Philsophy: Sartre and Free Will

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  • Created by: emily997
  • Created on: 21-03-14 10:02
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  • Sartre
    • Modern approach to human freedom
    • His view is founded in the nature of 'subjective consciousness'
      • illustration: if you are meeting a friend and they have not arrived you are conscious of their absence; you are aware that they are not there
    • Gives opposite view to Karl Marx; 'consciousness determines life'
      • Human life begins with 'self-awareness', this is Sartre's one 'absolute truth'
        • We see what we choose to see
          • illustration: looking at a cricket match, one person may see artistry and skill, while another may see 'nothing much happening'
          • Existentialism and Humanism
            • illustration: looking at a cricket match, one person may see artistry and skill, while another may see 'nothing much happening'
          • Even though we operate within a set of conditions (as Marx suggests), like the need for food etc.
            • Sartre states that we always have a choice how we interpret and respond to these conditiions
              • Subjectivity
    • Man might seem to be 'made by his past history and current situation, but these limitations actually create our freedom
      • The presence of limitations oblige us to choose.
      • Our past does not determine our future
    • The awareness of possibilities is integral to consciousness
      • illustration: you never look at an object and just see it. e.g. a mouse. You see it as vermin or food (for your cat) or as a pet or a friend etc
        • You see it as possibilities, which you can affirm or negate
      • Consicousness is not fixed like the world of objects, concrete and determined, but a subjective interpretation of the world
      • We are seperated from our past; we can project onto our history a number of interpretations.
    • Sartre rejects that desires and characters determine our actions. It is the reverse.
      • Desires do not determine actions; they are revealed by actions.
        • Illustration: your love for your mother does not cause your behaviour, your love is revealed by the way you treat her.
        • We read someone's character and desires in the choices they make.
        • We choose our passions
        • Conclusion: 'feeling is formed by the deeds that one does'.
          • We are entirely responsible for our actions.
          • Illustration: if you are angry and hit someone, it involves a series of choices. You choose to acknowledge their presence, remember their previous actions, violence as the best outlet.
            • You freely chose to become angry, the anger didn't cause the violence; the anger was revealed by hitting the enemy.
              • We are entirely responsible for our actions.
          • You freely chose to become angry, the anger didn't cause the violence; the anger was revealed by hitting the enemy.

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