Why is essentialism bad?

Another problem that Sartre is tackling is the push toward facticity. It is, for Sartre, the reduction of the human to mere facticity (material objectification). Psychoanalysis comes to define us by arguing that most of our actions are done unconsciously or subconsciously. Technically act on the world assumes that we can transform physically playing on the networks of causality. Furthermore, the concept of bad faith is included in Sartre’s many criticisms: he critiques Freud, psychoanalysis, reductionist materialism, and all forms of anthropological essentialism; these were the main targets of Sartre’s criticism and not religion. The unconscious lust for gratification prevents one from making a rational (conscious) decision. Sartre’s understanding of what he calls bad faith is premised on the ontological dialectic of Georg W.F. Cite this article as: Tim, "Sartre and Bad Faith, April 19, 2018, " in. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.”, LitCharts uses cookies to personalize our services. Sincerity casts oneself as an object rather than a being of consciousness. Perhaps she cites uncontrollable passion on her part, perhaps she cites the presence of peer pressure that forces her to comply, or perhaps she merely pretends not to notice the man’s actions. It makes me wonder if what they are really annoyed about is not its pessimism, but rather its optimism. Independent from any institution or philosophical thought, the site is maintained by a team of former students in human sciences, now professors or journalists. An example of what he means is being a doctor but wishing to "transcend" that to become a pig farmer. For when all is said and done, could it be that what frightens them about the doctrine that I shall try to present to you here is that it offers man the possibility of individual choice? Rather than me being the controller of my destiny I allow myself to be defined by others, or things, other than myself. The action, instead of magic, does not act directly on the world but on its representation. To explain how bad faith operates Sartre wrote in "Being and Nothingness" about a woman who is faced with the choice of whether to go out on a date with an amorous suitor. “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. Moreover, as possible intentional objects of one's consciousness, one is fundamentally not part of oneself, but rather exactly … By sticking with the safe, easy, default ‘choice’ and failing to recognise the multitude of other choices that are available to him, a person places himself at the mercy of the circumstances in which he happens to find himself. The problem of reductionist materialism is that it denies to intense reality of consciousness and the erotic. In this game of right and wrong, the man in bad faith is not fooling anyone, least of all himself. 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.
They manifestly know they are free, but are actively choosing not to acknowledge it. It is the anguish of living in a cold and harsh world and the guilt of living by being defined by others. Deaf to rational argument, he builds false reasons, retreating into a defensive absurd system. The founding principle of philosophy is perhaps the astonishment, source of the questions. Psychoanalysis defines us in our unconsciousness which is why it is worthless and dangerous. Taking on the burden of personal accountability in all situations is an intimidating proposition – by pointing out the freedom of the individual, Sartre seeks to demonstrate that the social roles and moral systems we adopt protect us from being morally accountable for our actions. Bad Faith is the embrace of essentialism over nothingness; it is the embrace of a non-existent ideal to live up to instead of living for oneself and constantly creating one own’s being and freedom. The reason why psychoanalysis is bad faith is because psychoanalysis creates a pattern of permanent bad faith by deceiving one to reject their own consciousness of freedom.

For Sartre, to claim that one amongst many conscious possibilities takes undeniable precedence (for instance, "I cannot risk my life, because I must support my family") is to assume the role of an object in the world, not a free agent, but merely at the mercy of circumstance (a being-in-itself that is only its own facticity, i.e., it "is" inside itself, and acts there as a limitation).

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