In "The Ethics of Ambiguity", Simone de Beauvoir outlines an existentialist ethics, beginning with the central existentialist premise that "existence precedes essence."
For this meetup we will be reading Part 3, sections 1 - 3 ("The Aesthetic Attitude" through "The Antinomies of Action") Click HERE for the reading. No previous reading required.
To recap: In Part 2, De Beauvoir described various attitudes of bad faith people take to escape the burden of subjectivity.
The sub-man who maintains his presence as bare facticity. The sub-man is afraid of engaging himself in a project of an open future and takes refuge in the “serious world”.
The serious man who subordinates his freedom to absolute, external values. “The thing that matters to the serious man is not so much the nature of the object which he prefers to himself, but rather the fact of being able to lose himself in it.”
The nihilist who instead of realizing his negativity as a living movement, as serious man does, conceives his annihilation in a substantial way. He wants to be nothing. “Nihilism is disappointed seriousness which has turned back upon itself”.
The adventurer The adventurer does not seek justification for his choices in things, like the serous man does, he is fully engaged yet “detached from his goal”. The initial movement of thrusting himself into the world and engaging his freedom is very close to the attitude of a genuinely free man. But the adventurer thinks he can assert his own existence without taking into account the existence of others.
This leads in to Part 3 where she further explores her ethics and the idea that “Any doctrine that aims at the liberation of man evidently cannot rest on the contempt for the individual.”