Webber argues for a new interpretation of Sartrean existentialism. On this reading, Sartre is arguing that each person’s character consists in the projects they choose to pursue and that we are all already aware of this but prefer not to face it. Careful consideration of his existentialist writings shows this to be the unifying theme of his theories of consciousness, freedom, the self, bad faith, personal relationships, existential psychoanalysis, and the possibility of authenticity. Developing this account affords many insights into various aspects of his philosophy, not least concerning the origins, structure, and effects of bad faith and the resulting ethic of authenticity. This discussion makes clear the contributions that Sartre’s work can make to current debates over the objectivity of ethics and the psychology of agency, character, and selfhood. Written in an accessible style and illustrated with reference to Sartre’s fiction, this book should appeal to general readers and students as well as to specialists.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Understanding Ourselves
Chapter Two: The Reality of Character
Chapter Three: Situations
Chapter Four: Freely Chosen Projects
Chapter Five: Radical Freedom
Chapter Six: Anguish, Bad Faith, and Sincerity
Chapter Seven: The Project of Bad Faith
Chapter Eight: God and the Useless Passion
Chapter Nine: One Another
Chapter Ten: The Virtue of Authenticity
Chapter Eleven: Being One Self
Jonathan Webber is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Cardiff. He has published papers on Sartre and on the theory of character in leading academic journals and is the English translator of Sartre’s book The Imaginary.
"The Existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre, which confronts an impressive number of the major interpreters of Sartre, is an extremely valuable scholarly contribution to that study."
--Thomas C. Anderson, Marquette University for Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews