The Ethics Of Ambiguity By Simone De Beauvoir

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“In order for the artist to have a world to express he must first be situated in this world, oppressed or oppressing, resigned or rebellious, a man among men” (De Beauvoir, 1947). In this quote from Simone De Beauvoir’s The Ethics of Ambiguity, De Beauvoir argues that for a man to exist, in this case the artist, he first must establish who he is in this world, and accept the freedom he has to have gotten to where he is, and ultimately the consequences that can follow if he has chosen improperly. This idea is the basis for existentialist philosophy. Existentialism is a theory that places emphasis on a person’s free will to make decisions (Burnham and Papandreopoulos). Existentialism holds the belief that all human beings are free agents capable…show more content…
Arguably her most famous piece of work The Ethics of Ambiguity, published in 1947, discusses in detail existentialism in relation to human existence. In her work, Beauvoir argues that humans are free; we are conscious beings capable of thinking, of making decisions and changes. All humans are born free, and therefore, there is no such thing as absolute goodness or moral values for humans to follow; instead, accepted values and what’s seen as “good” comes only from a person’s choices (De Beauvoir, DATE). Beauvoir argues that over time, we come to have an understanding of the world, and if we choose to ignore this understanding, or refuse to acknowledge our freedom to think, to make decisions, then we are choosing to be ignorant and irresponsible. With this freedom, all human beings have the ability to make of it as they choose-whether it be good or bad-so long as they do something with their said freedom. By choosing to ignore it, or by giving up their freedom all together, Beauvoir argues that man is reverting back to a child, ignorant of the world around him (De Beauvoir,…show more content…
Just because slavery is illegal now it doesn’t mean that racism is, and just because Jewish individuals are no longer forced to register as such it doesn’t mean that the prejudice against them has died out. Furthermore, women still face sexism on a daily basis, and there is still underground, illegal slave trades that forces young women and children into slavery. Those these problems are arguably not as apparent and visibly seen as slavery and the holocaust were, but are still quite apparent in today’s society. Still, even with these evident issues, the serious man is more predominant in society than ever. In modern times, the serious man takes form in those who either refuse to acknowledge that these problems still exist, or those who believe that “it is what it is” and therefore, change is impossible. The serious man in modern society is not only refusing to help bring about changes, but he also adds to the growing dilemmas the world faces. By choosing to ignore one’s freedom to make change and thereby adding to the problem, the

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