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Title: Jean-Paul Sartre's ethics of authenticity : an analysis and defence.
Author: Perna, Maria Antonietta.
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 1999
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The elaboration of a Sartrean ethics based upon Sartre' s ontological treatise Being and Nothingness has been, and still is, a much debated and controversial issue. Some critics have forcefully denied that an ethical position can be derived from the notions of freedom and value which are set forth by Sartre in his early ontology, on the ground that any attempt at such an ethics ensues in an extreme subjectivism, irrationalism, and, ultimately, nihilism. Other scholars, more sympathetic to Sartre's early philosophy, have attempted to construct a Sartrean ethical theory, but some unresolved issues still emerge from their readings. My aim in this dissertation is to defend Sartre's ontology against the former kind of criticisms, and to highlight and resolve what is left insufficiently analysed by the second group of scholars. I will attempt to show, by proposing an original interpretation of a Sartrean ethics, that Sartre's early ontology provides the ground for a viable ethics and that the problems of subjectivism and nihilism find their resolution within Sartre's ontological claims. I begin by investigating Sartre's philosophical background and show how his use of HusserI's phenomenology is fundamental in order to grasp the full meaning and implications of Sartre' s ontological descriptions. I then analyse closely Sartre's notion of subjectivity, which provides the key to the elaboration of an ethics grounded in Being and Nothingness. The pivotal idea of my interpretation is the distinction between, and inter-relation of, two levels of discourse, namely, the metaempiricaIJontological and the empirical/ontic, in terms of which Sartre's claims on subjectivity and freedom, which are at the basis of his ethics, must be understood. If this perspective is maintained, I argue, then it is possible to recognize both the universalistic and the situated! concrete aspects of the ethics of authenticity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Philosophy Philosophy Religion Literature Mass media Performing arts