Existential men of de Beauvoir

By Christopher Wink | Apr 17, 2007 | Existentialism

In 1947 French author and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) published The Ethics of Ambiguity, arguably the most accessible explanation of a host of existential ideas and themes. A notable member of a notable age in French philosophy, Beauvoir had a close relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) and was a contemporary of Albert Camus (1913-1960) and fellow Parisian Simone Weil (1909-1943). In Ethics, one of Beauvoir’s more memorable techniques was to characterize a series of men with certain existential qualities in order to make the themes easier to understand through their personification.

In one way or another, almost all of the personalities form and fall into one or another, but one is particularly interesting in the problems it encounters, the serious man. This man is enraptured in the very spirit of seriousness, considering his values bigger than his personage, certainly an example of Sartre’s concept of bad faith.

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