Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tapping Summary: Identity

Wow, this already feels like it was a long time ago.

Some basic points
  • I introduced the topic and then promptly ceded the floor to rob, who discussed the important distinction of the for itself and the in itself, in Sartre's terminology
    • The in-itself is an object whose identity corresponds with its being. A chair situated in reality doesn't have to do anything special in order to correspond to its definition as a chair, it just does so.
    • The for-itself its the being, who finds its existence to be a pressing issue and a concern, and this for Sartre is the human being. The human being, for Sartre, has a fundamental freedom, which is the ground for the human being to be able to engage in various games of meaning, which can be referred to as worlds.
    • Bad faith then, would be the fundamentally free human being as unable to cope with this freedom, and retreating into specific meaning games, attempting to be like the in itself
  • This brought up questions as to whether engaging in these systems of meaning was necessarily a bad thing, if this fundamental freedom does actually exist as Sartre says it does, and if it did exist would it have actual value?
    • For Sartre, all actions can be evaluated in terms of whether they promote existential freedom or not. Thus, for Sarte, an oppressive totalitarian regime would stand in direct opposition to promoting existential freedom, and thus it should be critiqued and dismantled.
    • With the structuralist critique, however, we see the fragmentation of Sartre's subject, into various other types of subjects, and these subjects are produced by the political, social, and ideological institutions that surround then.
    • This structuralist critique opens up questions of existential responsibility, especially with regard to any conception of a subject as fragmented or marginalized. Does this open up a series of excuses as the late Robert C. Solomon suggests, or is this critique simply reflecting a shift of how people conceive of their identities
  • I leave you with this quote: "Sometimes I go around tolentine at night and turn off all the lights in the rooms" --Anonymous

No comments: