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Is. It. I. Was finally liberated from the Nazis in World War 2 came to an end in 1945 all of France in its artistic literary and intellectual life was swept up in a wild enthusiasm for its own poll sought to the champion of human freedom which they were celebrating. Soccer is philosophy of existentialism overwhelmed fronts it dominated the intellectual and political and artistic life of the French people and its power became so threatening that it was soon condemned by both the Roman Catholic Church and the Communist Party. The entire philosophy of Sartre was condemned for its atheism
by the Roman Catholic Church in October 1948 and placed on the index of forbidden books. And in December of 1948 sodger was condemned as a boar's was subjectivist at the Communist Party peace conference in Poland and he was branded as a jackal with a typewriter and a high you know with a fountain pen. And an example of the tremendous popularity of soccer at this time. Where is the scene at the lecture he gave in the evening of October 19th 1945 in Paris at the club Manzanillo the club reports that such a crowd struggled to get into the room in which soccer was to give his lecture. The 30 cheers were broken in the scuffle and the audience so packed the room that 15 people fainted. The lecture which software delivered is now famous under the title Existentialism is a humanism. Senator as usual brought home to his audience the meaning of his philosophical points by concrete the last ration by examples drawn from the current scene from the lived life of
his and their own time. And so to a love story his ethics moral philosophy of his existentialism told his audience the following story about one of his own students. The student came to softer for advice during the humiliating years of the German occupation of France from 1940 to 1944. What shall I do. The young prince student his mother was now alone and lived only for him and was totally dependent on his helping her to go on living. I want to stay with her influence and help her said the student. But I also want to go to England where I can fight the Germans by joining the Free French army there. What should I choose softer points out of the student was hesitating between two kinds of morality the morality of personal devotion and the reality of defending the whole society so that the only possible replied he could make was to tell him that moral rules cannot guide us in concrete moral problems and that he must choose alone without the
benefit of any abstract moral principles and take the responsibility for whatever he chooses to do. But does it not strike you as incredible that saw through the great master of French existentialism has nothing more to offer the morally conflicted student than to say Jews and take the responsibility does not softer present himself along with a kid to go and meet Cho as being the type of philosopher who wants to offer a philosophy for modern man to live by a philosophy which will provide guidance for man in the modern world. What does author offer us as a moral philosophy for our time. The key to his moral philosophy. He already gave us in his concept of a bad faith. Bad faith we have seen is lying to oneself. It is self deception. It is pretending that we are not free and responsible for what we are and what we do. Bad faith is pretending that we are causally determined as inanimate things are and that we have no freedom. And I'm not responsible for our lives that we are only victims
of circumstances. Passive products of our conditioning. But to be in bad faith is you know authentic. It is not being true to what we are as free and responsible conscious beings in place of bad faith. So Chris sometimes uses the closely related concept in authenticity in authenticity is the attempt to escape from the truth of what we are as conscious beings free to choose the meaning of our world to make ourselves by the projects which we choose and totally responsible and sought are also claims that bad faith. And in authenticity in the role of us in alienation. To live in the self-deception of bad faith. To live in the in authenticity of being untrue to human conscious being is to live in alienation from oneself to be alienated from one's own freedom as a conscious being and to regard oneself as a thing compelled by circumstances. Still an other related concept which Sartre uses is
the spirit of seriousness. Sartre makes a devastating use of the spirit of seriousness to attack all those human types who accept the ordinary conventional morality of their own time as if this more reality was an eternal truth of the world as if this more reality belong to the nature of things rather than being what they choose and therefore responsible for. In the novel nausea Sartre lashes out at the spirit of seriousness of those men those pillars of society those eminent citizens whose portraits hang in the Art Gallery of the city of Movil broken town detests them for the smugness with which they seem to regard the ordinary moral values by which they have lived their lives and made their contributions to the city of movil. They live profitable lives at the top of the heap financially politically and socially by means of the spirit of seriousness
