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LAURA. Co-sponsors novel The Age of Reason. The hero Matthew a professor of philosophy proclaims some true philosophy of human freedom. And he says he was free free for everything free to act like an animal or like a machine.
He could do what he wanted to do. Nobody had the right to advise him. He was alone in a monstrous silence free and alone without an excuse condemned to decide without an excuse condemned to decide without any possible recourse. Condemned for ever to be free. Sutter is famous for the idea that we are condemned to be free. This is an idea which runs through all his writing. What do these frightening words mean. But meaning is made clear in software is a great philosophical essay of 1943 being and nothingness which was written during the bitter is or World War Two in fronts. After the Germans were little opposition had seized Austria Czechoslovakia and Poland the Great Western powers finally enter the picture and World War Two
erupted in 1939. Sutter was drafted and when the French army surrendered to the Germans in 1940 sodger became a prisoner of war. For nine months. Cleverly he arranged to be released for reasons of health and he returned to teaching philosophy in a front which was now occupied by the German army. The experience of France under German rule from 1940 to 1944 transformed into a political being. He became active in the French Resistance Movement. He did reporting for an underground newspaper and he wrote and produced powerful anti Nazi plays. These ideas of the German occupation of France were to be the most astonishingly productive of software's life. His major intellectual production during that period was the massive seven hundred twenty four page essay and nothingness. Sutter had begun to write this systematic statement of his philosophic viewpoint
during the gloomy winter of 1942 in occupied France. We're like most of the work of soft drug and Seimone de Beauvoir. Much of it was written in the cafes of the left bank of the river send in Paris in the cafe atmosphere filled with the sounds of voices and the clinking of silverware and dishes the smells of coffee liquor cigarettes and food and the sights of the customers entering leaving and circulating among their friends seated at the brightly lighted tables. Salter was a regular at the cafe called the dome. Later at the café du for both of them on the boulevard sound of a street similar to a street in New York's Greenwich Village. Sutter has occasionally been accused of being a cafe philosopher suggesting that his writing is not serious scholarship or that it is only a mirror for the past and human scene for the fascinating but frivolous flux of the café rather than being concerned with the serious realm
of truth. But in the fans of soccer it is only fair to say that many things recommended the cafe as a place to write at that time. First I am of the immediate importance the cafes were heated unlike the bitter cold of the tiny ugly Left Bank hotel rooms in which Sondre lived during the war years. Moreover the cafes of the great European cities have traditionally been places of intellectual stimulation gathering places for artists intellectuals radicals of the left and right. But especially for Assata who were seeking like kick to go before him to develop a philosophy of human existence which will provide moral guidance for human beings. The life of the café is a continual bubbling source of the concrete human existence which he wishes to capture. What then does the massive difficult philosophical treatise Being and Nothingness. This cafe product of the harshness
of the German occupation of France. Have to tell us about the human condition. In the introduction to being a nothingness. Sot recalls all the first part. The pursuit of being. Sought for ones to follow Descartes in making my consciousness the starting point of philosophy. He wanted to follow Descartes fundamental viewpoint of subjectivism the view that what I can know with certainty is only my own consciousness and its ideas. But Sartre find it necessary to revise Descartes. I am conscious of thinking so. But there is no basis for Descartes claiming that this proves my existence as a substance whose essence it is to think. I have no substantial continuing self which I can know nobody lives there anymore as broken Tom said. Secondly in opposition to Descartes Sutter agrees with the philosophy course
Searles view of consciousness as intentional as intending or referring to an object. Consciousness is always all of an objects Isadora consciousness points to what he is other than itself. Two things which are outside it and stand over against my consciousness and confront my consciousness as the ugly root of the chestnut tree. Confronted broken tones. Consciousness in itself says Saundra consciousness is empty. Nothing. It is a nothingness. It exists only as consciousness of some object. I am aware of an object and of the fact that I am aware. Now soccer has laid the foundation for his philosophy. There are two absolutely separate kinds of beings two regions of being as he says. There is the being of myself as a conscious being and the being of that which is other than myself separate from
myself the object of which I am conscious. My conscious being Sartre now calls being for itself. To be a conscious being forced entre is to be a being for itself by which he means a being which is conscious of itself and of objects. But there is the opposing kind of being being in itself the being of the objects of consciousness the being of existing things. An apple a stone a chestnut tree. Things are causally determined to be what they are. They have no freedom. They have no consciousness and they simply exist solidly as what they are like the root of the chestnut tree. Sot you will now call this region of being being in itself. We move on was softer from the introduction to part one of Being and Nothingness and titled The problem of nothingness. To be a human
being's daughter has told us so far is to be this concrete conscious being this being for itself confronting a kind of being which it is not the realm of objects of feelings of being in itself. To be a human being is to be in the world and to be aware of not being the objects of the world to be aware of the gap between my conscious being and the objects of the world to be aware of an emptiness a nothingness that separates me from the world of objects. Sartre will now try to argue that to be a conscious being to be a being Flore itself is to be characterized by endlessly bringing nothingness into the world of being. What is soccer up to. What does he mean by saying. But to be conscious to be a conscious human being is to bring nothingness into the world. Sutter is trying to show you that conscious being is totally different from
