Sartre and Bad Faith

sartre bad faith

Can we lie to ourselves? Bad Faith and Freedom in Sartre’s thought

Commonly, one say that the bad faith consists to maintain against all evidence that somesthing is right, when he knows he is wrong. Deaf to rational argument, he builds false reasons, retreating into a defensive absurd system. In this game of right and wrong, the man in bad faith is not fooling anyone, least of all himself.

When Sartre speaks of “bad faith” in Being and Nothingness, analysis is much more complex. He explores this term confused areas in which managed to darken the conscience itself, where both mystifying and mystified, she manages to get taken in by his own lies. Twilight of those moments you can not find a better illustration than the emotion with his cohort of organic disorders: tremor, pallor, redness, cries, tears, laughter, fainting, all manifestations of what can be considered as a disruption of our behavior caused by shock too much to bear. But Sartre does not stop with this analysis. There is no doubt in the feeling the repercussions of a destabilizing confrontation with reality, but the key is not there. “We can understand the emotion that if one looks for a meaning. “The emotion is a disruption, it is driving, driving under the worst possible deal with a stressful situation, it is somehow not adapted mismatch. The crisis of tears of the candidate (or candidate) harassed by a relentless examiner [3] is welcome to end an unsustainable situation, we do not talk of U.S. GDP or the death of Louis XVI to somebody who is collapsed on the table, shaken by sobs. It remains the examiner executioner to store questions and get his Kleenex. Unless too, unable to handle the situation, no one pulls a tantrum! And when the stakes are even worse when, for example “I see coming toward me a wild beast, my legs give way under me, my heart beats more slowly, I faded, I fall, I faint. ”

In one case as in the other, the crisis in tears or fainting, unbearable situation vanishes, consciousness is no longer faced with the urgency of the threat, and although long term we can consider it’s not a good solution, in an emergency is the only way to escape. Adapted immediately when driving is not possible (answering the question of the examiner to avoid the beast), removes the emotion that the moment is unbearable.

Unable to avoid the danger through the normal chains and deterministic I denied […] and the fact, I wiped it all in my power”, including the extreme situations, by destroying the consciousness itself to destroy the conscience of the danger.

A game we believe in

So the emotion is an act, a pipe in which consciousness is committed to resolving a situation through the magic technically insoluble. Technically act on the world assumes that we can transform physically playing on the networks of causality. The action, instead of magic, does not act directly on the world but on its representation. Such is the power of emotion in the emotion, Sartre wrote “I change my relationship to the world so that the world changes its qualities.” By the manifestation of the emotion I’m pathetic, sick, and so I compel the other to be pitying, tender, caring for me, instead of being hostile or aggressive. Without acting directly on the world, I turned, just as Sartre says a line of disgust in my eyes can make objectively “too green” grapes that first I wanted and that I can achieve.

Emotion is, therefore, a choice of conscience, but a choice that at no time did it pose as such. For the emotion is real and not played, so that it is serious, it is that consciousness allows them to take, it does not perceive as a voluntary act from a calculation of a sham. The emotion is experienced as emotion if we believe in, otherwise it would only be a game, a mime similar to that simulates the actor fear, pain or joy, without feel them. “If the emotion is a game, it’s a game we believe in,” emotion is experienced, we do not decide. “It is surprising, it develops according to laws and own without our conscious spontaneity can change its course in a very significant.

I have not decided to pass out, I have not decided to burst into tears, I was overwhelmed as I know not how, and I am not responsible.

To conclude, Sartre puts the bad faith concept as the opposite of the human freedom, but a consubstantial opposite, that man should refuse to be authentic.

Cite this article as: Tim, "Sartre and Bad Faith, February 18, 2022, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, February 18, 2022,

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