The Bonds of Freedom: Simone de Beauvoir's Existentialist Ethics

The Bonds of Freedom: Simone de Beauvoir's Existentialist Ethics

The Bonds of Freedom: Simone de Beauvoir's Existentialist Ethics

The Bonds of Freedom: Simone de Beauvoir's Existentialist Ethics

Synopsis

"The Bonds of Freedom is the first full-scale analysis of Beauvoir's existentialist ethics, as laid out in her important work, The Ethics of Ambiguity, written in 1946. Kristana Arp traces the central themes of Beauvoir's ethics back to her earlier philosophical essays and to literary works such as The Blood of Others and All Men Are Mortal. Drawing from the thought of Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, and Merleau-Ponty, Beauvoir developed her own distinctive version of existentialism throughout these works." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Simone de Beauvoir was one of the most famous female intellectuals of the twentieth century. Although she was one of the first women to receive a higher degree in philosophy in France and taught philosophy for a number of years, she is not generally known as a philosopher. She herself swore in her memoirs and interviews that she was not one. She had a very limiting definition of what a philosopher was. a philosopher for her was someone who constructed a philosophical system, as her companion Jean-Paul Sartre did in his magnum opus Being and Nothingness. He was the philosopher, not she. She even claimed that all of her philosophical ideas came from him. Like some otiier writers who have written on Beauvoir recendy, I see no reason to accept this characterization. Beauvoir was not a system builder, but she wrote some explicidy philosophical works in the 1940s. These works, especially the work this book centers on, present philosophical ideas of importance and originality. in this book I explicate these ideas, view them in the context of wider debates and defend them from some possible objections.

Other writers who have taken Beauvoir seriously as a philosopher claim to find a distinctive philosophy expressed in the entire corpus of her work taken as a whole. the scope of this book is somewhat more limited, but its thesis is not for that reason less significant. My claim is that one of Beauvoir's most important contributions to philosophy is to have constructed an existentialist ethics, that is, an ethics based on the central tenets of existentialism. Existentialism sees humans as . . .

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