Monday, October 12, 2009

Can't we just avoid this situation all together?

If I am simply what I do, then perhaps I ought to act genuinely at all times so that I will remain authentic. But what if authentic action sometimes involves bad faith? What if the only genuine course of action is to refrain from acting? It seems to me that when it comes to relationships, no one ever really knows what is going on. In an attempt to keep "cooooooool" or "in control," we often refrain from telling each other the way we feel about each other. When there is this lack of communication, it become easier to act in bad faith, because sincereity of the situation (see post below) is wrapped up in action, rather than strict communication (the action seems to have become the only source of communication). It seems that when a person is more straight forward, it becomes harder to simply ignore them. Additionally, when there are no open lines of communication, the only perspective I have on the relationship is my own. So when I am feeling like a boy might like me and I am not sure how I feel about him, it seems reasonable to refrain from action until I figure out how I feel. It seems like refraining from action is the only genuine course of action other than tell the guy "hey, I don't know how I feel about you yet." That sort of directness may seem harsh, but isn't it more harmful to both parties to continue to act out of bad faith simply because they have trouble expressing themselves?


  1. Would refraining from action necessarily be the only genuine course of action? Perhaps you subconsciously know whether you like the boy or not and are acting in bad faith in not allowing yourself to admit it one way or the other. You may be creating yourself as the object in remaining the girl the boy likes a certain way, rather than making a decision and actively becoming something different.

  2. It does seem like kind of a cop out to try and avoid the situation all together. I guess when we act in bad faits, we are also trying to avoid the of finality in making a decision.

  3. I don't know. I'm kind of hung up on Sartre's good and bad faith because it kind of seems like not-being is the only way a person can be authentic, or exist genuinely. I can't imagine a circumstance where a person was neither transcending or objectifying their own being or that of another. haha it is probably just me, but even accepting everyone is always who they are, thinking about whether it is possible to be who one is authentically is hard for me to think about... I guess like Dr. J said in class though, the inability to define authenticity is a sign that authenticity cannot be labeled, as is authentic. I guess acting genuinely may involve being in bad faith, of refraining from action, or nothing at all, but when we begin to define our own actions as genuine or not then we lose the authenticity.

  4. Perhaps, given how Sartre seems to combine prescription and description when dealing with bad faith, we ought to view what he says in a way similar to Aristotlian virtue ethics: namely, of offering up an ideal (rather than a framework of rules) as the basis for an ethic of authenticity or something similar. Although in Sartre's case I suppose it is an anti-ideal, don't do this, rather than a positive ideal like eudaimonia for Aristotle or an individual's ethical ideal for Noddings.

    Yet, is it really possible to act in a way that isn't in bad faith, or to avoid inauthenticity? I think your right, Charolette & Brendan, that Sartre's implied answer is no. I think Sartre, however, has sly way out of this problem. If acting in bad faith is lying to oneself and acting too much as either a transcendence or facticity (sp?)when in fact the authentic human is a middle ground between both, then bad faith falls on a continuum and one freedom could be acting to a less egergious degree of bad faith than another. I'm not very satisfied with that type of construction--can I really be blamed legitimately for something that it's impossible for me to avoid...ever?-- but I imagine that is what he'd say.


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