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Synopsis

Webber argues for a new interpretation of Sartrean existentialism. On this reading, Sartre is arguing that each person’s character consists in the projects they choose to pursue and that we are all already aware of this but prefer not to face it. Careful consideration of his existentialist writings shows this to be the unifying theme of his theories of consciousness, freedom, the self, bad faith, personal relationships, existential psychoanalysis, and the possibility of authenticity. Developing this account affords many insights into various aspects of his philosophy, not least concerning the origins, structure, and effects of bad faith and the resulting ethic of authenticity. This discussion makes clear the contributions that Sartre’s work can make to current debates over the objectivity of ethics and the psychology of agency, character, and selfhood. Written in an accessible style and illustrated with reference to Sartre’s fiction, this book should appeal to general readers and students as well as to specialists.

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