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Sartre’s Account of Human Freedom in Being and Nothingness: An Ontological Reading

Sandri, Vittorio; (2019) Sartre’s Account of Human Freedom in Being and Nothingness: An Ontological Reading. Masters thesis (M.Phil), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

In the present work, I attempt to provide what may be labelled an ‘ontological’ reading of Sartre’s theory of freedom as it was developed by him in Being and Nothingness. Contrary to what is often suggested in the literature, I seek to show that Sartre is highly engaged in supplying an argued ontological foundation for his theory of freedom, of which I provide a sympathetic reconstruction. In chapter one, I attempt to show that material to undermine the intelligibility of psychological determinism (which constitutes a crucial part of Sartre’s account of freedom), can be found (1) in Sartre’s account of the nature of consciousness, (2) in his account of the relation between Nothingness and Negation and finally (3) in his account of temporality. I argue that Sartre’s conclusions about human freedom are not grounded exclusively on our acceptance of his phenomenological descriptions of everyday experiences, and I suggest how the relation between Sartre’s descriptions and his ontological-phenomenological claims should be conceived. In chapter two I examine the two connected notions of ‘original project’ and ‘original choice’, and I argue that a number of criticisms that have been raised against Sartre can be dispelled once the meaning of these notions has correctly been understood. Finally, in chapter three I endeavour to show that Sartre’s Cahiers pour une morale can be seen as carrying out the attempt to demonstrate that an ethics is possible on the basis of the ontology of freedom put forward in Being and Nothingness, and I suggest what may be Sartre’s grounds for proposing freedom as the supreme value of the For-itself, for a universalisation of this proposal as well as for the claim that we should value and actively pursue not only our freedom, but that of others as well.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.Phil
Title: Sartre’s Account of Human Freedom in Being and Nothingness: An Ontological Reading
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10081225
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