seperate from outside of the causal deterministic order of things in the causal deterministic order of things. All things are what they are causally determined to be. They exist as they are without any freedom without consciousness without awareness of gaps without raising any questions without being aware of any lacks or any possibilities without any questions or doubts. Sutter is trying to make you see that conscious being is the only kind of being which has the power to separate itself by a gap from the solid causal rules of objects by being aware that it is not an object. It is also only because you are a conscious being that you can think what you lack. Do not have. What are your possibilities which are not now actual. Only as a conscious being can you be unsatisfied with yourself and desire
not to be what you now are and desire to be what you are not. In all of these capacities on your part your awareness that your consciousness is not the objects of which it is a which it is conscious your awareness of the lacks of possibilities of unsatisfied desires. In all of these ways you have been conscious of what is not the case of what is not present of what is not actual. You have been conscious of negating what is not so and so Sartre. You have brought negation nothingness into the world. This is what Sartre means by saying the nothingness enters the world with conscious beings with concrete human existence. Another example of nothingness entering the world. Another example of conscious being bringing nothingness into the world. Is that conscious beings raise questions. Such
as the human capacity to ask questions brings nothingness into the world. To take the attitude of a question to ask where is Pierre. In the cafe is to open up the possibility all there is not being there it is again to introduce the notion of what is not the case. The notion of negation or nothingness. Here is saunters famous example of someone entering a cafe and looking for his friend Pierre who is not of there. And Sartre says in Being and Nothingness it is certain that the cafe has being. It is certain that the cafe in itself with its customers tables seats mirrors and lights and its smoky atmosphere filled with the clatter of cups and saucers. The sound of voices and feet. It is the thing of being it is being in itself. But when this man asked the question where is Pierre. And he fails to see Pierre. The being
of the cafe dissolves becomes a nothing. The cafe is reduced to a mere background for the face of fear that he is looking for the being of the cafe is made into nothing. It is negated Nial aided by the question where is beer. Moreover in asking any question about the world's us entre The question is detaching himself separating himself does so to sociate himself from the causal series of nature. The world of things the world of being in itself. Only conscious beings like us have this capacity to question. And so to withdraw from the beer existence of things in the causal order. Only conscious beings like us have the capacity not to be part of the world of things and to introduce a gap a nothingness between our consciousness and the world of things. And so Sutter is able to make his dramatic conclusion that it is through man that nothingness
comes into the world of being. He says man presents himself as a being who causes nothingness to arise in the world. And again this author says man see creates his own nothingness. Suddenly however soccer shows you that the nothingness the negation which human beings bring into the world is at the same time human freedom. Suddenly I begin to discover what it means to be a human being. It is to be free from the causally determine the world of things and it is to be free to negate to say no to question. To imagine possibilities which are not present. To reduce to nothingness to negate and annihilate the region of things of being in itself. By my questions as the cafe dissolves into nothingness by the question where is beer. And I suddenly become aware that my freedom as a conscious being as being for itself is my power as a conscious being I have the power of
negation. The identical pala of Hegel's principle of negation. The power to negate Naya late and i o late to break up and destroy it. Sutter wants to show you that just as he goes principle of negation negates annihilates cancels breaks up every stage of the dialectical process. So as a conscious being I have the freedom and the power to negate to separate myself from to question deny any object of my consciousness. Freedom is the most important aspect of conscious being the freedom from the causally determine the world of things and the power of negation. Through my freedom as conscious being. I am aware that I am not any of the objects before my consciousness. I question I do know why I think of what is absent or what is not the case. I want my future job possibilities are which do not exist at present. I think of how I would like to change my personality or my appearance to be
other than what they are now. I think of the future greatness for the United States which it lacks at the present time. So obvious point is that to be a conscious being is to be free. And to have the power of negation freedom sets conscious being the being for itself or against being in itself. The world of things but now dramatically so that my freedom as a conscious being enters my own existence as a conscious being. I am totally free and undetermined. Since I am totally free my past does not determine what I am now between myself as I am now and my past. I have put a gap of nothingness on my own free from my past. Take the case of a gambler says Socrates a gambler who is resolved but he will gamble no more. When he is confronted with the gaming tables today his past resolution does not determine what he does not want. He finds that he
is totally free. He is not determined by his possible solution. This new situation requires that you make a new choice. A choice that is totally free and wholly unpredictable. Since conscious beings are totally free. We may add other examples to soccer as example of the gambler. Doesn't every alcoholic every compulsive eater everyone addicted to cigarettes or drugs recognize the truth of Sophos point that conscious beings are totally free. Every time I am confronted by whatever my temptation I discover that I am free that yesterday's resolution does not determine what I do know. But now I must choose again will I will I not stick to my resolution not to drink or smoke or overreach. This is the freedom of conscious being which we all painfully discover. Just as my POS does not determine what I am now. So what I am now does not determine my future.
Suppose I choose from among the possibilities that I have to become a writer since I am totally free. My future actions are not determined by this present choice to become a writer. What I will actually do at a future moment when I am uncertain about my writing career will be a totally free action on my part. A new choice and a wholly unpredictable. Every writer who has ever suffered from writer's block and faced the choice of continuing to struggle or giving it all up is painfully aware of this. And so I begin to understand what it is to be totally free against Freud Sautter argues that I am not causally determined by antecedent psychological conditions of my life. Against Mark's softer argues that I am not determined by the mode of production and class conflict of my society. I am totally free but do not the
sciences of the 20th century tell me that I am totally determined not totally free. Do they not tell me that I am the inevitable necessary product of an overwhelming set of conditions. But I am totally determined by biological social economic historical and psychological conditions. Then these conditions which determine me are they not responsible for what I am or do. I. Saw savagely denounced as Marx Freud on the sciences for viewing human beings as if they were causally determine things within the region of being in itself rather than viewing them as free conscious beings. The facts of my life may be biologically psychologically socially and economically determined. But as conscious being I only choose the meaning they have for me. I live in a world of my own making. By the meaning I choose to give the facts of my life and by the projects I choose from myself and so I cannot
say my conditioning is responsible for what I do. But from my conditioning I would be so and so. My conditioning says Santora is only the region of things the region of being in itself. The world of facts or against which I stand as a free conscious being. Choosing the meaning I will give them. A man is always free. During the German occupation of France he is always free to be a traitor or not. In the fiercest opposition to the view that the facts of the world make a man an alcoholic or a drug addict Sartre argues that an alcoholic lives in a world of his own making. By the meaning he has chosen to give his life and by choosing to live it as an alcoholic. Are you an addict of alcohol or food or drugs or tobacco. Sutter says you have chosen this and that you are free to choose another way to live your life. Nothing in your past prevents
you. You are not determined by your past. But now Sartre shows us that there is even a greater depth to my freedom as a conscious being as a totally free conscious being. I discover that I own lone give meaning to my world. I alone am responsible for the meaning of the world in which I live. The region a fact has only the meaning that countries beings like me give it. But there is no absolute truth to which I can any longer turn to provide meaning for my life. I have no lessons to guide me and God is dead. So sakta along with nature and there is no substitute independent realm of truth. No such independent realm of truth is to be found in science or in philosophy. And I see that I alone so Sartre give the world its meaning. I alone am the source of whatever meaning whatever truth or value the world was I alone absurdly. I am responsible for giving meaning to
the world without having any essence or human nature without God or any object of truth or value to support me. Everything that might be a foundation for me has collapsed. The existence of God the universal truths of philosophy the old beliefs in eternal values. And no I have the shattering awareness that by being totally free I am totally responsible for my choices totally responsible for what I am and do totally responsible even for giving meaning and value to the world and without any support from God or any absolute truth or value. And I taught her on the brink of nothingness. I experience a dizziness vertigo and anguish. Anguish is the recognition of my total freedom anguish is the realization that my total freedom is also my total responsibility to choose what I am and do and to
choose the very meaning of the world. What has software done. He has flung me from freedom to anguish. He has flung me from hope to despair. I am indeed free so sought her but my freedom is a dreadful freedom. I own lone shoes and I am responsible for everything I am. I do or I think. That I did not choose to be free. As a conscious being I am condemned to be free. But we try to escape this dreadful freedom. We try to avoid the anxiety which we experience when we are face to face with our own freedom. I longed not to be condemned to freedom. I longed not to have to live as an empty isolated frustrated dissatisfied self questioning and negating in my endless dreadful freedom. All I would wish to be simply a