acting as if their own moral values were physical laws of the universe compelling them to act as they did. Sartre calls these eminent citizens of Movil Mudville swine stinkers pigs. And he says values do not belong to the world. We are not determined by our moral values as if they were physical laws. Values like nothingness and of the world only through human beings through us and we live like pigs. If we do not see that we bear the responsibility for choosing them for acting on them. Suppose then we wish not to live like the swine wallowing in the sticky mud of conventional morality. Suppose we wish to avoid bad faith in authenticity self alienation the spirit of seriousness. What then. According to Sinatra is a morally right action action which does not fall into any of these traps. Suckers own Ser is
that I am acting morally when I abandon self-deception and make my moral choice. In recognition that I am a free conscious being in choosing and responsible for what I choose. I am acting morally in choosing as a free and responsible human being. But what shall I choose on the basis of what principles. What ideals. What norms or standards do I choose. What universal values guide me in my actions. What is sought response are. There are no moral ideals no universal values to guide you. But here we have come face to face with a paradox that Socrates existentialism which has forced me to recognize and avoid my tendencies to fall into self-deception bad faith in authenticity and the spirit of seriousness. This existentialism has however no principles and no ideals no norms or standards no universal values to
give me any moral direction or guidance. Existentialist ethics must be said to be an attempt to provide moral philosophy without offering any principles for making moral choices or for guiding moral action. Absolutely soccer's existentialist ethics. Why is a moralizing finger at us making us morally anxious about falling into a bad place. It frightens us into avoiding piggish in authenticity and into recognizing that we are free in choosing and are responsible for our choices. But it is without any ability to give us any principles by which to choose. But why is this so. Why is existentialist ethics bankrupt unable to provide us with principles or ideals which can point to what is the good for human life and what is right for me to do. Soccer Explains this in the various ways
in the lecture. Existentialism is a humanism he takes the position of the German philosopher nature that God is dead. And softer as the existentialist finds it extremely embarrassing that God does not exist or that disappears with all possibility of finding values in an intelligible heaven. Do states doctors point in the simplest would. Since God is dead there is no longer any source of absolute values for man. It is nowhere written that the good exists that one must be honest or must not lie since we are now upon the plain where there are only men. Since God does not exist he cannot be the foundation for our moral life. Immediately. Software puts the great Russian novelist Dostoyevsky and Dostoevsky's startling claim that if God did not
exist everything would be permitted. And so that for Existentialism is the starting point. Without God everything is permitted and we are free. God's laws God's rules are no longer binding upon man. With the death of dogs we are now left alone in the universe as the only conscious beings. Moreover all existence of conscious beings receives our essence strictly in the absence of God. Human beings have no essence. There is no human nature which they share in this way. Satya reaches the conclusion that no moral values or ideals are any longer available to us. No Platonic essence of mind or of human nature directs us to fulfill our essence or our human nature. And no God presents us with a divine ideal of human goodness and virtue for us to aspire to achieve in the sudden burst of eloquence in the packed public lecture such as this
up. And he says. Thus we have neither behind us nor before us in the numinous realm of values. Any means of justification or excuse we are left alone without excuse. That is what I mean when I say Satara that man is condemned to be free. We are without any means of justification or excuse. Soccer tells us we have no excuse for denying our freedom. The death of Gawd has set us free from his rules and his governing of the world. We are free but without any means of justification without any moral principles to justify what we do to serve as a foundation for our lives. There was also another line of explanation which software gives. For there be no existentialist ideals or moral values to guide your life. This line of explanation closes out the possibility that you might discover the
values for human beings in the world of nature. But Sartre has already closed out this possibility by his view of the region of things or the nature of being itself as causally determined. Without freedom without consciousness simply brutally superfluously their values do not belong to nature or to the world they belong to us to being for itself. Two conscious beings values like nothingness and negation and of the world only with conscious beings. I turn in vain to nature to the world of things to find any values which would justify my moral life. And so I am brought back again to recognize my dreadful freedom that no foundation for my moral life is to be found outside me that I myself as a free conscious being. Now I'm the only foundation of my moral values and ideals and I myself have no foundation.
