Episode 140: De Beauvoir on the Ambiguous Human Condition

On The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947), parts I and II. We return to existentialism! Instead of describing our predicament as "absurd," de Beauvoir prefers "ambiguous": We are a biological organism in the world, yet we're also free consciousness transcending the given situation. Truly coming to terms with this freedom means not only understanding that you transcend any label, but also recognizing that your freedom requires the freedom of others. The full foursome discuss whether this attempt to ground an existentialist ethics works. End song: "Reasonably Lonely," by Mark Lint.

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