Sociality, Seriousness, and Cynicism

A Response to Ronald Santoni on Bad Faith

in Sartre Studies International
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  • 1 Cardiff University, UK
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Abstract

This article is a clarification and development of my interpretation of Sartre's theory of bad faith in response to Ronald Santoni's sophisticated critique, published in this issue. It begins by clarifying Sartre's conception of a project and explaining his claim that one project is fundamental, thereby elucidating the idea that bad faith is a fundamental project. This forms the groundwork of my responses to Santoni's critique of my interpretation, which comprises four arguments: Sartre does not consider us to be ontologically and congenitally disposed to bad faith; Santoni is right that social pressure cannot explain the prevalence of bad faith, but this is a problem with Sartre's theory rather than a problem for my interpretation of it; Sartre's conception of seriousness is merely an optional strategy of bad faith; and Sartre is right to deny that bad faith is an inherently cynical project.

Contributor Notes

Jonathan Webber is Professor of Philosophy at Cardiff University and President of the UK Sartre Society. He is the author of Rethinking Existentialism (OUP, 2018) and The Existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre (Routledge, 2009), editor of Reading Sartre: On Phenomenology and Existentialism (Routledge, 2011), and translator of Sartre's book The Imaginary (Routledge, 2004). He has published academic articles on Sartre in European Journal of Philosophy, British Journal for the History of Philosophy, and many edited volumes, and public articles on existentialism at Aeon, New Statesman, and OUP Blog.

Sartre Studies International

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Existentialism and Contemporary Culture

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