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Showing 1-10 of 37 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 50 reviews
on December 23, 2012
"As soon as one considers a system abstractly and theoretically, one puts himself, in effect on the plane of the universal, thus , of the infinite. That is why reading the Hegelian system is so comforting. I remember having experienced a great feeling of calm on reading Hegel... But once I got into the street again, into my life, out of the system, beneath a real sky, the system was no longer of any us to me... I think that, inversely, existentialism does not offer to the reader the consolations of an abstract evasion: existentialism proposes no evasion." -- Simone de Beauvoir

"The Ethics of Ambiguity" is the most concise overview of Existentialist ethics I have read. In "Being and Nothingness" Sartre eschewed an ethical system in favor of focusing almost exclusively on ontological relationships. Here, Beauvoir takes "Being and Nothingness" and extends it into an ethical system.

There are two major parts to "Ethics of Ambiguity". The first part focuses on different degrees of personal freedom. Degrees of understanding range from: the sub-man, serious man, nihilist, adventurer, passionate man, and, finally, the independent man. The independent man understands his own freedom. He also understands the necessity of freedom for other men for him to be free.

The second part of the book is a description of how to use personal freedom. Man must live for a concrete objective. This objective is constantly transcending and can never be captured. The object of transcendence is determined by individual freedom within the context of social freedom.

Beauvoir's prescriptions to political change remain both critical and revolutionary. She constantly stresses the need to evaluate the situation and not act rash. The individual must not submit to dogma. However, a choice must be made. Many times the choice will not be ideal and blood must be shed. Beauvoir's Existentialism does not feign from making tough choices.
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on May 26, 2017
This is a useful text for those who want to learn more about ethics and the work of solving social problems. This book offers points of reflection the points to the importance of organized and dynamic approaches to not just incidents as they occur but of collective human histories the contexts (material & immaterial) we live in & how our quest for freedom is a struggle internally and externally as our freedom is bound with the freedom of other men. Pairs well with The Wretched of the Earth by Franz Fanon to help flesh out Fanon's teleological analysis of violence.
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on May 23, 2009
I first read this book forty years ago for an undergraduate class in social philosophy. I've re-read it five or six times since, and benefitted from each re-reading. Though it was not DeBeauvoir's intention to write an introduction to existentialism, this is the best one available.

What is the meaning of life? It has none save that which we give it, an inescapable process which the author terms "disclosure of being in the world." This view is strongly relativistic, to be sure, providing no basis for preferring a painfully abscessed molar to good sex.

Unlike the early Sartre, moreover, DeBeauvoir recognizes that we disclose being in the world -- learn what it means to be -- in very specific ways, in socially determined contexts. The meanings we discern are bounded by the social worlds of which we are the ongoing creations and which we help to create.

DeBeauvoir's answer to what-is-the-meaning-of-life kinds of questions is not spiritually uplifting, but it's an answer, given without equivocation or hollow appeals to faith. As such, I think it's the right answer. She makes a compelling case.

Can we organize our lives around "disclosure of being in the world?" I don't think so. Its much too abstract, fraught with anomie, positing a sort of Durkheimian nightmare. Still, at least we know where we stand: right in the middle of a universe that anticipates by two or three decades post-modern rejection of any sort of natural and durable foundation.
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on March 28, 2017
Just wonderful read on how we are all in different places and work with our own lives to make us happy
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on April 3, 2017
Good product. Good Price.
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VINE VOICEon November 12, 2006
"There is no more obnoxious way to punish a man than to force him to perform acts which make no sense to him, as when one empties and fills the same ditch indefinitely, when one makes soldiers who are being punished march up and down, when one forces a schoolboy to copy lines."

What will the modern man do when slapped in the face with the absurdity of his own existence? Become an adventurer, passionate, serious, intellectual? Where will his values come from when there are no values -- how will he create them out of nothing? Is it easier to adopt a game full of illusions created by someone else? de Beauvoir forces the reader to come face to face with the absolute absurdity of the human condition, and then, proceeds to develop a dialectic of ambiguity that will enable the reader not to master the chaos, but to create with it. This book will probably alter many well-rooted philosophical perceptions -- so, reader beware! I could have done without the dramatic image of how the Nazi's conditioned themselves to become insensitive to human suffering (de Beauvoir used as an extreme example), but oh well... This book is a keeper, and very quotable! Highly recommended, especially for those diving into the Realm of Existentialism! --Katharena Eiermann, 2006
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on December 29, 2014
Great book
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on September 21, 2013
In depth insight to the human problem of the Love-Hate relationships. de Beauvoir opens doors in our mind and heart to an area of ourselves which most people are unaware. Excellent read. Sometimes I need only read a few pages and the clearly explained dilemma of existence set me for the day. I have gained deep insight into my life.
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on January 12, 2015
Read excerpts of this for an Existentialism class in college. Good edition.
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on December 20, 2014
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