From Nothingness to Authenticity: A Treatment of Sartre’s Philosophy

Robert Tarantino


The fundamental project of this paper is to make clear the above statement; it will be an attempt at understanding the nothingness of being and the role that this plays in Sartre’s philosophy. The structure of this project is three-fold: (i) to explain the above statement in relation to both freedom and bad faith, (ii) to analyze the role of bad faith in Sartre’s philosophy by coming to an understanding of how and why bad faith is an essential structure of consciousness, and (iii) to evaluate Sartre’s position by examining the question of whether or not one can ever escape bad faith. This evaluation will, in turn, lend itself to a critical analysis of bad faith whereupon I will discuss the role of authenticity. I hope to show that while it is possible to escape bad faith, the essential structure of consciousness, as stated in the initial passage, limits one’s ability to live an authentic life in the traditional sense. It will become clear that authenticity is possible, within Sartre’s work, only by redefining what it means to live an authentic life.


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University of Victoria