The Ethics of Ambiguity; - Chapter 1, Ambiguity and Freedom Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 1, Ambiguity and Freedom Summary and Analysis

Beauvoir opens noting that human beings contain within themselves ambiguity, an indeterminacy in their nature that makes them fundamentally uncomfortable with their lives and the meaning of those lives. In her view, this has resulted in many different philosophical worldviews that attempt to resolve these ambiguities, such as those who try to reduce the mind to the body (materialists) and those who treat them as separate substances (dualism). Philosophical ethics has done the same. However, these ideologies do not console our natural disorder on any deep level, as men feel the paradox of their condition. The more powerful men grow, the more they are swept along by forces beyond their control. Beauvoir suggests that the philosophy of the human should begin by admitting ambiguity.

It was existentialism that first defined itself as recognized ambiguity. However...

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