I am only an empty freely integrating consciousness without substance and without essence suffering has already made this point in a powerful and crushing way in the first section being and nothingness where you said. My freedom is the unique foundation of values. And nothing absolutely nothing justifies me in adopting this or that particularly value or particularly scale of values. And this is why soccer is only replied to a student's moral problem was choose. Now we can see clearly that Tryna existentialism ethics is impossible. There are no moral values or rules or ideals or principles which can serve as the basis for ethics and which can justify one kind of life one kind of moral decision rather than another. And so our first criticism of softness Existentialism is that it has made ethics impossible. And the
second criticism is that soccer has indeed given us one principle for our action to avoid bad face to act authentically. That is to act with the consciousness that I am free in what I am choosing to do and I'm responsible for my choice. But since Sutter has removed any justification for choosing a rather than B then my choice is ABA Traore it is simply my choice but it has no foundation. It is absurd. The rule avoid bad faith. Choose authentically simply tells me to acknowledge my freedom in choosing. But it is not a moral rule it is an empty rule. It contains no content as to what is morally worth anything or what is morally hideous. A third criticism of soccer's existentialist ethics is that it's the only rule it provides me with is the rule against self deception and bad faith. Then I have done all that is required of me so long as
I follow this rule and avoid bad faith and the knowledge that I alone freely choose what I do and am responsible. But then anything that I freely choose to do meets the requirements of authenticity one freely chosen act is as good as another. And there is no way out for discriminating between my freely chosen acts. For himself sees this and he says toward the end all of Being and Nothingness. All human activities are equivalent. And he adds intending to shock us. It comes to the same thing whether one gets a drunk alone or is a leader of nations. Both ways of life undertaken freely are equivalent. A last criticism of Sartre's existentialist ethics is that we see it now as an ethics hovering at the edge of nihilism.
Nihilism may be defined as the viewpoint which expresses bitter disillusionment that human reason is powerless to justify one moral value over another and that since all actions therefore equivalent nothing has any value and only force and violence can take control. Is there no exit foresaw from the charge that he has destroyed the foundation for ethics and that he has led us into a nihilism. Already. In the lecture. Existentialism is a humanism softer was seeking an exit hastily in this public lecture. He attempted to provide a foundation for human life. This was his well known attempt to argue that existentialism shares the moral values of traditional humanism specifically humanism is value of freedom for all humankind. Suffrage tries to argue that for existentialism. My choosing my own freedom as a conscious being necessarily involves my
choosing freedom for all others. However nothing that's not there has told us in lost or in Being and Nothingness was based upon the humanistic value of universal freedom. In fact soccer has consistently taken the opposite view that your freedom is a threat and an obstacle to mine your freedom is my slavery. Let us turn to Sandra's view of human relations hoping to see if there is an exit for him there. The best introduction to a softer view of the way conscious beings relate to one another is his put a no exit. Which was the first play to be performed in Paris after the liberation from the German army. It was performed on September 20th 1944 and was immediately a huge success and it has become a classic and has been constantly performed ever since. It has only three actors and no change of scenery. The three characters a man and two women one of their own is a lesbian who walks separately into a
brightly lighted room furnished with three small sofas knowing that they are dead and have been sent here to hell. Yet there are no instruments to torture them. There are no hell fires to burn them. There are only the other two people. Soon the horrible truth dawns upon them that they are one another's torturers their damnation is for all eternity to torment one another. By the end of the ploy they have tortured each other excruciatingly and they have made the discovery that in hell there is no need for hell fire. As the male characters says Hell is other people. That hell is other people. It is the core of his view of the way conscious beings relate to each other. Human relationships constitute the topic of part three of Being and Nothingness under the heading being for others. I exist as a conscious beings in a world of other conscious beings in a world of being for others.
I have being four others in two ways a sock or a first. I become aware of my own body as something which is known to other people. For other people I am that first a body a being in itself. Although to myself I am a conscious being a being for itself. Second. I become aware of the bodies of other people and in this way all of their existence as conscious beings softer begins his highly original and penetrating psychological analysis of my being for others with his claim that I become fully aware of myself only when I am aware that I am an object for someone else's perception. Sutter is here following in the footsteps of Hegel. Hey go ahead said I can be conscious of myself only as I am reflected in the consciousness of the other. Going beyond Hegel is sought through his concept of the look. What does it mean for me to be aware
that I am being looked at. Sutter gives us the unforgettable example of a peeping tom a voyeur bending down to peer into an apartment through a keyhole driven by sexual curiosity or by jealousy over the people in the apartment. The Peeping Tom is aware only of what he sees through the keyhole. But suddenly I hear footsteps in the hall. Someone is looking at me. And I am seized by shock and Shane. That being the kind of person the other is now perceiving me to be suddenly by the look of the other my world as it had appeared to me is drained away goes down the drain as recess. Two things have happened to me as a result of my seeing the look of the other first. I have become an object of the other's look. He sees me as a body. I am feeling like in his eyes. The other person relates to me by trying to predict now how I will behave as he would try to predict how an animal or a
plant will behave in certain circumstances. I am what he makes of me not what I make myself. The second result of being looked at by the other person is that I begin to see that I am no longer master of my situation. The other is making his own predictions of me. He has been looking me over and making his own evaluations of me as a person. He is judging me and putting labels on me in my own defense. I try to overcome the other's freedom which has the power to negate to destroy my own freedom. While I attempt to free myself from the hold of the other. The other is trying to free himself. From mine. While I seek to enslave the other. The other seeks to enslave me. Descriptions of concrete behavior must therefore be seen within the perspectives of conflict.
