In arguing for the universality of existentialist principles, Sartre says, “When we say that man chooses himself,

In arguing for the universality of existentialist principles, Sartre says, “When we say that man chooses himself, we do mean that every one of us must choose himself; but by that we also mean that in choosing for himself he chooses for all men…” What is his rationale for this claim?

a.Anyone who is in a position to choose the purpose and significance of his or her own life will be in a position of sufficient power and authority in society so as to also make choices for others.

b.Any action a person may take in creating her life and her identity as she freely wills it to be relies on a conception of human life as she believes she ought to be—any choice made implies the value of that choice.

c.Sartre here is just pointing out the self-centeredness and narcissistic tendencies of most people if they were given free rein to determine the course of our lives—what he means here is something like, “Someone has to be in charge, and if it can be me, all the better!”

d.Sartre actually attempts to ground universality in relativity; he is really saying that every person has a different take on life and a different life situation, so making choices for oneself alone is really al we can do. It is not possible to choose for others. But this is universally true.

e.Since it is impossible for any one person to become a legislator deciding for the whole of mankind on how to live life, it follows that we are all in the same situation—we are all locked inside a strictly subjective reality, so choosing for oneself is the fullest extent of what it could mean to choosing for all men.

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