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Sartre on Authenticity

Yiwei Zheng

Abstract

While the notion of “bad faith” remains stable in Jean-Paul Sartre’s early philosophy, the notions of “pure reflection” and “good faith” undergo significant changes. In Being and Nothingness,2 pure reflection was presented as a necessary but not sufficient condition for authenticity,3 whereas in Notebooks for an Ethics ,4 ‘pure reflection’ and ‘authenticity’ seemed to refer to the same consciousness (although with different emphasis)5 (NE, 12, 472-482, 515). In Being and Nothingness, the project of good faith was introduced as a corrupted mode of being, which, like bad faith, stands in contrast to authenticity (EN, 108-111; BN, 113-116), whereas in Notebooks for an Ethics, Sartre did not seem to distinguish good faith from authenticity (NE, 12).

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