And software concludes with one of his most famous lines. Conflict is the original meaning of being for others. Once again we see how software is a borrowing from Hagel here from Hagel's master slave relationship which clearly lies behind what soccer means by being for others human relations Casandra those of masters and slaves with even more subtle and frightening implications than Hagel had imagined. What I want is to pose us the others freedom. I want to enslave the other as free. Only this will satisfy me if the other has no freedom and slating him will not satisfy me. But if he is free on the other hand he will escape my possession of him. I will lose the satisfaction of mastery over his freedom. Sapa says later in 1945 in the lecture Existentialism is a humanism that existentialism sheers humanism is respect for human freedom. But here in Being and
Nothingness softer describes all human relations as those in which I seek to one slave and pose us the others freedom. I do not respect the other's freedom in fact soccer adds respect for the others freedom is a vain word. I seek to once leave the others freedom. And so it is that conflict is the meaning of all human relations conflict and hopelessness. Especially hopeless is the relationship of love in a Love to what the lover wants. It is not merely the physical possession of the other but to possess the other's freedom. He does not want to enslave the beloved. He would feel cheapened by being loved by someone conditioned by psychological influences to love him. Total one slave moment of the beloved to him. A mechanical beloved would soon kill his love the lover does not want to possess the beloved as a thing he wants to possess the beloved as a free person. But the desire of the lover is hopeless. How can we
be love and be posed just by me as a slave and still be free. There is even a deeper significance to Love's us entre. We suffer as conscious beings from being empty without substance without essence without any foundation for our lives. Love offers us a foundation. We seek a foundation for our being in the lover in the idea that the lover is the real foundation of my being. We say we were made for each other. He she is all the world to me. Each of us is what justifies the other's existence. But this too fails because it requires that each see other's freedom as the foundation of his life and yet be freely loved by the other. But there was a contradiction here. The lover cannot be both free and my possession. And so real hopelessness of love is only another example of being for others. The world of human relations in which I can relate to others only through enslaving or being enslaved. Love in its
failure can lead to three different outcomes. I can be the slave a masochistic object for the lover suffering for the other's pleasure in his mastery. I can be the sadist and master the loved one by violence or I can observe the other in indifference but none of these will satisfy me in love as in all our other human relationships we end up either enslaving the other or being enslaved in the position of either sadism or masochism. We may try hating the other when we cannot possess him but hate so Saputra does not enable us to get out of this circle. Nothing remains for us except to be indefinitely tossed from one to the other of the two fundamental attitudes. Human relationships are conflicted and hopeless. They are no source of moral ideals or principles. There is then in human relations no exit for softer up from the moral bankruptcy of his existentialism. Is this
wretchedness where software leaves us. No he adds a strange footnote in being a nothingness in which he says these considerations do not rule out the possibility of an ethics all deliverance and salvation. But this can be achieved only ofter a radical conversion which we cannot discuss here. What is this ethics of deliverance and salvation. What is this radical conversion of the Socceroos a great bombshell his radical conversion from existentialism to Marxism and communism a total turnabout to which we will turn next time. Studios of the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting.
From Socrates To Sartre
Episode Number
No Exit
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Maryland Public Television
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Maryland Public Television (Owings Mills, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Sartre IV: Masochism and Sadism. Extremities of Hatred - The circle of masochism and sadism. The extremity of separation and hatred. Sartre's conversion to Communism which will provide "an ethics of deliverance and salvation." Search for a Method. Critique of Dialectical Reason. Sartre's Repudiation of Communism. Overview, criticism, influence. Existentialism waning but powerful philosophic expression of the despair and alienation of the modern world. Influence upon literature, psychotherapy, and social sciences. Criticism of its adequacy as a philosophy.
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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: 36596.0 (MPT)
Format: Digital Betacam
Generation: Master
Duration: 00:30:00?
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Chicago: “From Socrates To Sartre; #28; No Exit,” 1979-03-16, 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; #28; No Exit.” 1979-03-16. 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; #28; No Exit. Boston, MA: Maryland Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from