Sartre Life Choices Essay

2472 WordsSep 3, 201510 Pages
C – Life Choices Often in life, we will be faced situations in which we must make a choice between multiple courses of action, each of which provides different, and often incomparable outcomes. In his works, Sartre was often concerned with those choices in which our values and desires were at stake. This scenario may be referred to as an incommensurable choice. (Hsieh 2008 p.2) In this essay, I will provide Sartre’s account of an incommensurable choice, regarding the way the population at large approaches life choices, his issues with this, and then his existentialist conception of choice making. I will conclude by addressing any difficulties with Sartre’s account of this and whether or not I think it is an intuitive and beneficial approach to life choices. How does Sartre think we make life choices? Sartre’s account of the typical approach to incommensurable choices is fundamentally that we deliberate based on the way we weight our values and desires. This is expressed in Sartre’s primary example of an incommensurable choice that involved a student of his. The scenario entails a Young Frenchman faced with the question of whether to leave the country and join the resistance, thereby supporting his cause against the Germans, or to stay and look after his sick mother. (Sartre 1948, p. 24) The student describes his approach to Sartre as such: In the end, it is feeling that counts; the direction in which it is really pushing me is the one I ought to choose. If I feel that I love my mother enough to sacrifice everything else for her – my will to be avenged, all my longings for action and adventure then I stay with her. If, on the contrary, I fell that my love for her is not enough, I go. (Sartre 1948, p. 26) Clearly in this scenario both options pose a moral and epistemic dilemma, each involving incomparable results, one regarding patriotism and adventure

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