present self and/or moment. :heart:
  • Marius
    12
    Maybe that is so...
  • Marius
    12
    it can refer to any morally dubious actionTerrapin Station

    I'm in a pit of confusion now; I read ahead without caring much of this argument, but now I present to you the current logic, speaking about abandonment I think... (I write this after P.S.)

    Certainly, many believe that their actions involve no one but themselves

    I'm having an issue understanding this because I can deconstruct it in two ways:
    1) Actions are not INFLUENCED by subjective forces like belief
    or 2) Actions are not INFLUENCING other people; he promotes the entirety of mankind
    Fine, I can continue still using both ideas...

    and were we to ask them, “But what if everyone acted that way?

    So I attempt 1) with the logic being:

    "If everyone is confronted by a moral question and actions are not INFLUENCED by subjective forces." Results in an answer created only by the free will.
    This makes the most sense for if I attempt 2) then I will get the answer:

    "If everyone is confronted by a moral question and actions are not INFLUENCING other people." then the answer will be quite odd... that being that the answer does not matter, since the action does affect another.

    I conclude that "Actions are not INFLUENCED by subjective forces like belief" is what he was talking about when referring to the "many".
  • Terrapin Station
    6k


    I'm not sure why you're thinking of influence rather than a having an impact on others.
  • AJJAccepted Answer
    102
    Yeah, seems to me he’s simply saying there are people who, thinking their actions only affect themselves, behave badly. Then, when asked to consider what it would be like if everyone behaved badly, they say they don’t care because it’s not actually the case that everyone behaves badly.
  • Marius
    12
    Oh my... could it have been that simple?

    I made this so complicated for myself for no reason if that is the case... I’m really stupid
  • AJJ
    102


    Nah, just led off track it seems, by an assumption he was saying something profound.
  • Marius
    12
    Most likely, since the influence part that came from me is actually from “abandonment” in which he defends after. Got carried away... thanks!
  • AJJ
    102


    No worries.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.