flaying a being in itself like a stone or a glass or stone like all things all being in itself is massive and solid and glued to itself. Things have no gaps. They do not bring nothingness into the world. They do not feel lack. They do not feel dissatisfaction. They do not and mostly pursue possibilities and new projects. They do not freely choose and then bear the responsibility for the choice. To try this. To seek to be a thing. To seek to escape from my freedom no responsibility sought recall's bad faith. Or bad faith. It was the attempt to escape from my freedom by pretending to be a thing. We flee from anguish by eating life by pretending to look at ourselves as a thing. But bad faith is
self-deception. It is all wrong. We tell to ourselves. It is a long in the soul. We are not things we are totally free conscious beings. But endlessly we escape from this painful truth about ourselves by the many forms of bad faith saunter in our presents his famous examples of bad face. Take the case of the courtship says such a girl and a man on their first date. Perhaps in us if. The girl knows very well the intentions of the man then she also knows that sooner or later she will have to make a decision. But when she feels him take her hand. She postpones a decision over whether or not to accept him. And so she pretends. But she has not noticed that he has taken her hand. Her hand has become a thing resting passively in the warm hand of the man beside her. But
she isn't bad face softer points out. She is for tending that she is a thing and not a conscious free being and that she is not responsible for what is going on. But of course she is responsible or take the case of the waiter unlike a softer his movements are a little too precise too rapid. He bends forward a little too eagerly a little too solicitous for the customer's order. He has escaped from his freedom as a conscious being into acting a part playing a social role as if his essence is to be this perfect mechanism the perfect way to what he is in bad faith. His essence is not to be a perfect waiter. He has no essence. He has consciously chosen to be a waiter but he has escaped from his freedom as a person into becoming a mechanism in which he will gain social approval and avoid having to feel anything. Or take the case of the homosexuals so suck
the homosexuals as homosexuals as if this were something that is as destiny as if this were something that is involuntary on his part. That it is something which he cannot help. Any more than a table can help being a table or a red haired man can help being red haired. This homo sexual too is in bad faith so he is trying to escape from his freedom and his responsibility as a conscious being for choosing. What do you is and what he does by thinking of himself as a thing conditioned by his past and feted by his pasta to be a homosexual these all saunters famous examples of bad face. But the question that will haunt being a nothingness from this point on is whether good faith is at all possible for conscious
beings. What is a good face. This is the problem of ethics of moral philosophy. We shall turn to Sutter's ethics next time. The studios of the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting.
From Socrates To Sartre
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Condemned to be Free
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Maryland Public Television
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Maryland Public Television (Owings Mills, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Sartre III: Metaphysics. Influence of Descartes, Hegel, Husserl - Sartre's metaphysics. Influence of Descartes, Hegel, Husserl. A metaphysics centered on the self and its radical separation from all else. Three modes of being; Being-for-themselves, Being-in-themselves, Being-for-others. The meaning of being human for Sartre. Consciousness as intentional. The self without essence. The Look. Conflict is my only mode of being-for-others. "Man is a useless passion." Nature and body: as described in Nausea: contingent, superfluous, absurd. The viscous. The absurdity of my own body. Sartre's world.
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"From Socrates to Sartre is an educational show hosted by Dr. Thelma Z. Lavine, who teaches viewers about the theories and history of philosophy."
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Copyright Holder: MPT
Host: Thelma Z. Lavine, Ph.D.
Producing Organization: Maryland Public Television
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Maryland Public Television
Identifier: 36595.0 (MPT)
Format: Digital Betacam
Generation: Master
Duration: 00:30:00?
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Chicago: “From Socrates To Sartre; #27; Condemned to be Free,” 1979-03-09, Maryland Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 4, 2023,
MLA: “From Socrates To Sartre; #27; Condemned to be Free.” 1979-03-09. Maryland Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 4, 2023. <>.
APA: From Socrates To Sartre; #27; Condemned to be Free. Boston, MA: Maryland Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from