Monday, October 12, 2009

Sincerity = Bad Faith?

During our discussion of Sartre’s “bad faith” last Thursday, I felt there was a lot of criticism towards the woman on the date. The suitor comes on to her and she does nothing except try to view his actions as mere facts. Yet, could that have been the whole situation? Most likely, we have all experienced a situation where we alter our actions to avoid an awkward circumstance or try to downplay our emotions whether they are positive or negative. It’s not that the facts of the situation aren’t recognized and further analyzed. It is the issue of “sincerity,” not in the emotional sense but rather the understanding shared amongst people, which I feel is a large part of ones actions. There is this idea of how we are suppose to socially act towards one another in order to be respectful and keep the situation more at peace.

We briefly discussed Sartre’s perspective of sincerity at the end of class. Correct me if I am wrong, but it was summed up as an issue of bad faith, because “I am what I am in mode of being it, and I can never be that.” I found this very contradictory to our previous discussion of existence preceding essence. If action makes up who we are then why doesn’t being sincere constitute as something other than bad faith. If we act according to our emotions, then there wouldn’t be lying. We would be recognizing the facts of the situation and thinking or reflecting about the it, then acting accordingly.

When focusing on the aspects of bad faith, we recognize that in trying to conceal the truth from others, when you already know the truth you create a dual existence. Yet, if you recognize the truth and act according to the “sincere” facts and the realization of those facts would that still be bad faith? I guess I am having a little trouble grasping the correlation between bad faith and sincerity. In the defense of the woman, she may have recognized that the man was coming on to her, yet decided to act in a way as to avoid awkwardness and simply be “sincere” in societies sense. Maybe this is a way of lying to yourself and could be exactly what Sartre is trying to get across, but I just don’t see how being sincere and being in bad faith are of the same nature.

1 comment:

  1. You say that sincerity and bad faith are at odds with each other, and i understand your point. But perhaps Sartre would say that the woman was not truly drawing from her own emotion or truly sincere beliefs. She was playing the role of a woman, as society deems she should, in response to a suitor. If she was not in bad faith, it seems, she might disregard the "understanding" shared between people. This seems problematic to me to, as if we can never act in society without being in bad faith.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.