Bad Faith Good Faith

Bad Faith Good Faith

Ronald E. Santoni
Copyright Date: 1995
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 288
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Bad Faith Good Faith
    Book Description:

    From the beginning to the end of his philosophizing, Sartre appears to have been concerned with "bad faith"-our "natural" disposition to flee from our freedom and to lie to ourselves. Virtually no aspect of his monumental system has generated more attention. Yet bad faith has been plagued by misinterpretation and misunderstanding. At the same time, Sartre's correlative concepts of "good faith" and "authenticity" have suffered neglect or insufficient attention, or been confused and wrongly identified by Sartre scholars, even by Sartre himself.

    Ronald E. Santoni takes on the challenge of distinguishing these concepts, and of showing whether either or both existential "attitudes" afford deliverance from the hell of Sartre's bad faith. He offers the first fill-scale analysis, reconstruction, and differentiation of these ways of existing as they develop in Sartre's early works (1937-1947).

    Although he attempts to redeem Sartre's slighted concept of good faith, Santoni warns that it must not be viewed interchangeably with authenticity. Further, in one of the earliest and most sustained studies of Sartre'sNotebooks for an Ethicsavailable in English, Santoni shows how Sartre's posthumously published notes for an "ethics of Salvation" confirm his differentiation and argument. The way out of Sartrean hell, Santoni insists, is authenticity-living "with fidelity" to our unjustifiable freedom and assuming responsibility for it.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0647-7
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    R. E. S.
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xv-xlii)

    The philosophy of JeanPaul Sartre is one to which too many philosophers, academics, and laypersons allude, but too few read—at least seriously. I believe that, if one attempts to penetrate even part of Sartre’s vast and complex philosophical system, one is confronted not only with some important insights into our human condition but also with existentially disturbing challenges and gnawing difficulties.

    One such challenge and difficulty relates to Sartre’s views concerning “bad faith” (mauvaise foi),a concept and phenomenon with which, directly or indirectly, Sartre seems to have been concerned from the beginning to the end of his philosophizing....

  5. 1 Bad Faith and Sincerity: Does Sartre’s Analysis Rest on a Mistake?
    (pp. 1-27)

    In this opening chapter, I intend to deal with an issue that vexed my earliest confrontation with Sartre’sBeing and Nothingness.Although it may strike the reader as indirect and somewhat off center with regard to my announced topic and project, this issue—I remind the reader—made evident to me the need to study Same closely, and generated my intense inquiry into bad faith and its corollary and alternate ways of “existing.”

    Specifically, I want to focus on Sartre’s view of “sincerity” as it is developed inBeing and Nothingness—in particular, on his contention that sincerity is a...

  6. 2 Bad Faith and “Lying to Oneself”
    (pp. 28-46)

    In Chapter 1, I attempted to show some equivocations related to Sartre’s claim that sincerity is a “phenomenon of bad faith” and shares its fundamental structure and goal. Although I do not retract the thrust of my argument, I now believe that I either ignored or overlooked some of the complexities and problems involved in Sartre’s views on bad faith. In the present chapter, I wish to attend to a few of these issues. While attempting to offer a close, integrative analysis of Sartre’s views on bad faith, I intend to raise some questions concerning the adequacy of his position,...

  7. 3 The Cynicism of Sartre’s “Bad Faith”
    (pp. 47-67)

    At the end of his treatment of “Bad Faith” inBeing and Nothingness,Jean-Paul Sartre concludes that “In bad faith, there is no cynical lie nor knowing preparation for deceitful concepts.”¹ A few pages earlier, at the beginning of the highly important section “The ‘Faith’ of Bad Faith,” he announces: “The true problem of bad faith stems evidently from the fact that bad faith isfaith.Itcannotbe either acynicallie or certainty—if certainty is the intuitive possession of the object.”² And having suggested early in his analysis that “the ideal description” of the liar would be...

  8. 4 Good Faith: Can It Be Salvaged?
    (pp. 68-88)

    Careful readers and scholars of Sartre are often baffled by the relatively brief analytic attention Sartre pays to the notions of “good faith” and “authenticity” inBeingandNothingnessand in other of his early and pivotal philosophical works. InBeingandNothingness,for instance, Sartre assures us—in an important footnote that continues to tantalize many scholars—that the possibility of radically escaping bad faith “supposes a self-recovery of being which was previously corrupted.” “This self-recovery,” he adds, “we shall call authenticity,the description of which has no place here.”¹ Even his discussion of good faith-which, in his detailed...

  9. 5 Sartre’s Concept of “Authenticity”
    (pp. 89-109)

    As I mentioned at the beginning of the preceding chapter, Same’s references to “authenticity” inBeingandNothingnessare sparse, and they generally refer to the possibility of “self-recovery” or of “deliverance and salvation.”¹ And his few references, both explicit and implied, suggest alternatively that authenticity is the same as and different from good faith.² While Sartre sometimes describes attitudes as authentic when they reflect an acceptance and af firmation of one’s freedom in the manner we have characterized good faith above,³ he also appears to suggest in places that authenticity, like sincerity, can become—perhaps on Heidegger’s terms—a...

  10. 6 Authenticity and Good Faith: An Analytic Differentiation
    (pp. 110-138)

    My attempt in the two preceding chapters to reconstruct and analyze Sartre’s sometimes elusive notions of good faith and authenticity return us to one of the central questions that generated my inquiry of the last two chapters. If one is to redeem any constructive sense of good faith in the early formative writings of Sartre—as I have tried to do—how is one to distinguish it from Sartre’s concept of authenticity, to which Same gives more repeated attention and detait and in respect to which he offers greater clarity? I have argued that Sartre’s analysis allows a positive sense...

  11. 7 The “Unveiling” of Authentic Existence: Corroborating My Differentiation through Sartre’s Notebooks
    (pp. 139-190)

    In the preceding chapters, I have attempted to analyze and differentiate Sartre’s notions of bad faith, good faith, and authenticity without paying detailed attention to hisCahiers pour une morale (Notebooks for an Ethics).¹ Although I have invoked a number of supporting passages from these Notebooks, I have for the most part deliberately tried to base my analysis, reconstruction, and differentiation on the early pivotal works of Sartre published during his lifetime. To be sure, I have also placed my interpretations and contentions in dialogue with those of other commentators-most prominently, Joseph Catalano-and have tested some of my core contentions...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 191-236)
  13. Index
    (pp. 237-245)