Existentialism And Human Emotions Analysis

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In Existentialism and Human Emotions, Sartre addresses specific charges against existential thought, defends existentialism, and situates his own ethics of existential thought among other thinkers. Sartre begins addressing the charge that existential thought is in the same ethical realm as nihilism, meaning that if there is no transcendent meaning or objective standard then there is no inherent meaning in the world and, in result, that nothing matters. Sartre explains this nihilistic view of existentialism creates a “desperate quietism” meaning that because there is no given meaning, then nothing matters, resulting in an apathetic view on life. On the contrary, Sartre defines existentialism as the opposite of quietism, that the existence of …show more content…
Sartre explains what it means to be inauthentic, or in “bad faith,” to one’s morals and values, explaining that human beings need to be aware that they are responsible as individuals for their choices and that by choosing to live in a society with other people, we are putting our choices and the consequences of our choices into a shared world. Without any predetermined or transcendent meaning we choose meaning in the world through our actions, and by choosing to do this or that in our actions, we affirm the value of what we believe. Sartre goes on to explain that we as humans are “condemned to be free,” meaning that each individual human carries the weight of responsibility the accompanies human freedom and are “left alone with no excuse.” Subjective relativism brings to light the possibility that what might be morally right, authentic action for one person, may be disastrous to the rest of humanity, but because that one action is in line with that individual beliefs it is considered morally acceptable, and therefore creates a morally anarchist society. Though Sartre does attempt to defend against this critique by explaining that someone who genuinely chooses to …show more content…
Defining an individual by the sum of their actions that have been freely chosen is to empower the individual in circumstances or events beyond their control, to commit themselves to a course of action that reflects the values that they genuinely believe. To allow despair to guide and to self-rationalize circumstances that convince ourselves that we are powerless in our efforts, is to abandon oneself as well as to live a life of inauthenticity. To explain further, for an individual to spend their time pointing fingers and creating excuses as to why they are not living the life that he or she desires, is to live in bad faith. By rejecting the power of actions and denying the consequences of refusing to take action, under the pretense of powerlessness that’s been self-justified by excuses that rationalize their circumstance, ignore their individual power to live genuinely. This idea of circumstances of an individual impeding on their ability to freely choose dehumanizes the individual because it automatically implies that if an individual is born into the wrong circumstance, they lose a defining quality of being human. That being said, it is important that we do not assume that freedom of choice is equivalent to always making a universally correct choice, as the concept of

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